Houseplant of the Month: Banana Tree


The Banana Tree, dwarf banana or Musa…whatever we want to call it, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it is a child re-born in the 1980s.  I can’t find it in any of my books* from 1910 until 1979, and then it re-appears as bold and beautiful as ever.

Here in 1984, “In the pale creamy Knightbridge drawing room, the window area is dominated by a robust banana tree.”


The Essential Guide to Perfect Houseplants (Seddon, Bicknell and Dickson).

Although ‘robust’ and ‘statuesque’, the leaves of all Musa species are delicate and easily torn.  It is considered a little fussy and fast growing.  Even the ‘Dwarf Cavendish’ can reach 2m!

First introduced from China in 1829, Banana trees were favoured by the Victorians who grew them in their tropical plant houses.  They are named after Antonius Musa, doctor to Octavius Augustus, the first emperor of Rome (62-14 BC) – and have been cultivated since the Roman legionnaires brought them back from the tropics (Longman, 1979).

Find out more care and styling tips at Joy of Plants – it’s plant of the month for April.


*Or am I missing a name change??