Typically associated with the tropics, banana trees are some of the most popular trees for gardeners to grow. While living in a tropical region is ideal for this tree, it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. With a little know-how it’s perfectly doable to grow one indoors. Today we’ll look at how to grow a banana tree indoors even in a less than perfect climate.
Picking The Right Variety of Banana Tree
First, it’s important to note that there is a ton of variety in different banana trees available. These range from dwarf to full-size, and also vary in how much fruit they’ll produce. Some flower beautifully, but don’t produce fruit which can be disappointing if that’s your goal.
Our recommendation is to start with a “dwarf” variety such as the Dwarf Brazillian. Dwarf fruit trees are aptly named as they don’t grow as large as standard varieties. That doesn’t stop them from producing fruit either. Dwarf varieties are very popular among indoor gardeners looking to maximize their space.
Starting by selecting a large pot to provide enough space for a few years of growth. 12”+ is a good place to start. This should give your plant enough room to grow for some time before needing to repot. For soil, use a high-quality, well draining potting soil. You can also use special fruit specific soils, but it isn’t strictly necessary.
You also should look to repot with fresh soil and a larger pot every couple of years. This helps promote proper drainage with new soil while also giving your plant more room to grow.
By far the most important part of growing a banana tree is making sure to give it enough sunlight. For optimal growth, look to give the tree at least 12+ hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day. While it can live with a little less, this will slow down the growth of the plant and reduce its overall fruit yield.
You should also look to make sure that the plant is not getting burnt out by too intense of light. Yellowing leaf tips is often the symptom of this, and should be looked for to prevent by providing more indirect light. This usually isn’t a problem indoors, but if the plant is moved outdoors in the summer it can be a concern.
Our last tip is to not be afraid to use grow lights for banana trees. Their sunlight needs are quite high, and many will struggle to hit them without a really good growing location. A few hours of a grow light each day can really help keep them on track to produce fruit. You should also be wiping down the leaves every few weeks with a soft cloth. This helps remove dust from the plant leaves, and this can help them more efficiently absorb sunlight.
Watering & Feeding
Like many other plants, you should look to water your banana tree once the top of the inch or soil feels dry. Banana trees enjoy a slightly moist soil, but don’t want to be sitting for long periods in soaked soil. This can lead to root rot and eventually kill your plant.
Between waterings you can also lightly mist the plant. This can help keep them hydrated without the risk of overwatering.
For feeding, generally, you’ll have two seasons for your tree, growing and dormant. The tree will do most of its growing during the summer and then likely fall a bit dormant during the winter months. During the growing season you’ll want to fertilize fairly often, usually around every 3-4 weeks. In the winter though it’s okay to cut back and only feed every other month. Watering too will cut back in the winter, so you will probably go longer between each watering.
Temperature & Humidity
Being a tropical plant, banana trees like it to be warm and humid. Temperature wise, you don’t want nighttime temperatures to drop any lower than 65°f. Any lower than that and it can cause growth problems for the plant.
Humidity wise you want to do your best to keep the area around your plant as humid as possible. This is especially true in the winter when the air is much dryer. We have some simple tips for increasing humidity that you should look into to provide the best environment for your plant.
It should go without saying, but banana trees are very susceptible to frost damage. While it is encouraged to let them outside during the summer, do take care to bring them in before it frosts or gets even a little too cold.
How To Grow a Banana Tree Indoors
You really don’t have to live in a tropical region to enjoy fresh bananas. While growing a tree is a bit more care than a pot of chives it really isn’t rocket science. With a little hard work and knowledge growing fresh fruit trees is something every gardener can do!
Why Isn’t My Banana Tree Producing Fruit?
This is often due to lacking some essential nutrients. Make sure that:
- The tree is getting enough sun
- It’s being watered the correct amount
- It has high quality soil that is regularly fed with fertilizer
Odds are one of the above points is lacking and causing your plant to grow more slowly.
Do Dwarf Banana Trees Produce Fruit?
Yes they certainly do as a general rule, although not all types do. Research the variety you’re planning to grow to see if it produces edible fruit.
How Much Sun Does a Banana Tree Need?
Generally 12+ (although some varieties can do with less) for the best growth. You can often provide them with less, but expect them to grow more slowly in response.