Bananas

[Ensete ventricosum ‘maurelli’ ]

This banana was almost 2 years old when this picture was taken. Banana plants are usually pretty ratty looking in the spring. ( This is a summer photo. ) The wind and the cold shreds and browns most of the leaves during the winter. Just cut off the damaged leaves as high up as you can, new leaves will appear once the weather warms. By early summer it will be fine looking again.

The bananas with red on the leaves, like this one, stay more compact than others. These are great plants for adding a tropical feel to your garden if that is what you wish.

Some consider bananas invasive. In time this plant will multiply. This plant will die and babies will appear from the ground. Bananas should appear if the plant winters over with out freezing back to the ground for two consecutive years. Some people wrap the trunks with newspaper for the winter. Ductwork insulation wraps also work very well.

In Houston banana plants can easily reach 25′.

Plant in full sun or as close as you can get to full sun.

All the reports I read say water often in well drained soil. Mine is planted in a very soggy clay area of my yard and seems more than happy there.

Prune only dead leaves in the spring or cut off whole trunk, if and only if, it freezes to the ground.

It first showed up in Malaysia quickly spreading to where ever it would grow. Alexander the Great is credited with much of its spread. Bananas first arrived in the US wrapped in foil and sold in Pennsylvania in 1876 at a 100 year celebration of the Declaration of Independence.

The banana plant is not a tree, but an herb. The stem is the part of the plant that shoots up the middle, flowers and bears fruit. What we think of as the stem or trunk is just the leaves.

I totally loved this plant, no bananas, no spreading, just a tropical look. It was a victim of Ike.

More information:
Banana RIP: They’re in trouble. Can biotechnology save the fruit?

4 thoughts on “Bananas

  1. The root of my banana plant has lived through two winters but the top freezes. It’s jammed into a pretty small area so maybe that dieback will keep the plant small enough to fit ;-]

    Is the Houston area very windy? Most of the banana plants I see in my neighborhood are pretty shredded looking.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  2. I know lots of people just north of me use pipe insulation to keep the trunks warm in the winter.

    No, that’s a funny thing about Houston. One of the first things I noticed is that there’s never any wind. ( At least compared to New England ).

    I think they are just very delicate and once the leaves get too cold the tiniest breeze shreds them. Mine is still looking ragged from last winter.

  3. If your red banana is an Abyssinian Red, it will not put off new shoots. The same stalk will remain from season to season, unlike Cavendish and other common bananas. Red Abyssinians are supposed to only live about 3 years, but mine is 5 years old and has survived every Houston winter since I planted it. They’re ornamental and will most likely never fruit.

  4. Thanks,.

    That would be cool too. I really like the plant. This one is about 3 years old right now.

    I’ve seen no evidence of fruiting or babies yet.

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