Musa zebrina, or Blood Banana, is a tender evergreen perennial native to Indonesia. The colorful leaves are dark green with red splotches on the topside and wine red on the underside with a brownish midrib. They will reach from 8-10 foot (2.4-3 m) in height. They easy to culture and are hardy from USDA zones 8-11.
Blooming Time: The orange yellow to red flowers that are in large terminal spikes can appear at anytime of the year as long as the plant is mature enough. The fruit is orange and is not edible.
Culture: Musa zebrina need full sun to partial shade with a moist well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. To this mix we add a 9-3-27 slow release fertilizer at a rate of 1 cup per 0.01 cubic yards of soil mix. The plants should be kept moist but not overly wet. In containers, plants only reach about 4 feet (1.2 m) in height. During the winter months, water is somewhat restricted, but the plants are never allowed to dry thoroughly.
Propagation: Musa zebrina are propagated by the removal of offsets or from seed. The seed are about the size of a pea and should be sown as soon as they are ripe. Seeds sown at 70-75°F (21-24°C) are slow to germinate and can take up to several months to emerge.
Musa zebrina was featured as Plant of the Week July 30-August 5, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.