This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is not as generally known as it ought to be that banana plants are very easily kept over the Winter, and make admirable ornaments in the open ground in the Summer season in every part of our country. In very exposed situations they have the leaves split by wind storms, and it will be best,though not essential to some great beauty, to plant in a wind-sheltered spot. One of the noblest of bananas is the Musa ensete, about which we find the following practical paragraph in Mr. Henry A. Dreer's excellent garden cal-andar:
"The noblest of all greenhouse plants is this great Abyssinian banana. The fruit of this variety is not edible, but the leaves are magnificent, long, broad and massive, of a beautiful green, with a broad crimson mid-rib. It is used with success for bedding out, and stands the rain and storms without laceration. Before planting out in May, dig a bole two feet square and about thirty inches deep, tilling the bole half full of fresh stable manure pressed in solid, and then till up with compost of good, light, rich soil, mixed with well-decayed manure; plant the Musa, but do not let the roots touch the fresh manure. In our hot summers it luxuriates and and attains gigantic proportions, from eight to twelve feet high, producing a really tropical appearance, and should find a place in every rollection where there is a conservatory or greenhouse, for planting therein during the winter, from the fact of its presenting an ornamental appearance among other plants. Those not having the above convenience, by cutting the Leaves off, can store it in a light cellar during the winter, with a covering of soil, or planted) in a, tub; water sparingly.
The seeds germinate freely if started in a hot-bed or on bottom heat in the greenhouse".