The Q&A Archives: Banana Shrub Plant

Question: I brought the Banana Shrub (small tree). Since I live in VA I must keep it in the house during the winter. How do I maintain it and grow new ones from this plant. Thank you Jo Ann

Answer: There are two different plants that are sold as banana trees. One is Musa and the other is Ensete. Ensete will flower when the plant is about 5 years old and then the plant will die. It will not produce fruit. Musa will produce edible fruit, especially if given reflected heat in the summer. The flowers on this plant are yellow with reddish-purple bracts. Bananas need very rich, well-drained soil (think jungle). They appreciate repotting as soon as the roots become crowded in their containers. When you reach the point where you can't put them in a larger pot, feed them weekly or semiweekly with dilute fertilizer (mix as directed on the label). Minimum winter night temperatures should not dip below 60F, and daytime temps should be at least 65F. And of course, they like a lot of sun. Enjoy!

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