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What is a Dwarf Banana?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The dwarf banana is a type of banana tree native to Southeast Asia that generally only reaches heights of about 4 feet (1.2 meters). The fruit produced by the dwarf trees tastes and looks very much like a typical banana, but it is only about half the size. Unlike regular banana trees, which can reach heights of more than 26 feet (7.92 meters), the smaller dwarf banana trees can easily be grown indoors.

The dwarf cavendish is the variety of banana most frequently found in supermarkets. Despite its name, it does grow to roughly 8 feet (2.44 meters), making it one of the tallest of the dwarf species. The super dwarf cavendish, much smaller than the regular dwarf cavendish, is considered to be one of the more popular varieties of dwarf bananas for home gardeners. The small stature of the plant and its superior fruit-bearing potential make it a good choice for the indoor growing. The fruit of the super dwarf cavendish is rich and sweet and offers a solid source of potassium.

Just like the typical banana tree, the dwarf banana needs warm temperatures. In cold climates, they should generally be grown indoors. On warm days, the pots could potentially be transferred outdoors, as long as care is taken to bring them inside if the temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). Under no circumstances should these plants be exposed to frost or freezing. In warm climates, dwarf banana plants can be grown outdoors, but should be planted in an area where they can get at least five hours of sun per day.

Proper watering of the dwarf banana is essential to a healthy plant. If they are watered too much, there can be damage to the root system. Too little watering or allowing the soil to get overly dry can cause serious damage to the plant. Most experts agree that the best approach is to keep the soil slightly moist at all times.

The dwarf banana grows much faster than most other plants and trees, and because of this, these plants need more fertilizer. For outdoor plants, water-soluble or organic fertilizer should be applied once per week during periods of elevated temperatures. During more temperate months, fertilizing can be reduced to once per month. Indoor plants grow much more slowly, so monthly fertilization is usually sufficient. Fertilizer should generally be distributed in a circle surrounding the plant and should never be allowed to touch the trunk.

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Discussion Comments
By medicchristy — On Oct 25, 2010

@alex94: They are really not very hard to grow. Many people use dwarf banana trees as an ornamental addition to their landscape. They are easily grown in large pots. It’s really not even a tree, just a plant. Banana plants do well in full sun but need a minimum of 4-5 hours of good light. When you are planting your dwarf banana, try to avoid the wind path because the leaves are very thin and tear very easily. Strong winds can even uproot the whole plant.

Winter care is particularly essential, especially in areas that get really cold. Dwarf bananas do not require a lot of pruning.

Overall, the plant is pretty pest resistant. However, you should watch for spider mites and root rot.

By alex94 — On Oct 25, 2010

Are the dwarf banana trees hard to grow?

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