Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: False Banana, Abyssinian Banana, Wild Banana
Ensete ventricosum

Family: Musaceae
Genus: Ensete (en-SET-ee) (Info)
Species: ventricosum (ven-tre-KO-sum) (Info)

Synonym:Ensete edule
Synonym:Musa ensete
Synonym:Musa arnoldiana
Synonym:Ensete arnoldianum

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Unknown - Tell us

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Unknown - Tell us


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
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
Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 20 photos.
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8 positives
2 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive wchick84 On Apr 11, 2011, wchick84 from Topeka, KS wrote:

Abyssinians love the Kansas summer! I have grown two trees for a few years and they are currently about 10 feet tall in 26" pots. The pots seem to keep the plants limited in their vertical growth, which is a blessing since those pots are HEAVY. Although they take some chilly weather, anything below mid-40's and the leaves wilt and turn to mush. Since I don't have a greenhouse, I have to move my plants inside in fall and outside in spring. (My husband complains every spring and fall about how he hates moving my banana trees, but he does admit they look fabulous on our patio) The weather in Kansas often involves wind, which can be unkind to banana trees. Thus, I keep the plants on pot dollies so that I can move them closer to the protection of the house when weather fronts move in. As long as I keep them watered, the plants seem to thrive in the blistering summer heat, rewarding me with deep burgundy and olive green foliage. Until this year, I have been lucky not to have been plagued with any banana pests. However, this year, after bringing the plants in, they developed a ravaging aphid infestation. Hopefully, I can save them, but only time will tell.

Positive desertluver99 On Feb 8, 2011, desertluver99 from Mobile, AL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Excellent landscape banana for the gulf coast....excellent cold tolerance in zone 8....mine comes back more beautiful every year here on the Alabama gulf coast...(green leaf / red stripe varitey)
Can be grown from seed...seed germination time is very long....planted seeds in pot in full sun...spring of 2010...1 germinated and quickly died....left seeds in pot indoors over winter of 2010/2011....moved back out to sunny greenhouse in march of 2011.....april of 2011...8 seeds have germinated and growing strong in greenhouse shelter..expect more to germinate soon

Positive fullsun007 On Jul 25, 2009, fullsun007 from Gainesville, FL wrote:

I purchased my Ensete online from "Stokes Tropical" in Jeanerette, LA. I have had mine in the ground for about 2 years. It is planted in full sun with no over head protection. At the start of this year we had 2 back to back nights with 21oF which killed the leaves but this spring it rebounded and has several large leaves. It gets fertilized with black kow and fish emulsion and also receives additional water via a drip irrigation. This is as other have stated a very thirsty plant and can occupy a large area when full grown. I like this plant as unlike other 'bananas' it does not sucker. It provides a lush tropical look to any yard. Unfortunately it is not readily available at a lot of garden centers, but seeds and plants are available online. If you have a wet area in your yard which receives full sun then an Ensete is worth a try, even in zone 8.

Positive Damaclese On Jul 26, 2008, Damaclese from Henderson, NV wrote:

Iv Had Vary Good luck with this Plant i Have 9 of them grown from seed. after reading the other comments id like to make a couple my self. this plant is native to Ethiopia and is the primary food starch sores in that region and as such dose not tolerate high humidity. its highly drought resistant for a Banana. takes approximately 5 years to mature. can be divided from the corm. often in as many as 100 devisions. they are wind resistant the leafs will shred in high winds this is normal and actually beneficial to the plant reliving stress on the main stem as for the comment about a Small root system this is inaccurate the roots souled take up 10Ft or more and grow to a depth of 5 ft. they do need staking if they are vary tall. they do need to be kept damp but with thees Banana having one of the largest corms known they can tolerate drought but will slow the plants development. there mature hight is over 20 ft and they do need lots of room. you can under plant as long as you are using species that can tolerate lots of water. they are thirsty plants. iv found them to be quite magnificent and stately lending and air of permanence to the tropical garden. I'm in zone 9 heat index 11 this is vary arid and hot. they will get a bit Crispy in the summer but come back nicely in the fall. although they prefer full sun if you live in a desert environment i suggest and east facing wall were they only get sun until 12 or 1 pm. for any one trying to grow Bananas and needing advice try Every thing you ever wanted to know about Bananas and probably more then you really want to know

Positive rcharding On Jun 19, 2008, rcharding from Mobile, AL wrote:

Great plant for the tropical look, and it grows very fast--about 1 foot per month here on the Gulf Coast. However, the soil must be kept constantly moist, which is not normally a problem here in the wettest city in the lower 48 (we get 66'' of rain annually).

Neutral Benn On Feb 4, 2008, Benn from Silverdale, WA wrote:

From what I've read you can grow them indoors for a couple of years but the sheer size of the plant is restrictive, so unless you have a giant greenhouse or some way to keep it from freezing in the winter you might have to replace it every 3 years or so. At least that was the impression I've got from the book I was reading.

Positive RxBenson On Jul 17, 2006, RxBenson from Pikesville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

I purchased one from a building supply chain around Easter and have repotted it into an 18-in pot and it's growing very well. It is a lovely speciman plant nopw at 3' tall... thus far. I'm using a bloom food on it for no reason other than it's in the watering can when I'm tending the Passiflora and Brugmansias. I know it won't over-winter in NJ, but I intend to bring it indoors to either my front LR window if it can tolerate dry heat and moderate light.

I'm also considering over-wintering it in my unheated garage (where water doesn't freeze), as I have all of my Brugmansias. Has anyone else had luck in raising them in pots or tubs for several years? I'm in (arguably) Zone 6 going on 7, and 15 miles inland from the south Jersey shore.

Wind does cause permanent creases in the leaves, but so far the Japanese beetles and earwigs have left it alone!

Positive Band123 On Jan 27, 2006, Band123 from Vacaville, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Grows great in zone 9b. About 20 feet tall in 4 years. Gets frost bitten, but easily preventable with a fan. A fast growing large banana. Would recommend to anyone wanting an instant tropical look to their garden, but make room for it. It can easily over dominate your garden if not planted correctly. Leaves also get tathered easily. So if you want perfect leaves keep it sheltered from winds.

I fertilize it with just time release grass fertilizer about the same time you fertilize your grass. I figure the high nitrogen does it well.

Neutral Maggienile On Jun 14, 2005, Maggienile from Sacramento, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

I wonder if this can be grown in a bog garden.e

Negative jungleboy_fl On Apr 29, 2005, jungleboy_fl from Naples, FL wrote:

This banana relative is not resistent to the many diseases which plague the humid tropics and near tropics. Panama Disease, amongst a host of others, severely disfigures the leaves, stunts growth, and ultimately results in the death of the plant. I've tried this plant several times, and fought the disease progression to no avail. Not a good choice for South Florida, or anywhere humid and tropical. Virtually all plants I see for sale in this area are already showing signs of early disease progression. There's a lot of information on the web regarding banana diseases. I suggest looking into these publications prior to planting.

Positive palmbob On Feb 5, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have grown several of these bananas in Thousand Oaks California (just northeast of LA) and though they look great and are one of the fastest growing tropical plants I have put in the ground, they do have one downside in that climate- they weigh a TON and are 99% water and have a wimpy root ball... so when the wind blows... yup... their sail-like leaves make a great wind catch and they fall over and crush just about anything in their way. These bananas evolved in a pretty wind-free climate I think. Fantastic looking additions to any warm garden, though, and make a quick shade for understory plants... you just might have to tie it up if you live in a windy area.


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

Mobile, Alabama (2 reports)
Theodore, Alabama
Canoga Park, California
Clayton, California
La Mirada, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
Rocklin, California
San Diego, California
San Jose, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California (2 reports)
Sonoma, California
Stockton, California
Temecula, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Vacaville, California
West Hills, California
Daytona Beach, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Yulee, Florida
Hilo, Hawaii
Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Ventress, Louisiana
Henderson, Nevada
Whiting, New Jersey
Annville, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Brookshire, Texas
Hockley, Texas
Mc Kinney, Texas
Missouri City, Texas
Richmond, Texas
Castle Rock, Washington
Puyallup, Washington

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