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November Times – Putting the exotics to bed

Having some exotic plants in the garden does come with tasks to complete and the first frosts have arrived and therefore the clock starts ticking, some may survive the frosts but I am not prepared to take the risk attached in replacing plants that in general are more expensive and worth the extra care.


Cut back begins

Banana Trees

These plants are described as “hardy” to a degree, but they put on growth so quickly its my suggestion to cut back and over winter….so the first thing to do is cut back the top growth I find a sharp kitchen knife does the trick, once the tops are removed the trick is to get down to base level a foot above the ground and cut the top at a 45 degree angle,


4 new Banana plants discovered, they will overwinter under mulch

This helps with water not pooling on the top of the cut and then freezing. No great surprises but as I cut back under the fern canopy I discovered 4 new Banana trees sprouting! Well they should survive with the next tip

I save all by leaves as they drop and black bag them, pierce a number of holes in them and you will have perfect ground mulch for next year to add to your borders, I collect mine with a leaf vac ( which chops the leaves or gather them on your lawn and then mow over them, either tip will help the leaves to rot down quicker.

Place a layer of mulch over the cut Banana stem about 6/8 inches deep and then take a length of fleece ( far cheaper to buy on a roll from your local garden centre ) double fold the fleece and wrap around and over the top, tie off with a length of garden twine, then you can safely say that jobs done. Just need to find room in the bins for the huge amount of Banana leaves and trunk removed.


Time to find room in the bins

Olive Trees

These will need a fleece bag over them, normally comes with a tie cord at the bottom to firmly secure the fleece bag in place, this needs to stay in place until the last of the winter/spring frosts but easily allows the plant to continue on its dose of our winter rains but will ensure your Olive Tree is protected from the winter frosts



Sago Palms

I have a number of these and the same rules apply as with the Olive Tree fleece bag needs to stay in place until the last of the winter/spring frosts but easily allows the plant to continue on its dose of our winter rains but will ensure your Olive Tree is protected from the winter frosts



Canna Lilies

The simple approach with Canna Lilies is they need to move inside, they are a Rhiazome and therefore will survive the winter with the following tips, mine have caught the first of the frost, that’s not an issue, get them inside shed or garage, mine spend their winter in the summerhouse as the tops die back cut them down to 6 inch above the soil level and stop watering them,


Time to spend winter in the summerhouse

easy to do and they will return to the garden in their pots when the chance of frost has gone, if you have planted them in the garden border similar applies, dig up the root ball place in an unsealed black bag and put them somewhere frost free ( just cut the tops & leaves back to within 6 inch of the soil as they wither and die

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