Family: Musaceae

This genus of large, evergreen, suckering perennials is best known as the edible bananas, M. acuminata and M. x paradisiaca (see entry on Banana). Native to tropical Asia, Musa species have been cultivated for hundreds of years, some for leaf fiber, a few as ornamentals.


M. ornata, flowering banana, grows to about 3 m (10 ft) and has blue-green foliage. The yellow to orange flowers are enclosed in pink to purple, showy bracts and appear at various times of year. 'The fruits with black seeds are yellow to green in colour.

M. velutina, growing to around 1.5 m (5 ft), has mid-green leaves. Both the flowers and bracts are a mix of pale and deep pink. The fruits are rich pink on the outside, splitting to reveal black seeds. This is an attractive ornamental for warm climate gardens.


In frost-prone climates, grow in large pots or tubs or in a soil border in a cool or intermediate greenhouse or conservatory. Use soil-based potting compost for containers and provide bright light, but shade from strong sun. The plants can be stood outside for the summer. Outdoors, a warm, sheltered spot with moist, yet well-drained, deep, fertile soil is required. Propagate from suckers in spring.


Zone 10. M. velutina should survive in zone 9.

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Murraya      Muscari