The red banana plant, which is believed to have originated in India, has a large succulent stem that holds water for drought conditions. It can reach heights of 20 to 25 feet although there is a dwarf variety that stands 12 feet tall. Red banana plants grow from a rhizome root system. They are highly disease resistant compared to other banana plants. However, cool weather can ultimately retard growth and stunt fruit production. A freeze can destroy flowers and render the plant unable to produce fruit. Extreme weather conditions can kill the plant to the ground. Banana trees can survive to 28 degrees F for a short time but will suffer die-back. If you have a red banana plant, there are steps you can take to protect it from the cold.
Bring container-grown red banana plant indoors during a severe cold snap. Place the banana trees into a garage or storage shed to offer protection. Bring the plants back outside in the morning once the danger of the hard freeze has passed.
Wrap plants grown in the ground in blankets or sheets to afford protection during extreme cold. Wrap the plants in the evening and unwrap them in the morning. Weight the sheets or blankets down at ground level using bricks, rocks or concrete blocks.
Mound soil and mulch around the base of the red banana plant. Even though the top foliage may sustain damage from freezing weather the plant can still live if the rhizomes do not suffer damage. Mounding soil a foot high around the base of the red banana plant will help to protect the delicate rhizomes from the freezing weather.
Leave any frost-damaged leaves on the plant to provide some insulation against future frosts.
Dig the red banana plant up if cold is predicted for an extended time. Dig the entire plant up being sure to dig carefully around the root system. Place the plant with intact root ball into a dark cool place that affords protection from freezing. Once the danger of freezing has passed replant the banana tree in the same location. The red banana plant will not suffer adversely from being uprooted and replanted.