The Q&A Archives: Green Leaf Banana

Question: 3 years ago we bought a green leaf banana (very similar to the red leaf banana) at Riverside Nursery in Fresno. It grew up to 18' tall and was very wide with long wide green leaves (12'long)and was beautifull in our yard. Last fall it blossomed a very large flower about a foot in diameter on a stalk in the center. Since it gets cold during the winter and the leaves die off during the winter I trimed it back like I did the previous year with the remaining trunk being 8 feet tall. The previous year it grew back and was huge but didn't mature and have a flower/stalk like last fall. It did not grow back this summer but the trunk is still green, even now showing it is still alive.

This is important because we have a red leaf banana that is about 13' tall and hasn't matured yet.

Will this green leaf banana grow back or not? What should we do?


Paul Wilson

Answer: Sounds as though your green leaf banana is Ensete, an African native. Ensete usually flowers 2-5 years after being planted. The plant dies to the roots after flowering and most people dig and discard the plant, replacing it with a new specimen. It is possible, however, for new shoots to develop at the crown of the plant and generate a new plant. If that's what you intend to do, cut the remaining trunk down to ground level. New shoots should develop at ground level. Your red banana is Musa acuminata. While the plants look similar, Musa will produce fruit where Ensete won't. Musa will live after flowering, where Ensete won't. In fact, Musa can die down to the ground if hit by frost and it will regrow - at a very fast rate. Hope the above information sheds some light on the topic!

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