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Going Bananas

April 27, 2022


For Your Garden

Banana trees are some of the top tropical foliage plants for the summer patio garden. There are hardy versions like the Musa basjoo which can be planted outdoors and overwintered outside with assistance as well as tropical varieties that are easy to grow in a pot and bring indoors for the winter.

Caring For Bananas

Regardless of the type of banana, do know that they do not do well in drought environments so make sure you water well with consistently moist soil. You will also want to fertilize regularly during the growing season. If outside, protect the stem (pseudostems) from strong winds that are common in the Miami Valley. With all bananas, the original stem will die after flowering and fruiting, but the roots will push out new shoots for long-lasting foliage.


Common Banana Varieties Found at Meadow View Growers:


Known As


Hardy To







Musa Basjoo

Japanese Banana


Zones 5-11

Full Sun





Inedible green fruit

Musa x paradisiaca

Edible Banana


Zones 9-11

Full Sun





Edible tasty yellow bananas

Ensete Maurelii

Red Banana Tree



Zones 8-11

Full Sun





Dose not typically bear fruit

Hardy Banana Tree

Hardy Bananas

The Musa basjoo is the only banana hardy in our region. These plants grow very quickly and instantly provide a tropical flair.  It can grow up to 15 feet in ideal conditions, however, in Ohio, they are more likely to grow each summer no more than 10 feet. You can expect a huge new leaf every week or so during the growing seasons when properly maintained and fertilized.

Each winter cut the stems back to 2 ft after the frost kills the leaves, wrap the remaining plant with burlap and apply mulch around the base to protect the roots. If grown in a container where the roots are not protected, you must bring the container inside or wrap it with mulch or straw to protect it from the cold.

Edible Bananas

The Musa x paradisiaca is a banana that could produce edible bananas, though it is rare for it to produce fruit outside of its native environment. Regardless, the Musa x paradisiaca creates a beautiful, fast-growing tropical to decorate your summer garden.

The paddle-shaped deep green leaves can grow up to 8 ft. long and it has drooping spikes of yellow flowers adorned with showy purple-red on mature plants. This is a great choice for container gardens, patios, and sunrooms.

The edible banana plant is prone to spider mites, mealybugs, or aphids- so treat with neem oil as it is a systemic pesticide.

Ensete Maurelii

Red Bananas

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, also known as Red Banana, is a tropical plant that features large banana-like leaves with beautiful reddish-burgundy coloring in the leaves. Great in the landscape, on the patio, as a focal point of a mixed container, or even as a houseplant.

Ensete ventricosum is extremely fast-growing, and will quickly grow into a space, as the focal point of the display. For best results, grow in a warm sunny, sheltered spot, away from strong winds, which can damage the leaves and make them look unsightly. Water regularly and feed with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a fortnight.

They appreciate plenty of humidity, so during dry winter months, if you bring them indoors, it’s best to set up a humidifier or mist the plants daily to provide plenty of moisture to the leaves. They occasionally will get white flowers up to 3 to 4 feet long that might produce fruit. The fruits are banana-like but dry and unpalatable.


The pseudostem is the part of the banana plant that resembles a trunk. This not quite stem, not quite trunk is made up of a soft central core which then has tightly wrapped leaf sheafs around it. As the plant grows, these leaf sheaths unwrap from the stem. These leaves will eventually grow into the large foliage that banana trees are known for.

Pseudostems of a Banana