Banana plants are among the easiest of exotic plants to grow and new species are introduced all the time.

The hardy banana tree is actually an herbaceous perennial (the world’s largest) despite being referred to as a tree. What looks like a trunk is actually tightly bound banana leaves.

Bananas are either indoor (can go outside in the summer only) or hardy (can be planted in the ground permanently).
They are extremely fast growing plants and in a single season a banana tree can grow as much as 12 feet. Once the first frost hits, the hardy species of banana will die back and come back next spring.
Unlike Ensete ventricosum, the Abyssinian banana, Musa species produce suckers (baby plants) and relatively soon create a large clump, radiating out from the original plant.
Either indoors or hardy, the bananas have a pretty small list of requirements and they all need to be “in generous amounts”: water, space, sun, and feed.

Positioning

Positioning

Outdoor growing bananas should be planted in a sheltered, wind-free, sunny spot, once they are big enough. The ideal time for planting is late spring or summer.

Growing outdoors

Growing outdoors

Hardy bananas are usually cultivated for their impressive size and fast growing habit. They manage in a single season to go from a bare stalk to a lush clump of massive leaves.

Most of the mature plants will be delivered as bare trunks without any foliage, especially if you buy them in spring. Don’t be scared though: as soon as they get repotted or planted in the ground, they’ll start pushing new massive leaves at an incredible rate, sometimes one every two weeks.

Soil

Soil

Bananas are thirsty plants , requiring generous watering during the growth period. However, they hate to have their roots sit in water.

If kept in a pot, banana plants will require a good quality rich soil or multi-purpose compost to draw nutrients from. When planting in the ground, you can backfill the planting hole with compost to give the plant a boost.

Feeding

Feeding

All banana plants require heavy feeding due to their speed of growth. Any balanced fertilizer will do, e.g. liquid seaweed, Osmocote.

If using slow release fertiliser, apply it near the stalk base. Alternatively, soluble fertilisers can be used when watering the plant.
Feed during the active growing period, between March and September.

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