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Red Banana Tree

This is the first year I have ever grown a banana tree in my garden! I purchased this Red Abyssinian Banana online in early spring as a small potted plant. When I received it, I repotted it into a much larger pot and placed it near the small fountain/pond at the patio. It quickly outgrew the spot (and blocked the view) and we moved it into the front bed near the obelisk. It continued to grow amazingly fast and became the focal point of the entire front yard.

It’s over 8′ tall 9′ tall now and really needed to be in a much larger container. I got worried that it was getting so top-heavy that it might fall over, so we staked it with rebar and a string around the pot.

All summer, it has repeatedly unfurled enormous glossy burgundy and green leaves— the largest are four feet long and a foot wide. Not only has it been able to withstand full sun and our extremely high humidity, it has thrived, with lots of watering and feeding. I’m going to try and overwinter it (in a dormant state), and next year, I’ll plant it in the ground.

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Red Banana
Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’

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Ensete ventricosum Maurelii
Red Banana in front bed

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red banana
Huge burgundy leaves in front of purple obelisk

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Botanical Name: Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’
Hardiness Zones: 9a-11b, 5-9 if grown as an annual
Size: Will reach 18-20 feet tall in warm climates
Light: Full sun
Soil: Rich, fertile, well-draining
Care: Keep well watered and fertilized, cut off faded or tattered lower leaves
Fruit: Does not have edible fruit

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Crazytunias

cherry cheesecake crazytunia
Cherry Cheesecake

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Crazytunias are the newest thing in Petunias this year. Breeders were told to “go crazy” in their breeding and this series is the result. I bought four of these (out of 19 varieties) for my garden in early spring, Cherry Cheesecake, Mandevilla, Star Jubilee, and Terracotta. All of them are pretty, but for me, they have been a little disappointing.

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Star Jubilee crazytunia
Star Jubilee

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Of the four, Terracotta has been the heaviest bloomer, Cherry Cheesecake the most striking flowers, Mandevilla the weakest grower, and Star Jubilee the leggiest and largest-flowered. I didn’t find them  any more rain-tolerant than any other petunia, and although they are not supposed to have to be deadheaded, they really look bad if you don’t. They look fine from a distance, but up close, the spent flowers clinging to the plant really take away from their beauty. I did prune them back several times throughout the summer, and kept them well-fed and watered. They don’t recover well from rain, especially Star Jubilee, and they had to be clipped back a lot to get rid of the soggy spent flowers.. too much work if you had a lot of them.

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Terracotta crazytunia
Terracotta

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I used Terracotta in a hanging pot, the rest I used in containers on my patios. As is usually the case, none of them were as beautiful and prolific as I expected them  based on growers photos, but I’ll probably try them again next year in some of the other colors.

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Mandevilla crazytunia
Mandevilla

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To see all the available colors in a pdf file, go here.

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Princess Lilies

Alstroemeria, also known as Princess Lily or Peruvian Lily, is new to my garden this year. These plants are not really lilies at all, but are tuberous perennials. I bought one of these as a thick root in a tiny 3 inch pot in early May and have had it in a container on my patio. I had it in full sun and it very quickly filled the pot with foliage but very few blooms. I moved it to an area with only morning sun and it looked much healthier and has bloomed repeatedly since.

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Astroemeria
Alstroemeria

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These dwarf hybrids reach about fifteen inches tall in a pot, and are hardy only in Zones 8-10. I’ve read that the rhizomes can be lifted and stored over the winter though, and I’ll probably do that with mine. The flowers are gorgeous.

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Alstroemeria Sara
Alstroemeria Princess ‘Sara’

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Alstroemeria
Princess Lily in a container

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2014 Garden

My garden survived the polar vortex winter! :) Some photos from this spring and summer (you can click on any of these photos to view larger):

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garden and gazebo
Garden beds and gazebo

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coleus bed
coleus bed

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