Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Red Banana Tree, Variegated Blood Banana
Musa sumatrana 'Rojo'

Family: Musaceae
Genus: Musa (MEW-suh) (Info)
Species: sumatrana (soo-MAH-truh-nuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Rojo
Additional cultivar information: (aka Sumatrana)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

27 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Unknown - Tell us

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 18 photos.
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15 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive CharSC92 On Apr 18, 2013, CharSC92 from Charleston, SC wrote:

Hello, I just re-registered because I could not retrieve my info to get my original account back.

Anyhow I purchased 4 of these Musa Rojo (red banana plants) in containers about a week ago. I'm right on the border of 8b/9a, literally 1 mile from the other Zone and being on the ocean I think we have a microclimate, right here in my yard, which is close to the marsh (lots of reflected sun)

So, I came here looking to see what everyone said about growing this plant. I rated this as "positive" because so far I think they appear like they will do well, even though I've only had it one week. I've seen the regular green (non-variegated) banana plants growing on this street for years so, I suppose mine will do all right if I get a little more information on how to treat them..

Have been checking this web site for all kinds of information for the past year but could not get back on till I just now re-registered. So far have learned a lot over the past few months here.

All the web sites I check have different info for growing this plant. Some say "fertile" soil while others say not a heavy soil, 2 parts peat, 1 part sand and 1 part perlite (which I think I will do) I have all 4 of them located in separate areas of the yard right now to see where it will thrive the best. So far they have all grown, the one that I moved in and out of the sun did the best. I have seen on a couple of sites info saying this plant needs 12 hours of sun per day!!!! (I think that writer must have meant another kind of banana plant/tree)

I am sure our sun would burn the leaves up if I left it in 12 hours of direct sun. Also read that it is grown in the rain forests as an "understory" plant , and it does best under a taller tree getting dappled sunlight.

I realize this is an old thread but if anyone knows about this plant and wants to help me out with some more of their experience I would appreciate it! :) So far they are doing well in the containers but I think since it's already April I need to provide them a better place for the roots to spread out very soon by planting them in the ground. Maybe I will leave one in a container, only a larger one, to move around when I want to "show it off" :)

Positive the_howards10 On Aug 4, 2010, the_howards10 from Lorain, OH wrote:

My husband and I have two in our front yard. This is our second year of having them. They are big and beautiful!They set off a awesome tropical theme!

Neutral donnacreation On Jun 27, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I planted several of these last year and none of them survived winter 2010. Since they're supposed to be cold hardy to zone 8a, I didn't protect them. I'm trying 2 more this year and plan to mulch them. If they don't survive in ground with protection, they are not reliably cold hardy in zone 8a and their cold hardiness zone should be changed to 8b or 9a. Plants that can't survive in ground year round should not be listed as viable in zones where they only spend time outdoors during the warm season. Thanks!

Positive bonsai94 On Feb 19, 2010, bonsai94 from Palm Coast, FL wrote:

I have 2 of these banana trees in my landscape. They die back in winter ,but when the warmweather roles around they are great tropical acent plants.

Positive Trussell On Jul 19, 2007, Trussell from Stanfield, NC wrote:

I bought this plant because i wanted a tropical feel to my pool. I immediately had to separate it because there were 8-9 sprouts around the mother plant. I live in North Carolina, and placed the plants around the pond and pool. However it isn't growing as rapidly as I thought it would. I planted some in containers and some in the ground.

Positive Ula_Ashore On Oct 30, 2006, Ula_Ashore from Corpus Christi, TX wrote:

When we first brought this plant home, we gave it room, sun, shade, great soil, food, love and water, but it didn't thrive. Two years later my husband and I decided to gut the patio so we bundled up our puny banana tree in a black garbage bag and placed in the front garden with no further thought. The thing took off like a weed! Now two trees over fifteen feet tall, the base sends up tiny banana trees with frightening regularity. Also, for the very first time, we have a stalk of about 30 fruits. The local nursery said the fruit aren't edible, but since no one says the fruit are poisonous, I may just have a bite to see for myself. The flowers have a wonderful, subtle scent. This banana is so gorgeous, my neighbors are clamoring for cuttings!

Positive soulbloom On Aug 18, 2006, soulbloom from Richmond, VA wrote:

I've had my 'Rojo' banana for about 3 weeks. I planted it in my garden in the front yard. I live in Zone 7a but I supposedly have a microclimate of about 8a or 8b. So far so good. This specimen stands out planted with my other flowers. Next spring I will surround it with low growing annuals.

Positive YankeeCracker On Jul 26, 2006, YankeeCracker from Vancouver, WA wrote:

I planted the red banana tree in the spring. The first couple of weeks, nothing, didnt seem to grow, but now its been growing fast! If any change i will let you know.

Positive cereal_tiller On Jul 19, 2006, cereal_tiller from South Padre Island, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

Our banana trees grow like weeds; they love heavy, organic feedings (I feed fish byproducts and shells from shell fish. harvested many delicious fruits sweeter than grocery store produce. The "blooms" are large and exotic.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Oct 14, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Since it does not rain all summer here in the San Francisco Bay (California) area it was interesting to see a yard of these growing like a giant ground cover of 2-3 foot plants in a Berkeley yard that was not very well watered....

Positive eizus On Aug 16, 2005, eizus from Apopka, FL wrote:

We live in Apopka, Florida and our banana trees are five yrs old. This plant is outside in part shade/part sun area. We have oak trees in our yard which keeps the ground fertile. I have never fertilized the banana trees, nor do I know what kind it is. They stand 7 - 8 ft only and we now have a huge bunch of bananas our two trees now, they are thin bananas about 1 1/2 inch round and 4-5 inches long, they have been out for about 2 months now, I don't know when to harvest them. I will wait a few more weeks and harvest them I guess. Also around the bottom there are five or six new plants coming up; they just reseed or shoot up by themselves.

--- Going bananas in Apopka...

Positive gotmel On Feb 13, 2004, gotmel from Lone Jack, MO wrote:

Banana trees contain a certain enchantment about them maybe because they are a tropical not often seen in my home town of Missouri. I placed mine outside during the summer and they grew and grew. I have noticed that these trees must have a constant supply of water to keep their leaf color green. In the winter if you don't have room for them in your house, Wait until the first few frost or until the leaves turn brownish black. Chop off the top of the plant and leaves and remove from ground. Wrap bare stem and roots in newspaper and cover with a plastic bag. Place in a cool, moist, dark place above freezing. Plant again next spring and see the green leaves pop out of the dried up stem

Positive htop On Nov 6, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, Tx.
This banana can be grown in containers and is suitable for small spaces. Use a 6-2-12 or 9-3-27 fertilizer.

Positive henryr10 On Jul 7, 2003, henryr10 from Cincinnati, OH (Zone 6b) wrote:

Also known as the Blood banana.

Positive tiG On Sep 15, 2002, tiG from Newnan, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of the easiest, most enjoyable things I've ever grown. Feed and water heavy, and enjoy!

Positive Horseshoe On Aug 31, 2002, Horseshoe from Efland, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Collect and sow seed as soon as they are ripe. Warm soil (inside)70-75*.
Can also be propagated by removing the suckers from the parent plant and potting them.
Note. Many banana "trees" will die after they've produced fruit. The stalk that has produced the fruit is usually cut away and the sucker or suckers that grow up from the base are then allowed to grow.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Dothan, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Garden Grove, California
Hayward, California
Martinez, California
Oceanside, California
San Bernardino, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Ventura, California
Apopka, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Deltona, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Miami, Florida
Miami Beach, Florida
Palm Coast, Florida (2 reports)
Port Charlotte, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Venice, Florida
Winter Haven, Florida
Marietta, Georgia
Midville, Georgia
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Deridder, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana (2 reports)
Vinton, Louisiana
Violet, Louisiana
Saucier, Mississippi
Clemmons, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Lorain, Ohio
Greeneville, Tennessee
Telford, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Bryan, Texas
Canyon Lake, Texas
Cedar Park, Texas
Corpus Christi, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Grand Prairie, Texas
Hockley, Texas
Houston, Texas
Jacksonville, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Smithville, Texas
South Padre Island, Texas
Winnsboro, Texas
Kalama, Washington
Orchards, Washington
Puyallup, Washington

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