Growing Bananas: How to Grow Banana Trees at Home

Information on how to grow bananas at home and banana tree care is given including tips for planting, watering, pests and diseases and harvesting. Follow the tips given below, you will have fruit growing on your new banana tree within a year of planting!

The banana plant is a perennial herb plant of tropical regions that replaces itself. Bananas grow from a bulb or rhizome but do not grow from a seed as some people think. Commercially available edible bananas do not produce mature seeds.

Continue reading below to learn all the details and tips on growing banana trees at home.

How to grow banana tree - Bananas Growing on tree
Bananas Growing on tree
Bananas can be grown at home in garden beds, pots and containers. Anyone can grow backyard bananas, but banana-growing in Australia is highly regulated and a permit is needed to plant or transplant a banana. Banana plants are susceptible to serious diseases and plants can only be bought from government approved, certified disease free sources.

Banana Tree Information

There are several cultivars of banana for the home garden. There are more than 500 varieties of banana plants in the world. The most common variety is Cavendish banana. These include "Lady Finger", "Dwarf Ducasse", "Pisang Ceylon" and "Bluggoe". "Bluggoe" is a plantain variety that is picked and cooked, similar to a potato, when it’s green.

Some varieties such as “Ice Cream”, “Orinoco” and “Bluggoe” produce large size bananas. The “Dwarf Cavendish” is an ideal for home gardeners because it produces who desire large fruit from a small plant.

Before starting to grow your banana plant, check with your local council about regulations governing backyard banana growing. There may be restrictions as banana growing in Australia specifically in Northern NSW and Queensland, needs a permit to plant or transplant a banana plant.

In USA, banana plants can be grown is USDA hardiness zones 9b through 11, and also in zones 8b and 9a, if the temperatures stay above freezing. In Australia, banana is grown in North and South Queensland, Northern NSW and Carnarvon in Western Australia.  I live in Sydney where the maximum temperature exceeds 35 ºC only on a few days, but the temperature in the night goes below 15 ºC in winter. I am growing my bananas in my backyard for the last 2 years with good yield.

Eating banana gives us many health benefits (health benefits of fruits, keep banana fresh longer). I started growing my banana plant two years ago. It was probably a sugar (Ducasse) banana plant.

Grow Bananas at Home and Banana Tree Care Guide

banana plant care is important right from the young to the fruiting stage.

Position : Where To Plant Banana Tree

  1. Bananas tree need a warm location with temperature ranging between 15 to 35 ºC throughout the year.
  2. Plant your banana tree where your garden receives the most sun, actually it needs 8 hours of direct, bright sunlight each day. However, you can still grow your banana plant if your yard  receives less direct sunlight.
  3. Banana plant can grow up to 25 ft in height, and need to plant 15 ft from other trees and shrubs, so keep this in mind when selecting the site. The dwarf banana tree varieties require less space, it can be grown in a pot and moved indoors during extreme cold weather.
  4. Can you grow a banana tree indoors? The answer is yes if you plant a Musa oriana banana plant and place it to receive enough light and water. An indoor banana tree makes an excellent indoor houseplant.

Soil For Banana Plant

  1. Banana plant does not grow in heavy soils such as normal potting soil. It needs a good loose rich soil with 20% perlite for drainage. Cactus soil is best for growing bananas.
  2. The banana plant needs a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Acidity higher than pH 7 can kill the plant.

How To Plant a Banana Tree

How to grow banana tree - Banana Shoots, Suckers & Pups, the mother plant was removed after harvesting the fruits.
Banana Shoots, Suckers & Pups.
The mother plant was removed
after harvesting the fruits.

How To Grow Banana Tree From Seeds

Can You Grow Bananas from Seed? Bananas that we get from market, usually Cavendish bananas are genetically modified to have three sets of genes instead of two and produce no seeds. As the store bought bananas do not contain any seeds, it is not possible to grow a banana tree from a banana. However, there are other banana varieties which contain seeds. To propagate these bananas from store bought banana seeds, the seeds are needed to be soaked in warm water for 1-2 days to soften their coat, enabling the embryo to sprout quickly. The seed will germinate in 2 to 3 months time depending on the variety of banana.

Generally, the bananas are not propagated from seeds, but from planting a pup from the mother plant.
  1. Take out a small shoot (pup) from the base of a banana plant known as banana sucker, attached to the mother plant from your friends house or buy from your local nursery.
  2. Remove the sucker with its attached roots by cutting downward with a clean shovel.
  3. Remove almost all the roots keeping about 4-5 cm of the roots.
  4. Remove any leaves in excess of 4.
  5. Dig a hole of 30 cm wide and 30 cm deep. Fill the base of the hole about 2 inch high soil and plant the banana rhizome upright and fill it with the soil, covering well all the roots.
  6. Sprinkle some fertilizer around the banana tree trunk, at least 6 inches away from the trunk.
  7. Spread cow manure and then a 2-3 inch layer of compost (composting for beginners at home). Water well.

How To care For Banana Tree


The banana plant is a heavy feeder. Use a fertilizer high in potassium to feed the tree (banana tree fertilizer).

Watering Banana Plant

  1. Banana plant requires a lot of water but avoid over-watering. Over-watering can cause the roots to rot, while under-watering can cause the plant to die.
  2. Water your plant only if your finger feels that the top 2–3 cm of soil is dry.
  3. Always water deeply. Also sprinkle on the leaves to increase the humidity level around the plant.
  4. If growing in a pot, place the pot on a tray of gravel and water to maintain the proper humidity level.
Other Tips For Banana Plant
  1. Keep the banana plant clean. Remove dead leaves on the plant.
  2. Remove the banana plants from the ground level after you have removed all the fruits from the tree.
  3. Remove any weeds that are growing. These can compete with the banana plant.
  4. When the plant has grown several suckers, I remove all but one. This improves the plant growth and produces more fruits. The one sucker that I leave, becomes the adult plant for the next season. That way I am growing more than 200 bananas every year.
  5. If you only keep one large plant, one half grown and one sucker, you will get larger bananas.
  6. You can grow your banana tree in a container also.
How to grow banana tree - Banana Flower
Petals Opening Reveal Tiny Banana Hands
How to grow banana tree - Banana Flower Male Part
Banana Tree Flower Male Part

Banana Plant Pests & Diseases

  1. The banana fruit can be attacked by pests including red rust thrips, flower thrips and scarring weevil.
  2. The banana plant can have diseases including bacterial wilt, blackhead, black leaf streak, fusarium wilt, banana bunchy top and root rot.
  3. The banana plant can be infested by pests including banana aphid, mealy bugs, banana weevil borer and corn weevil. The banana weevil borer is a small, white insect that enters into the stems and causes rotting. Young leaves may often wilt and fruit production may be reduced dramatically.
  4. Good hygiene is essential for prevention of the pests. Remove old leaves from the base of the plant.

Banana Fruit Formation

When the banana tree will produce fruits?
  1. When the banana plant is about 7-12 months old, it will produce a purple flower. Some varieties of banana plants produce edible banana flowers. (Banana tree not flowering)
  2. Before forming the bud, you will see a new small leaf, instead of usual long leaf. The bud will form in a few days after the small leaf growth.
  3. The banana tree flower contains both the male and female parts.
  4. In a few days, the petals will start opening one-by-one revealing tiny banana bunches, each bunch is known as hand and each individual banana, a finger.
  5. In about 2-3 weeks times, the formation of banana hands will stop and the remaining flower left is the sterile male portions of the bud, called as the banana heart.
  6. I remove the male portion of the bud to encourage the plant to put more energy into growing fruit.
  7. You can put a supporting stick underneath the banana bunch to prevent it to falling down.

Ripening the Bananas on the Tree

  1. Now that the bananas have formed on the plant, leave them to grow bigger.
  2. I cover and tie a cloth, an old bed sheet around the bunch to protect the fruit from insects and birds, keeping both ends open to allow air flow.

Harvesting Bananas

You may be wanting to know how long it would take to grow bananas on the tree. The time between planting a banana plant and the harvest of the banana bunch is from 9 to 12 months. The flower (bud) appears in 6-7 months.
  1. It should be pointed out that never try to fully ripen your bananas on the tree. Bananas left to ripen on trees will split. Once I was out of country for a few months, my whole bunch of bananas got spoiled due to splitting. So the bananas must be removed prior to ripening on the tree.
  2. I harvest some of the bananas when they are still unripe to give them to my friends who cook them as vegetables.
  3. The rest of them, I harvest them when they are about to change color to yellow. At this point, the small black flower at the tip of each banana become dry and can be easily rub off.
  4. I pick the bananas every second or third day, so I get enough fruit to consume. To harvest bananas, I climb on a small ladder and cut off a hand or two with knife.
  5. When the birds and the flying foxes start visiting my banana tree, I know it is time to pick them.
My organic bananas have a smoother texture with thin skin and are short and thick; thicker than lady finger bananas and shorter than Cavendish bananas. They are very sweet compared to store bought bananas. They taste really very good!

Once established, bananas will keep producing fruit for many many years, although the roots of the plants that have already produced fruits in the garden area are needed to dig and take out so that the area can be used to grow something else. This is a difficult task for the home Gardner.

You should note that a banana tree will only flower once and bear fruit one time.
So after you harvest, cut down the tree to the ground. In Australia, some garden shops sell banana trees that produce 2 flowers.

Is banana a tree or herb?

The banana plant is often called a banana tree, but actually it is a herb (herbaceous plant). Its stem does not contain true woody tissue, so it is not a tree.

Video of Growing a banana tree at home

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  1. Going Bananas, http://www.chem.ucla.edu/~alice/explorations/write/wbananas.htm
  2. California Rare Fruit Growers: Banana