If you love bananas, you’ll be ecstatic to learn that you can grow banana plant yourself. While many people in subtropical climates tend to grow banana plant outside in their yard, banana trees can actually thrive in a pot or container inside of your house. If you get the correct materials and plant and care for your tree properly, you can grow your very own banana tree right at home. Within a year of planting, you can have fruit growing on your new banana tree!
There are banana varieties that can withstand temperature drops and grows well in pots or containers, popular especially among the fans of exotic tropical plants.
The first question that may come up in your mind is– Will banana tree in a pot can bear fruits?
And the answer is yes. It is possible, a banana tree bears fruits in pot prolifically. It may take up to 3 to 5 years to fruit if grown from seeds.
Growing Banana Plant in Gardens
Best Banana Varieties for Gardens
Cavendish is the variety that you know from the shops. It’s a stout variety that produces large heavy bunches.
Lady Fingers are very tall and slender plants and have sweeter fruit.
Plantains are cooking bananas. They are drier and more starchy. You use them green like you would use potatoes, and they taste similar.
(80% of all bananas grown in the world are plantain varieties! They are an important staple food in many tropical countries.)
There are other varieties, but those are the most popular and most commonly grown. If you have got favorite banana varieties, let’s start to plant it.
Bananas love sun and heat so pick a sunny location where they will receive light most of the day. Fruiting bananan plants will stop growing if in a mostly shady location; as well shady locations tend to stay wet longer especially in the winter when it is important to reduce watering as it may lead to root rot.
2. Allow sufficient space.
While banana plants are technically herbs, they are often mistaken for trees for a reason. Some varieties and individuals can reach 7.6 m (25ft.) in height, although you should check the source of your banana plant or local banana growers for a more accurate estimate for your locale and variety.
- Each banana plant requires a hole at least 30cm(1ft.) wide and 30cm (1ft.) deep. Larger holes should be used in areas of high wind (but will require more soil).
- Keep banana plants at least 4.5m(15ft) from trees and shrubs (not other banana plants) with large root systems that may compete with the bananas’ water.
- Multiple banana plants help each other maintain beneficial humidity and temperature levels, as long as they are planted at the correct distance. If you can, plant several plants in a clump with 2–3m(6.5–10ft.) between each one, or a large number of banana plants 3–5m(10–16ft.) from each other.
- Dwarf varieties require less space.
3. Select your planting material.
You can acquire a banana sucker (small shoot from the base of a banana plant) from another grower or plant nursery, or buy one online. A banana rhizome or corm is the base from which suckers grow. Tissue cultures are produced in laboratories to create higher fruit yield. If you’re transplanting a mature plant, prepare a hole appropriate to its size and have an assistant help you.
- The best suckers to use are 1.8-2.1m (6–7ft) in height and have thin, sword-shaped leaves, although smaller suckers should work well if the mother plant is healthy. Big, round leaves are a sign that the sucker is trying to make up for a lack of adequate nutrition from the mother plant.
- If the sucker is still attached to a mother plant, remove it by cutting forcefully downward with a clean shovel. Include a significant portion of the underground base (corm) and its attached roots.
- A rhizome (corm) without notable suckers can be chopped into pieces. Each piece with a bud (proto-sucker) will grow into a banana plant, but this will take longer than using a sucker.
4. Dig a hole for each plant.
Remove any plants or weeds that are growing on the planting site, then dig a circular hole 30cm wide and 30 cm deep (1ft. x 1 ft.) A larger hole will provide greater support for the plant but require more soil.
5. Fill the hole with loose, rich soil.
Leave several centimeters (a few inches) of space at the top to encourage drainage.
- Do not use potting soil, nor your regular garden soil unless you are sure it is suitable. Soil mixes intended for cacti can produce good results, or ask other growers of the same banana variety.
- The ideal soil acidity for bananas is between pH 5.5 and 7. Acidity pH 7.5 or higher can kill the plant.
6. Place the plant upright in the new soil.
The leaves should be pointing upward and the soil should cover the roots and 1.5–2.5cm (0.5–1 inches) of the base. Tamp the soil down to keep it in place but don’t pack too firmly.
Planting the Banana Plant in pot or container
Banana is a lush green, fast-growing plant that can give any place a tropical look and feel. Many varieties become excellent houseplants that don’t need much care and grow up very quickly.
Dwarf varieties of banana trees can grow anywhere between 2 to 4 meters. Compared to the ordinary banana trees that can reach up to 15 meters high.
Banana Plants Varieties you can Grow in Pots or Indoors
These dwarf varieties of banana tree restrict up to only 1.5 m to 4 m. (4 to 12 feet) tall and are suitable to grow in containers. You can also grow these banana varieties indoors.
- Dwarf Red
- Dwarf Cavendish
- Dwarf Brazilian
- Dwarf Jamaican
- Rajapuri (Musa)
- Williams Hybrid
- Gran Nain
- Dwarf ‘Lady Finger’
If you would like to grow ornamental bananas check out these varieties:
- Ensete ventricosum
- Musa sikkimensis ‘Red Tiger’
- Musa ornata
Requirements for Growing Banana Plant in Pots
Banana trees grow in tropical and subtropical parts of the world and therefore they love full sun, heat and humidity. If you’re growing banana tree you should keep it in a spot that receives the sun most of the day but preferably sheltered from the wind.
Growing Banana tree requires well-draining soil, sandy soil that is rich in organic matters and compost. Buy a good quality potting mix for your banana tree. If you are making it at home make sure to mix sand, perlite, and compost or manure.
Banana needs slightly acidic to neutral soil to produce those potassium rich nutritious bananas. The soil pH should be around 6 – 7. If your soil is alkaline mix sulfur to decrease the pH.
Planting Your Banana Plant
1. Purchase a corm or banana tree online or at the store.
The corm is the base of the banana tree and contains the tree’s roots. If you don’t want to plant the corm and wait for the tree to grow, you can buy a young banana tree or a banana tree sucker. This will bypass having to grow new suckers from the corm, and may make it easier to plant your tree.
You may also be able to buy young banana trees or banana corms at a local nursery.
2. Rinse the banana corm thoroughly with lukewarm water.
It’s important that you rinse the banana corm before planting it to remove any pests that might be on it. Rinsing the corm will also help remove any bacterial or fungal growth.
3. Dig a small hole for the banana corm.
Fill your pot with the soil that you purchased from the gardening store. Use a spade to dig a small hole in the center of your pot about three inches (7.62 cm) deep. You may have to dig a deeper hole to accommodate the size of your corm. Make sure to leave enough space around the corm so that you can plant it deep into your pot. To test this, place your corm in the hole and make sure that the top 20% of the corm sticks out of the hole. This portion of your tree should remain exposed until new leaves start sprouting. Once the corm is planted, fill in the gaps on the side with soil.
4. Bury the banana corm into the soil and cover the roots.
Take your corm and place it in the hole that you just dug, roots side down. When planting your corm, make sure that it’s 3 inches (7.5 cm) from the sides of your pot all around it so that the roots have room to grow. The top 20% of your corm should be exposed until the banana tree starts to grow leaves.
When shoots or suckers start to grow from your corm, you can cover the rest of the corm with compost.
5. Water your tree.
Water your plant thoroughly with a hose when you first plant it, saturating all of the soil surrounding the corm. Bring your tree outside and allow the water to drain through the drainage holes. After this initial watering, you can use a watering can to keep the soil moist, but not overly wet. Do not put your pot on a saucer because the pool of water can lead to bacteria and rot.
Caring for Your Banana Plants
Fertilize your tree once a month. Fertilize young plant when it establishes well with magnesium, potassium, and nitrogen-rich to help it grow faster. Combine a soluble fertilizer with water or sprinkle the top of the soil with a granular fertilizer. Regularly fertilizing the plant will provide the roots with the proper nutrients and minerals and will promote your tree’s growth.
During the spring and summer, you can fertilize your plant once a week. If you can’t find a soluble fertilizer that is made specifically for tropical plants, consider getting a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer.
Banana loves moisture. Water it regularly and deeply but care not to overwater. In summer, water it every day. It may need water even two times a day in hot weather or when it is root bound. Soil for growing banana plants should be kept uniformly moist. Reduce watering in winter.
Make sure that your tree gets bright, indirect sunlight. Banana trees thrive in indirect sunlight and prefer shaded areas. If you live in a seasonal climate, you can put your banana tree outside during the summer months when it’s warm. Make sure to position the tree next to surrounding foliage that can block out the direct rays of the sun. Rotate the container regularly to make sure that all sides of the plant are receiving sunlight. If your tree is indoors, put it next to a large window so that it can get adequate sunlight.
Overwintering Banana Tree
Banana plants stop growing when the temperature drops below 50 ° Fahrenheit. Before the onset of winter, do heavy mulching and prune the leaves. Put it in a warm, bright room till the spring.
Bring your tree inside when the temperature drops below 57 °F (14 °C). Cold and heavy winds aren’t healthy for your banana plant and can disrupt the growth of fruit. If you know that your yard will have cold winds, consider bringing your banana plant inside, or insulating it with rows of trees. If the seasons are changing, it’s best that you bring your tree inside before it starts to get cold out. Your banana trees will start dying at 50°F (10°C).
Pests and Diseases
Bananas are quite resistant to diseases, still when you see the leaves turning brown and drying at the edges it means you’re overwatering and if the leaves turn yellow, banana plant is having a lack of nutrients.
Some pests that might attack banana plant are banana aphids, banana weevil, and coconut scale. These pests can easily be repelled using organic pesticides.