Red Banana Tree

Some Interesting Facts About The Red Banana Tree



The red banana tree is known by many different names: blood banana, variegated blood banana, Musa Sumatrana and Rojo, to name some of the most common. But the red banana tree is unique and interesting no matter which name you choose to call it. Did you know that the red banana tree is not a tree at all? Rather than being woody, the "trunk" of the banana tree is actually a pseudostem, made of the rolled bases of the plant's leaves. The tall and sturdy banana plant is often mistaken for a tree, but is in fact a herbaceous plant. That's right - your red banana tree is actually an herb!

Native to Sumatra, Indonesia, the red banana tree is of the same genus as the banana tree which produces the common Cavendish banana, the yellow banana most commonly sold commercially. Despite being members of the same genus, the red banana tree is an ornamental plant. Its fruit, though not poisonous, is not generally considered edible. The red bananas that you may have seen for sale are actually the fruit of a different banana plant, and not produced by what is commonly known as the red banana tree. The red banana tree received its name not because of the fruit it produces, but because of the dark red markings on its otherwise green leaves.

As might be expected of a plant with tropical origins, the red banana tree does best when planted in full sun, or sun to partial shade. It can grow in United States planting zones 8-11. You can plant your red banana tree in neutral soil (pH of 6.6 to 7.5), or you can grow it in a container. If planted in the ground, you can expect your red banana plant to reach a height of 8 to 10 feet. If you would prefer a smaller plant, or don't have a suitable location to plant your Musa Sumatrana, it adapts well to being grown in a container and will only grow to be about 4 feet tall.

Banana trees can be grown from seed, but also reproduce and are propagated asexually. The banana plant produces offshoots that can be removed and transplanted to produce another banana plant. These offshoots, known as "suckers," can be found at the base of the plant's pseudostem. This is extremely important, as the pseudostem will die after it produces fruit, and will then be replaced by one of the sucker plants. Extra suckers can be planted elsewhere or potted. Growing the plant from seed can be more work, but certainly may be done. Wait until the banana fruit has ripened, and then remove, clean, and dry the seeds. The seed, which does not store well, should be sowed as soon as possible.

If you live in a colder climate, it is still possible to enjoy a touch of the tropics with a red banana tree. The plant can grow outdoors in the summer, and be moved inside during the winter. This works best if they are grown as container plants, but you can even plant them in the ground. If you plant them and do not have somewhere for them to grow indoors after the freeze, you can still save your plant and replant it in the spring. As winter approaches, watch for the plant's leaves to turn a brown-black color. At that point, cut off the top of the plant's stem and its leaves, and remove the roots from the ground. The roots and stem, devoid of leaves, can be wrapped in newspaper, covered in a plastic bag, and stored in a cool, moist and dark location until next spring.


 

 


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