When Hurricane Dennis roared through last Sunday I had several hours of
tropical storm force winds (landfall was about 100 miles west of me). It was
too much for my very old privacy fence to handle, especially since we had
only patched it up after Hurricane Ivan damaged it last September. Two
sections fell completely, one of them squashing my young (4 foot tall)
banana plant and several of my gladioli.
Now, let me say first that I am grateful to only have to deal with a few
loose shingles, a busted privacy fence, and a few flattened plants from
these storms. Many other people have *far*
worse problems. Hopefully my turn
won't come next week with Emily!
But regarding the plants
(1) I know the banana will come back from the root; I'm not concerned about
the plant's survival, though I expect it will set the plant back.
However, my neighbor told me that I should cut off the stalk at the break,
then cut the stalk into roughly one-foot sections, and bury each of them
vertically, leaving a couple of inches exposed at the surface. He said if I
would do this, the sections would root and I would have a clump of banana
plants at the end of the season instead of just one.
This sounded like a great opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade to me, so
I did it. (Also, I had nothing to lose but a few minutes of my time; since
the stalk was broken, the top growth would have just died if I'd left it
So, has anyone done this before - will it work? If so, when should I expect
to see new growth? Any tips? I'm assuming since they are bananas that I
should keep them moist, and I am assuming that like any other cuttings I
should not fertilize them until I'm sure they have an established root
system. Am I on the right track?
I won't even try to answer this one. It will take someone like Toni or
Cereus or Zhan to answer this about the regenerative abilities of banana's.
I hesitate to guess about the banana's ability to regenerate from a piece of
stalk......but I've been wrong before.......
(2) The gladioli are broken (not just bent) just above ground level, and
their foliage is starting to die. Should I leave their foliage until it is
completely dead, or can I cut off the leaves now?
cut the leaves off as they've broken at the soil line. Find some granular
bulb food at the local box store (Home Deprived or Lowes) and sprinkle some
around the area where you have the glad's planted. It will hopefully feed
the corms enough for next year's arrival and blooming. If you're curious,
dig one up, and look at where the mother corm shriveled up giving live to
the daughter corm on top of her. I dug up some gladiola's from an old yard
years ago and the corms were stacked on top of each other! it was neat! I
broke them apart and planted each one and got a nice clump of older
magenta-purple colored blossoms that some little old granny had planted
decades ago that had returned for her every year for who knows how long here
in Eastern Tennessee.
Are they likely to die completely?
No, for you they'll be perennial.
If not, will they re-sprout now, or should I expect them to go dormant
until next spring?
Had the foliage not been snapped off so soon, you would have known by the
natural decline of the leaves. The leaves feed the corm for next year.
that's why I said to feed about a tablespoon to half cup of granular bulb
food scattered over the glads to suppliment the loss of the leaves to the
corms under the ground.
Assuming that they live, when can I expect them to bloom again?
the same time they bloomed for you this year.
If it makes a difference, these bloomed about 2-4 weeks ago, and I used them
for cut flowers.
So expect them to bloom for you mid June next year. You might dig them up
and seperate the corms and make a larger bed of them, but don't plant them
singularly. I hate seeing those single plants of glads around here flopping
over pitifully. I'd much rather see a whole wad of them growing thru a
support grid. Hope this helps.
madgardener, gardening up in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36 where
the gladiola's are perennial for us unless we get temperatures that hold
below zero for a couple of weeks............(so far we haven't)
Thanks for any advice,
Laura NW FL, USDA Zone 8b; first frost date is late November.