Banana Ensete maurelii (Red Banana)
This gorgeous plant is a true statement piece in any tropical or semi-tropical garden. It is a tender herbaceous perennial consisting of an underground corm, a trunk (pseudostem), and leaves that grow from the base of the trunk in concentric layers. The broad, long and graceful leaves grow in an arching habit and are dark green with deep red on the tips and the underside. This plant is fast growing and can grow anywhere from 36 – 96 inches tall. Banana Ensete maurelii will thrive if planted in full to part sun and is an outstanding choice for large containers on patios, in courtyards or poolside. It is best to avoid placing this plant in very windy areas as the leaves are easily shredded by strong winds.
The Sunset Climate Zones for this plant are 13, 15, 24, H1, H2 (USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11) If planted in frost-free coastal regions it is considered an evergreen, however in cold-winter regions it will need to be over-wintered before the first frost. If grown in a container it can be brought indoors for the winter and grown as a houseplant. Simply place the container is a sunny room and reduce the water and fertilizer.
If the container is too large to bring indoors, trim the foliage back to 6-8 inches tall after the first frost, and then store the container in a cool, dark, frost-free location until spring. A new shoot will emerge from the center of the trunk when spring is near. When all threat of frost is gone, move the container outside in the shade to allow your banana plant to harden off gradually and to re-adjust to life outside. Gradually increase the amount of sunlight that it is exposed to and water thoroughly.
If the plant has been planted directly in the ground, the most important aspect of winterizing will be to protect the underground corm, which is hardy to about 22°F. As long as this remains unharmed, it will send up new shoots when the warm weather returns. Your Banana plant will recover faster if you protect the pseudostem from winter damage. To do this you will need to cut back your plant, leaving the trunk to about 36 inches tall. Lay down a 4-6 inch layer of mulch all around the parameter of the plant and wrap the trunk with and old blanket. Place a plastic trash can upside down over the trunk. In the spring, when all danger of frost is gone, remove the trash can and blanket and water thoroughly.
We are growing Banana Ensete maurelii in 1 gallon containers. Give us a call, “Like” us on Facebook or check out our website at www.clearwatercolor.com to see photos and to learn more about these and many other plants we are growing.