Sun exposure:
Full shade
South facing, west facing
Position in border:


Prefers rich soil:
Acidic / Chalky / Alkaline / Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

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

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 quickly produce new growth in spring.

In the UK, when temperatures warm in spring, Musa basjoo will grow quickly to produce large, exotic leaves and will thrive with regular watering and feeding to sustain this growth. It looks brilliant in a sub-tropical border with plants like hedychiums, hardy scheffleras and persicarias. Musa basjoo does sometimes produce bananas but they are not edible.

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. You an also grow Musa basjoo in a pot, either as a house plant or on the patio. Bear in mind that it won't reach the same height as if grown in the ground, unless you use a huge pot.

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.

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

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Advice on buying Japanese banana

  • Musa basjoo thrives in good light away from direct sunlight. Ensure you have the right growing conditions before buying
  • You may find a Japanese banana at your local garden centre but you'll find more choice online
  • Always check plants for signs of disease or damage before buying

Where to buy Japanese banana

Plant calendar


Musa and wildlife

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

Is Musa poisonous?

Musa has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Musa basjoo