Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Yes, We Have No Bananas
Large leafy plants unquestionably feel exotic and shout "tropical-ness" in a lush, islandy sort of way. Every garden should have them... somewhere even if it means placing them in a container.
Happenstance would be the best way to describe the way I acquired my first two banana trees.
It was one of those typical extremely hot and steamy August days in Florida. I was shopping at my favorite garden center. The Ensete 'Maurelii' red banana trees were packed in tightly with an odd assortment of sale plants that had seen better days. I bought them each for $5. A great deal considering how well they've performed.
The area of the garden now fondly referred to as the tropical pathway was in its earliest stages of creation. You can read my 2009 how-to create a tropical pathway blog post here for an indepth look.
Ensetes are strictly ornamental and don't produce any real fruit. [Thus, the corny title to this post.] It is their deep red coloration that attracted me to them in the first place.
Both Ensete bananas are happily living at the edges of the oak tree canopy where they receive a goodly portion of filtered sunlight for most of the day. Other than having to stake them with rebar to keep them upright they receive no special attention. In winter they usually slow their growth but this year they hardly noticed it was winter. That's because winter hardly acted like winter.
Sticking with the ornamental variety of bananas I've added several 'Siam Ruby' banana trees since 2009. This one reaches only a height of about 8'. Again, it is the blotchy red on the large green leaves that helps this one blend in with the rest of the garden.
Update edit: A kind reader reminded me the banana pictured above is actually a Musa Zebrina banana. Also an ornamental without fruit. I have added 'Siam Ruby' starts to the back garden which is a brighter red with bits of lime green foliage.
Which banana trees are you growing?