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I've just moved house and in our back garden is a fairly large palm tree (pictures), the problem is that I'm not sure what it is and therefore don't know how to look after it and make sure it makes it through winter in the south-eastern UK.

All the research I've done so far seems to suggest it's a banana palm but I'm not sure what type. Info on several possible species say they will be fine over winter, but a few also say that it will need to be protected from frost, so I'd like to make sure I'm doing the right thing.

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    Yes, looks definitely like a banana. Don't know about the climate in Britain, but if it doesn't freeze too much it will survive. Don't expect bananas though... – benn Nov 6 '17 at 14:54
  • One plant per question, please. See gardening.meta.stackexchange.com/q/826/26 for more information about this policy. – Niall C. Nov 6 '17 at 16:46
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    @NiallC. in this case, the one plant affects the other, and its presence means the tender banana can survive because its there - be difficult to answer these separately... – Bamboo Nov 6 '17 at 16:49
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As you're in East Anglia, UK, the plant growing at the base of your banana is Fatsia japonica rather than anything more exotic. This is quite the strangest planting combination I've seen - banana likes plenty of sun, whereas Fatsia does rather better in shadier, cooler conditions, but given the Fatsia's presence there, the fact that it is evergreen means it will provide very useful shelter for the banana during winter, and might be the reason why its survived previous winters quite well.

Banana plants do survive outdoors in sheltered areas in the UK, but what often finishes them off is not just chilly temperatures, but the combination of cold and wet or damp, which can make them rot. However, given that where you are is in the driest part of the UK, that's probably not a huge issue either.

I don't think you need do anything with the banana - it will die back (there's evidence it's done that before in the third photo) but should reshoot next year regardless, given the protection provided by the Fatsia.

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