Ensete, False Banana, Red Abyssinian Banana, Wild Banana 'Maurelii'

Ensete ventricosum

Family: Musaceae
Genus: Ensete (en-SET-ee) (Info)
Species: ventricosum (ven-tre-KO-sum) (Info)
Cultivar: Maurelii
Synonym:Ensete edule
Synonym:Musa ensete
Synonym:Musa arnoldiana
Synonym:Ensete arnoldianum



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Unknown - Tell us

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

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:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Mobile, Alabama(2 reports)

Baywood-Los Osos, California

Folsom, California

Fresno, California

Hayward, California

Lathrop, California

Martinez, California

Northridge, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Temecula, California

Vallejo, California

West Hills, California

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Navarre, Florida

Lake Charles, Louisiana

New Iberia, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Natchez, Mississippi

Las Vegas, Nevada

Levittown, New York

Rochester, New York

Calabash, North Carolina

Clemmons, North Carolina

Perrysburg, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

New Ellenton, South Carolina

Liberty Hill, Texas

Richmond, Texas

San Antonio, Texas(2 reports)

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 5, 2013, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Always a eye catching plant. Easy to grow. Best protected from winds,and given steady watering in summer.
Now,as far as hardiness? It will show leaf damage at 36f, blackened leaves at 33f. Yet, no big deal as it comes back early in spring. You can try covering in near frost temperatures,but its a big plant to tuck under sheets.


On Oct 26, 2013, shirleyk1 from New Orleans, LA wrote:

A beautiful and rapid growing plant. My only problems with it have been leaf damage due to winds. The trunk gets huge: right now after one year in the ground the base is a good 20 inches in diameter. But it is blooming--death follows. I am going to remove the incipient bloom hoping to delay the plant's decline.
And yes, I will get another!


On Apr 25, 2012, MrBeaker from Lathrop, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Mine has survived two winters in the ground. I'm in zone 9B, but last winter was exceptionally cold, and we hit 23F one night. It is usually one of the first bananas to come back. The leaves turn brown and drop, but that is to be expected from any banana in this climate. The pseudo stem survives without any trouble here.


On Apr 18, 2010, hmbgerl from Folsom, CA wrote:

California Zone 9 - We bought ours in the summer of 2009 and it flourished even in our hot summer months. Then in Winter, after a few days of harsh frost, the leaves became burnt and brown. The ground was also pretty wet from continuous rain and even with amended soil, the clay-like substrate retained lots of water. We read online that you can completely pull the banana plant from the ground, and "overwinter" it in a crawl space or garage. So, we dug ours up & kept ours without soil, water, and sunlight until no chance of frost. Upon the return of warm days (mid-March) we replanted it. Two new leaves have emerged already and it seems to be doing well.


On Aug 16, 2009, zillabug from Cato, NY wrote:

A very easy to grow tropical. Japanese Beetles love to munch on the leaf tips. It is a 'Mite Magnet' in the greenhouse. Reacts very well to steady food and water during warm temperatures- we water 2-5 gallons daily at 100 ppm 15-5-5. Does well in containers, the bigger the better, does very well in the ground. We cut ours down to 12'' above the ground, dig up and put in nursery containers prior to the first frost, and leave in a 64 degree greenhouse until mid May. The root system is minimal, it is just a large 'bulb'. The new leaves start to appear from the stump in a month or so after cutting. The growth really starts to takes off in February, when the daylight hours begin to get longer. Plant in a protected area because a moderate wind can rip the leaves. We have had second (and 3rd, 4th... read more


On Nov 27, 2007, albey30 from Christchurch,
New Zealand (Zone 9a) wrote:

I used to have this plant, and are getting another 3 very soon, as it is just starting to get into summer here. The plants leaves will die back as soon as the temperature drops to zero degrees celcius ( 32 F ). As is the case with most bananas, but will grow back in the spring. I dont know what the ultimate low temperature is before the plant dies ??? But I live in ( ZONE 9a - 9b ) in New Zealand and the plant survives right through winter outside and sprouts up again in the spring.


On Aug 31, 2006, wallaby1 from Lincoln,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

Although I have not had this plant for long, the quick growth and deep colouring of the leaves make it a desirable plant to own.

I will bring this inside when colder weather arrives. In answer to those who are perplexed by it's cold hardiness, most musas or ensete stop growing once below a certain temperature, I have read 56F.

Musas and Ensetes often will not lose their stem if kept frost free but leaves will wither, I kept an Ensete ventricosum inside last winter and it started to regrow in spring, with older leaves dying back gradually. The room temperature was not less than 59F (15C), mostly a little above.

Ensete Maurelli is said to be quite hardy, I know of a grower of tropicals here that kept his in a polytunnel for the first winter a... read more


On Jan 19, 2006, koolkatken from Auckland,
New Zealand wrote:

I have this in my garden in Auckland NZ. It grows pretty big and is pretty. BUT, I don't quite think it is as hardy as listed here. Last winter we had a night where it was about 38-39F and all the leaves got brown spots and began to die. It warmed up again and quickly recovered, but a long time of below freezing? Don't know...


On Feb 15, 2004, kviolette from Raleigh, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Last fall I purchased an Ensete maurelii and plan to put it out into my Raleigh, NC garden in the spring. My understanding from other websites (including Plant Delights Nursery) is that this plant is hardy to Zone 8 and so is more cold tolerant than is listed here. I will find out more before leaving it in the ground next winter - does anyone out there have any experience?