Because of its edible fruit, banana is an important crop in many tropical countries. Especially the varieties used for cooking are a staple for many people. The dessert bananas available in Europe come exclusively from sterile, seedless varieties. Sweet bananas of the wild Darjeeling variety, however, produce germinable seeds.
This winter-hardy strain can be grown outdoors, in a place protected from the wind, even in parts of Europe with a rather cold climate. The aerial part of the plant freezes in autumn, and after complete pruning the rhizome must be protected from heavy frost, for example, with a thick layer of foliage. Although the plant does flower even in colder climates, the Darjelling banana tree is unlikely to bear fruit when grown outdoors. To bear fruit, in fact, needs more than a year it needs more than a year, which in the coldest areas of Europe is made impossible by the frost in autumn. In very severe winters and with insufficient cover, freezing can also occur with this variety – the rhizome is frost-resistant down to about -15 °C.
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