With its vast, dual-colored leaves and elegant presence, the rare variegated banana plant is a beautiful specimen that deserves pride of place in any home.
Since they are so rare, it can be hard to find out how to take care of these beautiful plants but don’t worry; we are here to help!
Today, we are going to get into a complete guide on how to care for your variegated banana plant, from light, soil, and watering to temperature and propagation.
By the end of this article, you will be a variegated banana plant pro whether you decide to grow them indoors or in the garden.
What is a Variegated Banana Plant?
Now that you have a new variegated banana plant in your collection, you need to get to know it a little better so you can care for it appropriately.
|Variegated Banana Plant|
|Species||Musa x paradisiaca ‘Ae Ae’|
Variegated banana plants are tropical, perennial plant that is native to the islands of Hawaii.
This special banana plant can be identified by its large white and green striped leaves; the variegations that give this species its name.
The leaves grow from a pseudostem, which is actually made up of tightly packed leaf sheathes that are just waiting to burst out.
These gorgeous plants are known for their incredible ornamental quality and can be grown indoors and outside. They will grow just as well in a pot or container as they will in the ground.
If grown outdoors, these plants can grow up to 15ft in height, but they will remain smaller inside, especially if you keep them in the same pot.
Although they are hardy plants, variegated bananas prefer to grow in sheltered areas, so they are protected from strong wind.
How to Care for a Variegated Banana Plant
Right, now that we are more closely acquainted with the variegated banana plant, we can get into the care guide.
Here is everything you need to know to care for your variegated banana plant:
Since variegated banana plants are native to tropical regions, light and temperature are very important factors to get right when growing them.
When it comes to light, they enjoy semi-shade to full sun. However, when they are exposed to long periods of sun, it should not get so hot that it scorches the leaves. If this happens, they need to be moved to a more shady zone of your house or garden.
Keep in mind that too much sun will also cause the variegation to turn brown.
Now, when we look at temperature, there’s a little more to consider. Banana plants enjoy very hot and humid weather, so if you live in a cold climate we suggest growing these inside or bringing them inside during the colder months.
We only suggest planting them in the ground if you live in a hot climate with mild winters.
The ideal temperature for a variegated banana plant is 67 F during the night and in the 80s during the day.
One thing you can say about banana plants is that they are thirsty plants!
Variegated banana plants love a good water and soil that is on the moist side. However, it is important not to overwater your banana plant as it can be prone to root rot.
You need to find that perfect balance between moist but not waterlogged soil. We suggest waiting until you see the leaves start to drop slightly before watering again, but you can also check the soil with your finger to see if it has dried out.
Since they enjoy humidity so much, we recommend regularly misting the leaves.
As we can see from the watering needs, variegated banana plants love moist soil.
However, they don’t enjoy sitting in waterlogged soil, so it is vital that it is also well-draining. We suggest using fertile, loamy soil aerated with some perlite and placing your plant in a pot with a drainage hole if you are growing them in pots.
We recommend mulching around the plant to keep the soil moist if you have them planted outside.
Once you have established one of these gorgeous plants, it’s only natural that you will want to propagate them. Luckily, banana plants make this very easy.
A mother plant of any size will eventually produce pups, which are little baby banana plants. All you need to do is trim these off with pruning shears and plant them in a small pot so they can take root.
Ensure that you use an appropriately sized pot with a drainage hole and well-draining, aerated soil to give your pup the best chance of survival.
It really is as simple as that!
We’ve already mentioned that banana plants are thirsty creatures, but they are also very hungry creatures!
While some plants will not tolerate heavy fertilizing, banana plants absolutely love it! We suggest fertilizing every time you water using bone meal, worm tea, or whatever fertilizer you prefer.
Fertilizer is especially important for these plants after they have established their root system.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does a variegated banana plant bear fruit?
Most fruiting trees will usually only fruit outdoors where they can grow to their full potential, but banana plants are not that fussy.
If you get the conditions perfect, your variegated banana plant should fruit inside or out.
The bananas will grow with unique variegated bananas that look similar to the leaves. Their flesh is firmer than regular bananas and is better enjoyed when cooked so the flesh can soften, kind of like a plantain.
Are variegated banana plants illegal?
No, this is a misconception due to an event that occurred in 2021.
Some banana plant parts that came from the Philippines were banned from being exported to the United States to prevent the spread of specific diseases for a short period of time. That ban is lifted now.
However, they are highly controlled in Australia and can only be traded if you have a specific permit.
As with most plants, if you know a few handy tips and tricks, then taking care of your variegated banana plant should be simple.
The key elements to take away are that variegated banana plants thrive in semi-shaded areas with plenty of water and fertilizer. If you get those elements right, you will be rewarded with incredible striped leaves and funky fruit all year round.
We hope this guide has given you everything you need to know about this wonderful plant so you can take care of it like a professional.