Growing Bananas and Other Tropical Delights Beyond the Tropics

Even if you don’t live in the tropics, you can still grow a lot of plants farther north than you might think.

In this video, I dive into zone-pushing bananas and other tropical edibles:

It’s truly amazing what can be done with a little ingenuity.

The experiments I did for years before releasing Push the Zone really opened my eyes to the zone-pushing possibilities. I grew things that other people said were “impossible” to grow in my climate.

A master gardener walked past a group of papayas behind my house once. They were loaded with fruit. She said to me—and I quote:  “Ah, papayas. Too bad you can’t grow them here!”

And she meant it. The fruit were ripening on the trees and they were very much alive. Yet the official story is “nope—you can’t grow those!”

I laughed over that and I’m still laughing over it.

My book Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics is for those of us who don’t like the rules. The kind of folks who want to grow citrus in Tennessee and coffee in Massachusetts. If that’s up your alley, you’ll enjoy this book.

Hey, if someone can grow bananas in Tacoma, it’s obvious the zone maps aren’t the end-all!


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This post was written by David The Good


  • MikeF says:

    I bought the book last night and read about 1/3 of it so far.

    I have been Pushing my Zone for years. I live on the border of zones 7 and 8, but like growing tropical and subtropical fruits and plants. I will be using David’s techniques to improve the efficiency and reliability of my “impossible” gardening.

    Thanks David!


  • Scott Sexton says:

    I love Push the Zone. It makes me want to do “impossible” things.

  • Teresa Klepac says:

    I love having plants that aren’t supposed to be grown in my zone! I have moringa, hibiscus, banana, cinnamon, coffee and a number of different citrus trees. In the past my hubby builds me a hoop house to protect them against freezes (they are all in containers) but they have all grown so tall I don’t think that will work this year. So, I bought this book and how to get some ideas on how to overwinter them.

  • John Wages says:

    Great! This reminds me of my uncle, who astounded neighbors and visiting family members with a banana tree he grew in the courtyard behind his house in Starkville, MS. His secret was a heating cable in the soil… fortunately, there are better ways! But, yes, it is possible. In my Zone 7b (soon to be Zone 9: NE MS), the variability of our winters is a big factor. Check out David’s book and also The Forest Garden Greenhouse for some ideas.
    John Wages
    Permaculture Design Magazine

  • caylac says:

    I may have to get this book. I have been pushing the zone for a while. I live south of New Orleans, I just repotted 5 of my 2 dozen coffee plants today, in 3 gallon pots approaching 4-1/2′ tall. Two years ago I ate some of the absolute best bananas I’d ever eaten, grown on plants I have planted on the south side of an 8′ wooden fence. I need to learn more about getting them to fruit every year. So much to learn. I have 12’+ tall olive trees, finally made flowers and had 2 olives, for a while. I have a Golden Delicious Apple and a couple of guava trees, one covered in hundreds of gorgeous flowers for the last couple of years, but no fruit yet. One did make fruit a few years ago, but not since. In winter, my patio, with its 10-1/2′ ceiling, that gets covered and my house become a jungle, like my entire is the rest of the year.

  • caylac says:

    That’s, my entire yard.

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