Also known as indoor banana trees, these plants are one of the most tropical looking indoor plants for your home! They offer large green foliage that drapes across and around the plant which provides an exotic feel to any living space.
The most common variety grown indoors is the dwarf Cavendish, pictured above. These plants usually top out at 6 – 8 feet, although it’s really easy to prune them to control their height. Basically, just cut off the top part of the plant with a sharp knife. The plant will regenerate the top branches quickly and easily.
A similar variety, the super dwarf Cavendish, is also frequently sold for indoor gardeners. This specimen is ideal for smaller living spaces, as it tops out at only 3-4 feet.
Caring for an Indoor Banana Plant
You’ll want to care for this specimen just like any other indoor fruit tree. These plants love sunlight and humidity, but interestingly the biggest cause of their demise is over watering (or sitting in water). Place the plant near a sunny window so it receives at least six hours of sun exposure per day.
Add a Tropical Touch to Your Home With a Dwarf Banana Plant
We also recommend you place the plant outdoors in the warmer months. Check to see when the normal first frost is in your area and bring the plant back indoors about a month before then. These indoor banana species are more cold hardy than normal banana trees, but don’t expose them to frost conditions as the leaves and the plant will be damaged.
Plan to water your plant once a week with room temperature water. About 3 quarts to a gallon of water is sufficient, depending how dry your home environment is, and be sure the soil dries out before a subsequent watering.
Test to see if the soil has dried out with your index finger. Insert your finger into the soil a few inches – if you still feel moisture, don’t water! Remember, too much watering is the biggest danger to these trees. Don’t worry if your watering schedule stretches out to ten days or two weeks or longer, just make sure the soil has dried out before watering again.
Water until the liquid drains through the bottom holes of the container, and be sure to drain off any excess water from the container stand so the plant roots don’t sit in water. This can cause roots rot and as mentioned above, is usually the biggest cause of failure with these small trees.
You should also fertilize the tree monthly during the active growing season and refrain from fertilizing in the winter months. Use a standard citrus tree fertilizer (Miracle Gro is a good choice). We use something that combines with water because it’s simpler to water and fertilize at the same time.
These specimens are self fruiting, so they don’t need to be pollinated. They are remarkably easy care and pest free! You should mist your plant a few times a week to maintain higher humidity levels, especially in dry home environments. Doing so also keeps away any pests.
Bananas and Fruiting
These plants will typically fruit about nine months after you receive them. The two things you’ll notice about the bananas is they’re slightly smaller and sweeter than those you buy in the store. Grocery store bananas (and other fruit) is often harvested well before it is ripe due to transportation and warehousing issues. As such, their flavor tends to be somewhat bland and generic. The opposite is true with dwarf Cavendish and other indoor specimens – the fruit offers significantly more flavor and are noticeably sweeter!
You can expect several pounds of fruit per year, and more as the plant matures. Your plant will fruit at least once, and usually twice during a typical year, depending on how well it adapts to your living space.
One other care note – it is very normal for leaves on the plant to die and new ones form. Try to tolerate the dying leaves as they help the plant absorb nutrients. The normal cycle for the leaves is to turn from green to yellow, then to brown before they shrivel.
These sturdy plants are perfect for beginning gardeners because they’re so easy to grow!
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