If you’re looking for an entirely eco-friendly green air purifier to complement your healthy lifestyle, the banana tree is your ideal companion.
This magnificent houseplant’s structure alone is a feat of natural engineering. The stems of the banana tree (the official name is Musa) are crisscrossed to create an exciting pseudo-trunk from which new leaves emerge. The enormous green leaves are in a spiral, and fan out beautifully. The indoor version of the banana tree is a stately, impressive vision with a fantastic indoor plantation feel and enormous decorative value.
The banana tree’s leaves are marked with fine lines, giving it a dynamic look. But this houseplant therefore fits perfectly into the new interior style in which the focus is on energy, vitality and freshness. To emphasise that effect, provide the plant with a base with a smooth, geometric look and a hint of luxury, such as marble or glass with 3D effects. The banana tree looks best if it can shine on its own, so that the large leaves stand out even more.
Thanks to its large leaves, the banana tree also contributes to an active lifestyle as a personal oxygen factory and air purifier. You’ll need some patience if you want fruit though: it takes a banana tree three to four years to flower, and it will only do that with sufficient light, plenty of heat and the space to develop a bunch of bananas. But even if it doesn’t flower, that’s no problem: you’ll still have a fantastic, exotic houseplant all year round.
Caring for the banana tree
- In terms of position, the banana tree can tolerate anything from lots of light to partial shade.
- The soil should always be a bit damp – this houseplant likes a drink.
- Banana trees love to be sprayed from time to time.
- Because it grows rapidly, the banana tree could do with some plant food once a week.
From East to West
The banana originates from East Asia, and has spread from there across the rest of the world in countries around the equator. The earliest cultivation by humans dates from around 8000 B.C., in the Kuk valley in New Guinea. Alexander the Great is said to have brought the plants to the West from India. Banana trees were initially used in plantations to protect coffee, cocoa and pepper plants from the bright sun – thanks to their big leaves – and were only later appreciated for their fruit.
Banana tree trivia
- The banana is the largest herbaceous plant in the world.
- The name ‘banana’ is derived from the Guinean word ‘banema’ which was corrupted to ‘banana’ in the 17th century. The scientific name Musa is derived from the Arabic word ‘Mauz’, which in turn comes from ‘Muz’, the old Persian name for the fruit.
- In the wild the banana tree can produce fruit for a hundred years.
- Although many people think that Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden after eating an apple, the original text actually refers to ‘fruit’. Theologians think that it was more likely to have been a banana: easier to pick, and if you quickly want to cover your nudity, a large banana leaf is much more useful than the leaves of a fig or apple tree.
Houseplant of the month
The banana tree is the Houseplant for April 2017. The ‘Houseplant of the Month’ is an initiative from the Flower Council of Holland. Every month the Flower Council works with representatives of the floriculture sector to choose a plant which is particularly popular with consumers or is not (yet) well-known, but does have the potential to do well in the living room.
For more information see: www.thejoyofplants.co.uk
Houseplant for April 2017: banana tree.