Japanese or hardy banana, Musa basjoo

Musa basjoo

Hardy banana

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

  • Botanical name: Musa basjoo
  • Common name: Hardy banana
  • Family: Musaceae
  • Plant Type: Perennial, Evergreen
Flower colour:

White

Foliage colour:

Green

While commonly known as the Japanese or hardy banana, Musa basjoo is now thought to originate from the Sichuan province of China.

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Musa basjoo grows to the size of a small tree, so gardeners are often shocked when the foliage dies back when the first frosts arrive. This is nothing to worry about, though – think of it as an enormous herbaceous perennial that, in the UK climate, dies back in winter to the roots and will produce new growth in spring.

When temperatures warm in spring, Musa basjoo will grow quickly to produce large, exotic leaves and will appreciate regular watering and feeding to sustain this growth. It looks brilliant in a sub-tropical border with plants like hedychiums, hardy scheffleras and persicarias.

For best results, grow Musa basjoo in full sun or partial shade in moist, well-drained soil that has had lots of organic matter incorporated to boost fertility. While they are reputedly hardy down to -15ºC, they may require some winter protection in the form of a thick layer of protective mulch over the roots and a layer of horticultural fleece around the pseudostem. In milder locations and sheltered microclimates, you might be able to get away with no winter protection at all.

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Musa basjoo holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

How to grow Musa basjoo

  • Plant size

    5m height

    4m spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Position in border

    Back

  • Sun exposure: Full shade
  • Hardiness: Half hardy
  • Soil type: Acidic / chalky / alkaline / clay / heavy / moist / well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Sow
Sow

Do not Sow in January

Do not Sow in February

Do Sow in March

Do Sow in April

Do Sow in May

Do not Sow in June

Do not Sow in July

Do not Sow in August

Do Sow in September

Do Sow in October

Do not Sow in November

Do not Sow in December

Plant
Plant

Do not Plant in January

Do not Plant in February

Do not Plant in March

Do Plant in April

Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do not Plant in July

Do not Plant in August

Do not Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

Do not Plant in November

Do not Plant in December

Flowers
Flowers

Plant does not flower in January

Plant does not flower in February

Plant does not flower in March

Plant does not flower in April

Plant does not flower in May

Plant does not flower in June

Plant does flower in July

Plant does flower in August

Plant does not flower in September

Plant does not flower in October

Plant does not flower in November

Plant does not flower in December

Divide
Divide

Do not Divide in January

Do not Divide in February

Do Divide in March

Do Divide in April

Do not Divide in May

Do not Divide in June

Do not Divide in July

Do not Divide in August

Do not Divide in September

Do not Divide in October

Do not Divide in November

Do not Divide in December

Musa basjoo and wildlife

Musa basjoo has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Musa basjoo poisonous?

Musa basjoo has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Musa basjoo