Updated April 23, 2022 by Mark Marino
Banana plants, sometimes commonly referred to as indoor banana trees, can add a tropical note to your interior space. Banana trees are native to areas of Southeast Asia, Africa, and Australia. Given enough light and water, banana plants are easy to grow indoors even if you live far from their ideal outdoor growing zones. Depending on the type of banana plant you choose, yours may not produce fruit or produce fruit that is edible. Before purchasing dwarf banana trees or banana leaf plants (as they may be referred to), it’s important to research specific types of banana plants so you choose the ideal type for your home.
Banana Plant Description
Banana plants are from the musaceae family (musa spp). Though there are various types of banana plants, you might want to opt for species like Musa acuminata (a hybrid from Cavendish bananas) or Musa sikkimensis (red tiger banana plant). There are more than 70 types of banana plants that bear fruit–bananas or plantains. Technically, banana trees are not trees at all since they are not woody; in fact, they are categorized as some of the world’s largest herbaceous plants.
As mentioned, some banana plants like Musa basjoo, do not produce edible fruit; however, this particular variety of banana plant is ideal for growing indoors in rooms with tall ceilings as it can grow upwards of eight feet. Even so, dwarf Cavendish banana trees remain the most popular plants for growing indoors.
Generally, indoor banana plants feature vibrant green foliage. These tropical houseplants boast long broad leaves, and fleshy stalks, and produce purple, white, or even orange blooms in early spring. When grown indoors, it’s rare for banana trees to produce fruit.
How to Grow a Banana Plant Indoors
Banana plants have a growing season that lasts from spring to fall. During their growing season, in particular, indoor banana plants require a generous supply of water. To grow an indoor banana plant, follow these tips:
Since many banana trees can grow quite large, you’ll want to choose a pot that can accommodate its roots. Banana plants, even dwarf bananas, develop deep root systems and need enough space to grow in order for your plant to thrive indoors. Any plant pot you choose should be sturdy and spacious for your indoor banana trees. Also, your banana plant pot should have drainage holes to allow excess water, which can cause root rot, to drain from the soil.
Your banana plant will need plenty of natural light. Try to ensure that it is exposed to direct sunlight for roughly eight hours each day. Some banana plants require up to 12 hours of exposure to bright light. If temperatures during the summer exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you can even set your banana plant outdoors to ensure it gets exposed to bright light during the day. On the other hand, too many hours of direct sunlight for your particular variety might scorch its foliage. You can prevent scorching by protecting your plant from too much full sun.
A banana tree requires well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH. It’s a good idea to choose a potting mix with perlite, which helps with soil aeration. When selecting soil for your banana plant, be sure it has plenty of organic matter to ensure your plant has the nutrients it needs for optimum health.
Banana plants like Cavendish bananas need plenty of water, especially during the summer season. Add water to the soil and use room temperature water to mist your plant’s foliage between waterings. The soil should always be moist–but not water-logged. Remember that too much water can lead to root rot, which is why it’s important to ensure that the soil is well draining. It’s easy to tell if your banana plant needs water because its leaves will appear droopy.
As a tropical plant, it’s not surprising that your indoor banana tree prefers hot and humid conditions. Banana plants prefer daytime warm temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Even hardier varieties of bananas prefer consistent temperatures, so try to avoid exposing your banana plant to extreme temperature shifts.
During its growing season, and particularly during the hot months of summer, your banana plant will require plenty of fertilizer. Use a balanced fertilizer to feed your banana plant weekly.
How to Care for Indoor Banana Plants
Since many banana varieties grow well indoors, your indoor banana plant should be easy to care for providing you meet the requirements mentioned above. If you live in a setting without much full sun, you might want to use a grow light to ensure your banana tree gets the light exposure it needs.
When grown indoors, banana plants aren’t likely to succumb to pests, but be sure to inspect your plant periodically as it can attract an insect known as banana weevils, which bore through the plant’s stem and rhizomes. If you do not provide your banana plant with a steady supply of water and it becomes dry, it may also attract red spider mites.
Indoor Banana Plants FAQs
How long does it take to grow banana plants indoors?
Banana plants can grow quickly; some varieties of bananas can reach their full height in just nine months.
Can you grow a banana tree inside your house?
Yes, banana plants are easy to grow indoors. However, they are unlikely to bear fruit. In fact, your banana tree may not even flower. In some cases, when conditions are favorable, your banana plant might flower after three or four years; in these cases, it may produce fruit in your indoor setting.