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Basjoo Banana for Sale - Buying & Growing Guide

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Musa 'Basjoo'
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The basjoo banana, Musa basjoo, is also known as the cold-hardy banana and Japanese banana. With that many names, it must be good — and it is. Although most banana trees are tropical plants, the basjoo banana can handle temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit when it is properly protected, so northern gardeners can add a touch of the tropics to their landscape. This fast-growing plant thrives in fertile soil and grows quickly, gaining height almost overnight in warm weather. Although it does not produce edible fruit, it looks in every other way just like a banana tree, with large, architectural leaves and arresting yellow flowers. It can also be container-grown and makes a definite statement near a pool or patio. Need more convincing? Here are a few other reasons to grow a basjoo banana:

  • The basjoo banana stands out in Mediterranean-style or tropically-inspired gardens.
  • Its foliage is evergreen, although it dies back after flowering.
  • It can tolerate varying temperatures and light situations when grown indoors.

Plant Care

Sunlight

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The basjoo banana grows best in full sun — six or more hours of direct light a day.

Watering

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The basjoo banana likes moist soil. Water once or twice a week, whenever the soil is dry 2 inches below the surface.

Fertilizing

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Banana trees are heavy feeders. A formula such as 28-8-16 is a good choice.

Planting and Care

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by Mary Van Keuren | Gardener (30+ Years Experience) – last update on July 26, 2022

Planting instructions

Plant your basjoo banana in a spot with fertile, well-draining soil that receives at least six hours of sun a day. The spot you choose should be sheltered from prevailing winds as much as possible. Unpot your banana tree and tease out any encircling roots, which can girdle the tree and slowly kill it. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Place the tree in it, spreading out the roots. Holding the sapling upright and steady, fill in around the roots with topsoil, tamping down as you go to eliminate air pockets. Water thoroughly. Apply a 2- to 3-inch layer of an organic mulch, such as bark chips, around the root zone, being careful that it does not touch the tree trunk.

Watering and nutrients

Water your newly-planted basjoo banana twice a week for the first year after planting. Once it is well-established and growing strongly, you can cut back to once-a-week watering. The basjoo banana likes moist soil, so you can tell if it needs supplemental watering by digging down about 2 inches near the roots — if it seems dry, give it a drink. Basjoo bananas are heavy feeders and benefit from regular applications of fertilizer throughout the growing season. Regularly rake away the mulch temporarily to apply a layer of compost, and feed with a citrus fertilizer or a water-soluble 28-8-16 formula.

Pollination

Bananas are self-fertile, meaning that a single tree has both male and female reproductive organs. After flowering, the basjoo banana produces small, seedy, inedible fruits, after which the pseudostem (trunk) dies back, although the roots stay alive and will soon produce another trunk.

Pruning

Your basjoo banana needs little pruning. You can trim back brown or dying leaves from the outer edge of the pseudostem; if not trimmed back, these will eventually fall off. Prune back any leaves that are diseased or damaged in any way. Never prune out the top of the trunk, as this is the point from which new growth emerges.

Pests and diseases

Pests that may appear on your basjoo banana include mites, ants, and banana aphids. A healthy tree can generally fight off infestations, but if your tree seems to be in trouble, a general insecticide can help — or you might consider releasing beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, which eat aphids and other pests. Diseases of the banana tree include banana wilt, which is fatal, and leaf spot — both are fungal in nature. To avoid problems with fungi, plant your basjoo banana in soil that drains well, keep the ground around the tree clean of leaf debris, and water at the base of the plant, not the leaves.

Achieving maximum results

With some preparation, your basjoo banana can be successfully grown as a container plant. This means those who live north of its range can grow this handsome specimen, bringing it indoors in the winter. Choose a container that is roughly twice the size of the root ball, with good drainage holes in the bottom. Plant your young tree in good potting soil, and water thoroughly. Container-grown plants need watering more frequently than those grown in the ground, so monitor your tree carefully, especially when the weather is hot. Also maintain a good feeding schedule for your banana, as the roots can only stretch so far in search of nutrients. Every few years, unpot your plant, trim back the roots lightly, and refresh the soil.

FAQs

Where can I grow a basjoo banana?

Unlike most bananas, which are tropical plants, the basjoo banana is frost-hardy and can handle temperatures even down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit when properly protected. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 11, a broad range that means it can be grown throughout much of the U.S., with the exception of the upper Midwest and northern New England. To best care for your banana, cut back the stem to about 2 feet after a frost, and wrap it in burlap or plastic for the winter.

How big does a basjoo banana get?

The basjoo banana can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet when it is well-sited and well-cared-for. When mature, it will also have a width of 10 to 15 feet. A container-grown plant may not grow as large, because the size of the container constrains the roots.

Is the basjoo banana a tree?

No, it's not, although it is usually referred to as a tree, and its appearance is tree-like. It's actually considered an herbaceous plant and is distantly related to the ginger plant. It has a succulent main stem, rather than a woody one, which dies back to the ground after it flowers.

Compare Similar Products

Mature height
10-15 ft.
Mature width
10-15 ft.
Sunlight requirement
Full Sun
Growth rate
Fast
Botanical name
Musa 'Basjoo'
Shipping exclusions
AZ
Grows Well In Zones
5-11
map
Growing Zones: 5-11 i Growing zones help determine if a particular plant is likely to grow well in a location. It identifies the average annual minimum winter temperatures across the U.S. provided as a map by the USDA.
(hardy down to -10°F)

Basjoo Banana

Musa 'Basjoo'
  • Ships in 1-2 days
  • 1-Year Warranty Eligible
  • Pots or accessories are not included unless specified in the product options.
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