Musa sikkimensis Red Tiger (Banana) seeds
Musa sikkimensis is a fairly recent introduction to the UK. This striking Banana originates from Eastern India and is proving a pretty hardy species. A vigorous grower, it produces huge, tough green leaves with an attractive maroon midrib and strong,random streaks of maroon across the leaves. Mature plants (5 years+) bear long lasting yellow flowers. Although frost will not damage the roots, the leaves should be wrapped in fleece or sacking for the winter. Alternatively can be grown in a large container and moved to a frost free place over winter.
All in all, an excellent addition to the subtropical border or architectural planting scheme.
Half Hardy Perennial (to 0C - wrap up in winter)
Position: Sun or semi-shade preferably out of strong winds
Packet of 6 seeds
Pre-Sowing Instructions: Soak the seeds for 48 hours in warm water. To keep the water warm rest the container on a radiator, place in a propagator or in the airing cupboard. If this is not possible, change the water frequently to keep it warm.
Sowing Instructions: Sow at any time of the year. Sow well-spaced and 10mm deep in an equal mix of sand and good quality seed compost, eg. John Innes. Seal inside a polythene bag or place in a propagator and maintain at about 25C, keeping the humidity high. Germination takes can take anything from 3 months to a year and can be erratic hence the need to sow the seeds well-spaced. Check the container regularly to make sure the compost does not dry out.
Growing Instructions: When seedlings are large enough to handle, remove them carefully from the container and pot up individually into 9-11cm pots. Grow on in cooler conditions in good, natural light, but avoid direct sunlight, re-potting as necessary – they can grow very quickly! Young plants need a minimum of 10C until mature and can be put outdoors in summer in a sheltered spot preferably with filtered sunlight. Once mature, plants can be planted out in the garden in a sheltered position out of strong winds and given good winter protection. To protect in winter, tie up all the leaves vertically with string then wrap in layers of sacking or fleece stuffed with straw. Another method is to use plastic piping stuffed with straw or for large, mature plants, a rough framework can be made around the plant and filled with straw – wooden pallets are good for this but anything sturdy will do!