Humans have been in love with bananas for a long time! Even though they’re shown in Egyptian hieroglyphs, evidence points that they originate from the jungles of Southeast Asia (in 8,000 BC)!
Harvest from Year 2+ on.
Equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].
Intermediate. You’ll transplant, prune, and harvest.
Best Banana varieties to grow inside.
Some banana varieties grow a bit too tall indoors, but some are perfect to be grown at home. We’ve listed them below for you:
Compact and quick growing but easy to care for. Small enough to fit perfectly indoors
Esteemed for their sweetness and can be used in the same way as the standard Cavendish.
Best Setup for Banana Plants
A pot that is at least 12″ / 5 gal, though there is some flexibility. The plant will grow in proportion to its planter – so size is based on how tall you want your plant to grow.
Standard Potting Mix
Balanced Blend. This should be equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10).
A strong grow light that can give the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sun [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day].
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Starting your Banana: Seed vs Propagate
A banana that’s grown to eat is usually started with a live plant or cutting. This is because plants grown from seeds will grow as “wild types” – meaning they won’t produce the same fruit they came from (think of crab apples!).
Why you shouldn’t start Banana from seed
If you grow a Banana from seed, it won’t grow “true to type” meaning the fruit you will get will be a weird cross between the many different varieties – and chances are it won’t taste very good. This is why Coffee seeds arent really available
How to Transplant Banana
Live starter plants give you a big jump start on your first harvest. When you’re in a garden center – pick the bushiest plant available (tall and lanky ones will be weak growers) and give it a good inspection for pests. Leaves should be dark green without holes, spots, or curled edges. A best practice is to actually “quarantine” your plant for about a week after bringing it home to make sure it’s free and clear of ride-on pests.
Ensuring its pest and disease-free it’s time to transplant your seedling into its final home.
- Remove some soil from its final planter – leaving enough space for the bottom of the seedling to be just higher than the soil surface.
- Hold on to the base of the stem with one hand, and turn the pot over while gently pulling the seedling. Giving the pot a few squeezes can help dislodge it.
- Place in its final container and fill around it with soil so that it’s tight, but not compacted.
Where to grow your Banana plants
Like all edible plants, Banana plants need lots of light to grow and develop good flavor. Sunlight is excellent for plant growth (and free!) and you might be lucky enough to have a spot that’s got the 5+ hours of direct sun they need. Even with a bright window, it’s unlikely that you’ll have enough natural light in the winter so we recommend a grow light for anyone who wants a constant supply of flavorful produce. For an introduction to grow lights, head over to our post on grow lights for indoor gardeners. We’ve also got a buying guide for screw in types, but to keep things simple in this guide, we’ll just provide directions for the 24W Screw in Bulb by Sansi, which we think is a good middle-of-the-road option.
How bright should your grow light be?
Banana plants need the equivalent of 5+ hours of direct sunlight [DLI of 15+ mol/m²/day] to grow their best. In order to provide an equivalent amount with a grow light, it needs to be pretty bright! The 24W Sansi bulb should be placed 6 inches away from the top of the plant. This will give your PPFD (the standard measure of brightness) of 500 μmol/m²/s.
How many hours per day do your Banana plants need under a grow light?
Banana plants are what’s known as “day-neutral” so can grow under a range of daylight lengths. In order for them to get enough light, we recommend setting up a timer to leave it on for 10+ hours per day.
Banana Plants Grow Faster in Warmer Temps
Banana plants are native to tropical regions and like lots of heat, classifying them as “warm weather crops”. Sunnier and south-facing windows help keep things warmer – ideally 80°F but anything between 60 and 90°F is fine.
Year 2+: How to Pollinate Your Banana Flowers
Banana trees are self-fruitful, so there is no need to pollinate the flowers. You can actually cut the flower stalk off just below the bunch of developing bananas once it’s no longer nice looking. After the flowers form, it generally takes 3 to 5 months for Bananas to reach full size.
Year 2+: How to Harvest Bananas
Bananas are ready to pick when they’re rounded between the ribs, the peel is soft, the color changes from dark green to light green to yellow. While they are typically picked at 75% ripe and left to ripen off the vine – it’s even tastier to let them fully ripen on the tree and just pick them off as you want.
Year 6+: End of Life
A banana tree can live for about 6 years, but after the fruit, they will appear to die – this is just the above-ground part and the roots will soon send up another stalk.
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The right supplies can take the guesswork out of caring for your plants – and turn care from a daily to weekly routine. Through our grow tests, we’ve found these products to produce the best indoor Banana (and also have simple maintenance). Plants are adaptable and can grow in many different conditions, so they are by no means necessary if you already have other supplies.
Best Containers for Banana: Ceramic Self Watering Planters
Plants thrive on consistent moisture but can suffer if they’re waterlogged. A semi-porous ceramic self regulates ideal conditions. Our favorite is the COSWIP planter. Runner up is XS Self Watering Planter by Wet Pot.
Best Soil for Banana: Standard Potting Mix
Banana likes a rich and moist root zone – so you are best off with a standard potting mix – we like this Organic Mix by Espoma.
Best Nutrients for Banana: Balanced Blend
Banana likes nutrients that are equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (with NPK numbers like 10-10-10). For a Balanced Blend we recommend: Dr Earth All Purpose
Best Light for Banana: DIY or Soltech
There is a very small chance that you have the bright windows needed to grow these without a grow light. If you are looking for a higher-end option – we love the Aspect Light by Soltech. For a more affordable option, a DIY setup using a 24W Screw-in Bulb by Sansi with a Clamp Light and Mechanical Timer works well too. Check out our complete guide on a DIY setup for less than $40 or our buying guide for screw in bulbs.