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Musa sikkimensis (Red Tiger)

Red Tiger Banana

From monsoonal mountain forests in extreme eastern India on the border to Burma comes this colorful variety of the famous Darjeeling banana. While just as easy to grow and just as cold tolerant as the regular M. sikkimensis, it has a most stunning pattern to its leaves, with dark purple zebra stripes on the upper surface and a reddish purple below. The pseudostems are yellowish green.

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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
I sowed 16 seed after 3 days soaking in 2 pots, on 27th Sept., placed in unheated propogator in greenhouse (Lincoln, England), brought inside to dark cupboard early Nov. next to central heating pump. In just under 3 months from sowing I had 4 in one and 2 in the other, about 1 to 2" tall and white, then placed in East facing window and now greening up and growing leaves. Will prick out when little larger and return pots to cupboard if no more grown, I have tried the baggie method and find it bothersome looking for the shoots so I place the pots in sealed plastic bags. This way it is also easier to transfer pots from greenhouse to indoors or vice versa.
Submitted on 01/01/2005 by Janet Rowley garymitsi@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Planted 2 seeds to a ziplock in moist seed starter mix. Put in a tray in a warm garage, no light, and was surprised to see sprouts in 1 week! (5 out of 10 so far) Looking forward to a beautiful grove of banana trees. Thank you rarepalmseeds for fresh, viable seeds.
Submitted on 04/09/2004 by William E. Read weread@mac.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
no problem germinating these, bought 10 seeds and all of them germinated within a month, the first one even after 10 days. I soaked the seeds for three days in water and sowed them in a container filled with moist compost kept at around 25°C. half of them germinated in 3 weeks and the rest followed with a day by day.
Submitted on 29/08/2004 by joeri seghers joeriseghers@skynet.be

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
They were sown in quart containers in Pro Mix PGX and placed on bottom heat and hand watered daily in a glass greenhouse. Today when I checked, the soil temp was 86.3F (30.16C). In the best container I had 20% in 2 weeks and 40% in 3 weeks and at 50% I potted the first 25 up, and I repotted the 25 that did not sprout and they are sprouting now. One of the quart containers has no sprouts as of today so go figure, maybe a cold patch on the heat pad. Another flat with less soil to heat than the quarts seems to be germinating faster yet.I have never had such good results with banana seeds except velutina. I think the freshness of the seed must be the factor.
Submitted on 23/08/2004 by Joe Kiefer - Triple Oaks Nursery greatplants@tripleoaks.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of excellent ornamental value
In North in England they need much care and grow fast.
I planted this variety outside in Northern England last June. At the time it was about 2 feet in total height.It started growing almost immediately and by October was maybe 7 feet high. Its leaves are really beautifully patterned above and with a rich chestnut tone below especially when just opened. Reputedly, its leaves are more wind tolerant than M.basjoo and I certainly found this to be the case.With winter approaching, I cut it down to about 4 feet in height (this nigh on broke my heart) and constucted a chicken wire cage around it. This I filled with hay (couldn't locate any barley straw) and topped it all off with a snuggly fitting plastic cloche held in place with strong string.The winter was generally on the mild side apart from a two week period toward it's end. With a warm and sunny start to the spring, a growing leaf could be seen to be pushing against the top of the cloche. Resisting the temptation to dismantle the structure, I extended its height with more chicken wire. This proved to be fortunate as forthcoming frosty weather would more then likely have cut it back to the ground.In May, its protection was removed and it's now nearly 7 feet tall with a pup around 18 inches in height. This plant is an absolute gem and I hope that the protection I'll give it in subsequent winters will keep it going for many years to come.
Submitted on 02/07/2012 by Edward Smith

... are of high ornamental value
In Surrey in Canada they need much care and grow fast.
In may, around 20th 07, I put 5 seeds in a ziplock bag with peat moss, 3% hydrogen peroxide mixed with water and seed starter mix by miracle grow, moistend and sealed bag in darkness with temp around 90 degrees for 1 week, then moderate light in bathroom for 2 weeks, and wella green stem, and white hair roots from 3, 2 did not do well. Prior to bagging them I soaked seeds in warm water in a film develoing container, and kept near a heat vent for 3 days. Now they are 4 feet tall outside in ground, six leaves.
Submitted on 29/06/2007 by one of our visitors

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If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches

Our rating:
Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.

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