You may not think of the banana plant as a houseplant and rightfully so — this plant requires full sun and tropical climate.
But what if you don’t live in an area where the banana plant would survive outdoors? Can you grow the banana plant indoors?
Many have grown this plant indoors successfully and now you can too if you follow my tips and advice that I discuss below.
Can Banana Plants Survive Indoors?
A banana plant can survive indoors if you’re willing to look after it. It can be challenging, especially if your home is cooler and light is scarce.
These plants need a fair amount of light, quite a bit of feeding, humidity and frequent watering. If you’re up for the task and understand your plant’s needs, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try your hand at growing the banana plant indoors.
Its large foliage with wavy edges and upright growth will give your home an authentic exotic vibe that’s hard to come by.
Growing and Caring for Banana Plant Indoors
In this section, I’m going to discuss the conditions you should provide your banana plant when you’re growing it indoors.
These plants thrive in full sun, but not all varieties. Some variegated ones will prefer semi-shade or dappled sun. The Musa oriana variety is better equipped to handle indoor environments, yet it still needs about 12 hours of bright sunlight per day.
Varieties that grow better in dappled sunlight will exhibit signs of scorching if they’re exposed to too much direct sun and get too hot.
For most varieties of banana plants, full sun works best, so place them close to a sunny window.
You need to keep the soil evenly moist for your banana plant. This is a thirsty plant that requires frequent watering and humidity.
This is not to say that the soil should constantly be soggy, only that it should not be allowed to dry out completely.
Overwatering can be a problem for this plant too, so avoid it by checking the moisture level of the soil. If it’s starting to feel a bit dry, water it.
To prevent issues associated with overwatering but also to provide good aeration to the roots, the banana plant requires well draining soil that’s also rich in humus. The plant enjoys slightly acidic soil (aim for a ph somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5).
– Temperature & Humidity
A humid environment with consistent temperature between 75 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit is required for the banana plant. This means that any banana plants kept outdoors need to be winterized indoors.
If temperatures are consistently slightly lower than the recommended 75 F, your plant’s growth will slow down remarkably. When exposed to cold temperatures, the plant will die back.
Banana plants are heavy feeders that require regular monthly feedings with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Pots that you use for growing banana plants should be at least 15 gallons in volume. As the plant grows, it needs larger containers to accommodate its roots and sustain healthy growth.
Repotting is required every 3 years at which point, it’s also a good idea to divide the plant, which is also the best way to propagate a banana plant.
How Fast do Banana Plants Grow Indoors?
If conditions are optimal, the banana plant can grow quickly. Dwarf varieties like the ‘Truly Tiny’ will quickly achieve their mature height of 1.5 feet, while larger varieties will take more.
As I mentioned, lack of adequate lighting can slow down the growth rate. Likewise, temperature fluctuations or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause the plant to die back, which will also interfere with its growth rate.
How Often to Water Banana Plant Indoors?
It’s difficult to point to an exact number of times you will need to water your banana plant. This is an assessment you’ll need to make yourself.
Temperature, humidity, lighting conditions and the plant’s growth rate will all have a say in the plant’s water uptake.
One thing’s certain — during the growing stage, the banana plant needs a lot of water to ensure evenly moist soil. Moist soil does not equal soggy soil, so it’s important you know the difference.
Water your banana plant when the soil is just about starting to dry out. Don’t allow the soil to completely dry out nor should you allow the roots to sit in water.
Therefore, depending on size and environmental factors, you may end up watering your banana plant weekly or every 2-3 days, or even daily during its rapid growth phase.
When to Bring Banana Plant Indoors?
If your banana plant is spending its summer outdoors as fall approaches you need to take it inside and keep it indoors during winter.
This is important because this isn’t a cold tolerant plant. Exposed to cold, tissue damage quickly sets in and you risk killing off your plant.
Remember, the banana plant requires temperatures above 75 F, so I make it a point to move the banana plant inside as soon as temperatures fall below 60 F during the night.
In my area this usually happens in early September, so my banana plant will spend not only all of winter indoors, but most of autumn as well.
There are some banana plant varieties that are said to be hardy, like the Musa basjoo, and can survive several hours of frost if it’s under a thick layer of mulch. But if winters are frosty in your area, you can’t keep this outdoors either.
Growing banana plants indoors is possible when there’s adequate light, warmth and humidity. The plant can develop fast and achieve impressive heights unless you get one of the dwarf varieties that are certainly easier to manage indoors.
Even though the banana plant will grow beautifully indoors, it’s unlikely to develop fruits that you can harvest. Still, a beautifully grown banana plant will fill any bright corner with luxuriously green foliage and will be a conversation starter for anyone who sets their eyes on it.