Growing Bananas Indoors - Lots of Questions

Chicago Suburbs, IL(Zone 5b)

I live in zone 5/6. I picked up a Dwarf Giant Banana from the "buy it or in the dumpster it goes" rack yesterday. It is small maybe 18" high at this point. I really want to keep this guy alive but I cant seem to find any good information on keeping banana plants inside, just very general statements. Does anyone know any good websites?

I am sure it needs to be re-potted. What kind of potting mix is best for a banana. Is there anything I should amend a basic mix with?

Any thing special that needs to be done to keep it going inside over the winter? Is a south facing window adequate or should I put it under lights? I have seen reference to heating pads to keep roots warm, is that necessary? What is the minimum temp it can take before it needs to come inside?

Germantown, TN(Zone 7b)


You might like the web site - They have all a lot of good information there.
Good luck with growing such a large plant indoors! I cut the leaves off my plants in the winter and take them out of the ground until next spring. You can probably do the same where you live.


Brooklyn Park, MN(Zone 4a)

I grew a super dwarf cavendish indoors in southern Wisconsin (5a) for maybe two winters, and it seemed happy enough with a south-facing window. That said, it was somewhat difficult to get the banana positioned so it'd actually get direct sunlight on its leaves. The biggest problem I had was with spider mites, who, while they didn't seem to horribly damage the plant, did make the leaves look spotted. Misting and frequently wiping down the banana leaves seemed to lessen the problem.

A standard soil mixture worked fine for me.

And, all that said, it didn't fruit for me by the time I gave it away (I was moving far away with lots of other plants, and I decided that a giant plant in a 14-inch pot(and it should have been repotted, too.) wasn't worth it, especially with no fruit likely on the way. It certainly made the room look like a tropical paradise, though.) I think it'll be difficult to make it fruit indoors, especially without additional light.

As for minimum temperatures, I generally didn't let it spend much time under 40. Mine had springtime problems when I made it adjust too quickly to the outdoor conditions. It always recovered, though, and I gave away a few baby bananas from the plant, too.

Germantown, TN(Zone 7b)

Bananas require lots of sun as well as hot/humid conditions to produce a flower and fruit. I grew them outside in Southern California. But I was near the coast in Orange County and it really did not get hot enough where I was for the fruit to develop well. The temperature was always above 40 degrees on cold winter nights which kept the plants from freezing, but the day time temps, even in the summer was usually only about 80 degrees. I think most good eating bananas need warmer days with lots of humidity to really do well. If I had a plant to produce a flower in the very early spring, the bananas would usually ripen to eating quality by around Christmas time!

Where I am now in the Memphis, TN area, the summer days are hot and very humid and the bananas will grow much faster. But cutting back the leaves for the winter causes too much shock to the plants for them to develop a flower in the early spring time in order to get fruit before it turns cold again.

Harrison Valley, PA(Zone 5a)

I never saw this post until today...hope your banana did well for you. I live in northeastern Pa zone 5a and grow several types of bananas indoors and found the cold sensative ones do very well if you wrap the stalks with small white Christmas lights. I keep mine in west facing window, it's the only area of the house that has enough windows lol

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

last yr was my first time with bananas.. and im hooked.. lol
i grow mostly big ones..but i start with little ones now..then in spring move them outside for the
sun.. then early summer out they go into the yard..
my biggest ones got over 14 ft tall..
i totally agree with reference to !!!!
im a real newbie.. and there are some great people on with yrs of
personal and professional experience with bananas..
my soil mix is equal parts.. my own compost, perlite,and coco coir..
the plants seem to like it and it stays light and isnt to heavy.. esp when i haul the
plants out on nice sunny days..
bananas are great showy way to go plexippus !!!!

Germantown, TN(Zone 7b)

I see some nurseries are selling a cold hardy version of a banana plant that they claim will survive in freezing weather, but I have not bought any of them. (see Burgess Seed and Plant, Item # N3317, good down to zone 4) Has anyone tried these?

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

i have some of the "cold hardy" ones. I put 2 outside for the year and 2 in pots which I brought inside and put in my cold rooms (50 degrees = dormant) for the winter. The outside ones died and the pottted ones came to life in April and are doing fine outdoors again. Dwarf Cavendish is the best variety to grow as a house plant. Enough light and they do well and they clump. My mother plant has out 6 babies so far and is still going strong. Max. height 2.5 feet. Bit of red on the leaves

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

the cold hardy banana is probably musa basjoo.. it is hardy.. but even they need to be winter protected if you want to leave them
out in winter..
i dig all mine..either keep them bareroot..or pot up and keep on dry side during winter..
weve had some really wet weather here for almost a week..and i guess still more rain to come..
i haul my plants out on good sunny days..
they are great additions to gardens..and they are worth the back aches.. LOL

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

The 2 Musa Bajoo I left in the ground outside, covered, did not make it. The 2 I had in my cold (50 degree) rooms came back alive this Spring and are doing fine.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

gasrocks..ive always wondered if i should try leaving my basjoo out (heavily mulched) i have a big room that i keep coolish in winter.. 50s..
and i think i'll just do the back breaking work .. dig them (basjoo's) and bring them in..
i kept a few potted up..they all have done well..
my ensetes,sabas,other musa's dont do much until april.. i start taking them outside on warmish sunny days..
looks like were going to have another nice day here... not as much sun..but at least not raining.. yet...LOL
i planted the rest of my cannas this morning..

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

We have had a record wet and cool Spring. Another frost warning for tonight. I have all (500+) my house plants (ok, almost all) outdside and get to cover them up again for the 3rd time in 3 weeks. Sigh.

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

gasrocks...OMG 500+ plants.. wow.. i thought i was nuts with my 80 some tropicals.. LOL
u ROCK !!!
you must have an army to move all those plants???
im waiting another week here.. just in case.. id be pretty upset with how nice my tropicals are now
only to get hit with a last frost..
plus they dont like it when its so cold i can hold off a bit..
hope u have help with all those plants gasrocks !!!!!

Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

I move the biggest plants with a hand truck (70 lb agave is the heaviest) and have an old baby carriage for the little ones. Only 36 degrees last night, whew. Using some 55% shade fabric, I have constructed 2 areas where they all go this year. One on the north side of the back porch, other inside the fence around my garden. I'm up to 4 types of Bananas now.

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