How to Grow and Care for Your Banana Leaf Plant (2024 Guide)

Reviewed by Sabrina Lopez | August 23, 2022

Banana plant pot in the red coral color living room with raw concrete wall background. Interior and Architecture concept. 3D illustration rendering

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If you’re searching for a statement-making potted plant to enhance your home decor, look no further than the banana leaf plant. With large green leaves and a hardy nature suitable for most warm climates and growing conditions, the banana tree is a popular choice among homeowners looking for practical tropical plants.

 


 

Courtesy Amazon

9GreenBox Musa Banana Basjoo Tree

$9.99

This hardy banana tree can grow up to 18 inches tall and features large green leaves that will stand out in any indoor garden. These types of banana leaf plants work best in warm conditions, but can survive in areas that get snow down to Zone 5.

$9.99 On Amazon

 

Fast Facts on Banana Leaf Plants

Common nameBanana leaf plant, banana leaf tree

Plant family

Musaceae

Native climate

Southeast Asia, Australia, Africa

Light level

Requires full, direct sunlight

Average mature height (indoor)

6 to 8 feet when cultivated indoors

Soil type

Rich, moist soil; drainage hole or holes often required to maintain moisture level

Frequency of watering

Daily

Toxicity

Nontoxic to both cats and dogs

Ideal humidity level

50% or higher

Common variations

Hardy banana (Musa basjoo), Dwarf Cavendish (Musa acuminata)

 


 

How to Grow a Banana Leaf Plant Indoors

Like most indoor plants, the banana leaf plant requires controlled temperatures and humidity levels to mimic the climates where the plant grows naturally. Use the following plant care tips to keep your banana leaf plant growing healthy.

Fertilizing

You can help cultivate your plant by mulching during its growing season, which typically lasts throughout the spring and summer. Dilute any organic mulch or fertilizer you’re using to half strength and introduce the mixture to the topsoil of the plant every week. If you’re growing a dwarf banana tree or another miniature variant, feed the plant only once a month. 

Lighting

While the large leaves of a banana plant can make it look almost plastic, it’s important to remember that this houseplant originates in the tropics and requires full sun and water to thrive.

When placing your banana tree plant, choose an area where the plant will receive direct sunlight. Unlike other plants known for their beautiful leaves (like the fiddle leaf fig), you won’t need to worry about overexposing it to sunlight in your bedroom or living room. Most species of banana leaf plants thrive when they receive six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. However, some species may have more fragile leaves, which do better in indirect sunlight or a shaded area.

Soil

Banana leaf plants grow best in rich, deep soil. Look for a potting mix that advertises a low soil salt content, as these plants do not tend to tolerate soil mixtures with high salt contents.

Temperature

The banana leaf plant is native to areas where the temperature is hot and humidity levels are high year-round. Most species of banana leaf plant will thrive when left in an environment with a consistent temperature between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Watering

Banana leaf plants are native to areas like Southeast Asia, which are known for their rainy and dry seasons. Most species of banana leaf plant will require you to water them at least once a day. As you water your plant, make sure to saturate the soil, but allow the plant’s soil to dry out before replacing it or replanting it into a new plant pot. You’ll notice your plant drinks much more water during the growing season, so be more vigilant about watering it when the temperature rises.  

You may want to use a humidifier near your plant to improve greenery growth. You can also improve your plant’s humidity by misting its palm leaves with water once a day.

 


 

How to Propagate Banana Leaf Plants

As your plant grows and matures, you’ll see small offshoots called pups forming on the base of your banana leaf plant. You can propagate your plant by removing these buds and potting them into a new plant using the following steps.

 


 

Common Issues with Banana Leaf Plants

While banana leaf plants are notoriously easy to take care of, it’s still a good idea to be aware of common illnesses and problems owners may encounter. The following are some of the most common issues you might experience when caring for banana leaf plants and how to remedy them.

Yellow Leaves

A banana plant’s signature leaves will begin to turn yellow when the plant is getting too much water. If you notice your leaves turning from green to yellow, check the soil to be sure it’s not waterlogged throughout the day and cut back on watering until the plant returns to its normal color. If you notice leaves turning brown or falling off, this is an indication your plant is not getting enough water.

Root Rot

Root rot is a fungal infection that affects a plant’s root system, causing it to shrivel or die. Root rot spreads in root systems that are constantly moist, so be sure you’re not overwatering your plant. When you repot or propagate a banana leaf plant, ensure you’re not allowing the plant’s root system to marinate in water.

Holes and Shriveled Leaves

Holes on your plant’s leaves and shriveled leaves are two of the most common signs of pest infestations. Nematodes, black weevils, and aphids are all common insects that feed on the leaves and sap of the banana leaf plant. Be sure to contact a professional pest inspection company if you think pests are the culprit behind your dying plant.

 


 

Our Recommendation

Overall, the banana leaf plant can be a suitable option for new plant parents looking for a hardy alternative to artificial plants that doesn’t require much care but adds a beautiful natural touch. If you live in an area that enjoys high temperatures and unobstructed sunlight, you’ll have an easy time caring for your plant. 

Although banana leaf plants require plenty of water, you’ll want to avoid allowing the plant to sit in a wet pot to stave off root rot and other illnesses. To improvise humidity, use a portable humidifier near the plant or spritz the plant with room temperature water once daily.

 


 

Banana Leaf Plant FAQ

What are the differences between a banana leaf plant and a banana tree?

Though banana leaf plants are colloquially referred to as “indoor banana trees,” you’re not likely to find a plantain growing on your indoor banana plant. Unlike banana trees, the stalk of banana leaf plants is not made of wooden, pulpy material. Instead, layers of cells make up the leaves and stalk of the plant and eventually die out and return to the earth. However, banana leaf plants are classified as herbaceous perennials, meaning they live for many years.

How much sun does a banana leaf plant need?

Like the bird of paradise plant, banana leaf plants thrive when they have access to plenty of sunlight. Most variations of the plant will need at least six hours of full sunlight a day. However, some variations of banana leaf plants may require a portion of their sun time to be in a shaded area, as full sun may burn the plant’s leaves. If you live in an area known for sunny weather, you might want to bring your plant outside when it’s warm to maximize its time in direct sun. 

What does a banana leaf plant need to grow?

A banana leaf plant requires direct sunlight and a potting mix with a low salt content to grow.  It also needs lots of water, but owners should be careful not to overwater the plant, as this can lead to root rot.