Growing Florida Banana Trees as Ornamentals

Growing Florida banana trees might drive you bananas if you select a non-dwarf variety. Regular-size species can grow incredibly large, plus their root mats can reach up to five feet deep, posing problems to nearby plants.

So why not choose an ornamental variety instead? Ornamental dwarf cultivars will grow only four to 12 feet and look wonderful in your Florida garden. Many of these “don’t banana,” at least with bananas you’d want to slice and put on your morning cornflakes. But the look of their lush tropical foliage more than makes up for it.

Black Thai bananas

So keep your eyes peeled for dwarf varieties, starting with the Black Thai, or Musa balbisiana. These bananas taste lousy but their sleek black trunks look amazing. There’s also the red banana, the pink velvet banana, the Cuban red and others. Like the Black Thai, they’re grown more often for their flowers.

The Dwarf Cavendish, or Musacuminata

Still, don’t give up just quite yet on finding something small but edible. There IS one plant that produces tasty bananas and doesn’t take the space that a full-size tree requires. And that’s the Dwarf Cavendish, or Musa acuminata. It’s also known as the ladyfinger banana. It’s much more manageable than the taller species that grows up to 20 feet. And you can fill up your fruit bowl with these sweet-tasting bananas all day long.

If you’re longing for a mini tropical-jungle look in your own backyard, think about growing Florida banana trees that are classified as dwarf ornamentals. Need some help? ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design can assist you with a full renovation created by one of our award-winning designers. Contact Jenni Lassen at 941.488.8897 or We’ll be happy to get you on our schedule and create a look you’ll love. ArtisTree proudly serves Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties.

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