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Big Leaves for Exotic Effect



The Bananas - probably my favourite Exotic for a stunning effect, and easy to grow from banana seed (if you know how to break the natural seed dormancy), with plants to 4 in the first year if sown early! They have few rivals for subtropical effect with huge leaves gently waving in a soft breeze. Some varieties can be treated as bedding perennials if the root stocks are protected in winter with some sacking or other suitable material. (See the Winter Protection Tips Page on our Web Site.) Others are best grown as summer bedding with one or, at most, two years winter protection in a Conservatory or Greenhouse if you have the room! Dont forget to follow the special germination instructions on all of our Musa seed packets.

 

Ensete glaucum
Snow Banana
nS 

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A larger version of the Abyssinian Banana not so well known, sometimes called Musa nepalensis or Ensete giganteum, or Ensete wilsonii. It grows in China up to 2600-8800ft, Nepal, India, Burma, and Thailand. It has a thick, waxy and blue, solitary trunk with huge bluish leaves up to 10ft/3m long. An extremely fast growing banana given heat, but after trials it has proven not to be so hardy as the Abyssinian Banana. (I have had a Ventricosum survive unprotected out of doors in an open border here in Oxfordshire, re-growing from the trunk after cutting back the frost damaged material.) Easy to raise from seed and very different with its swollen bulbous base and large leaves

Ensete superbum

Out of Stock!
Rock Banana
nS

5 seeds 3.49   JS917

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Superbum is a delightful species originating from India but can also be found growing at the rim of forests in Burma and Thailand, often on rocky ground and at some altitude. The beautiful bright green/grey leaves can reach a length of about 5. The blooming plant can reach a height of 10 to 12 while the dark brown-red inflorescence is held well above the larger leaves. This is a rare, sought after plant, hence the seeds are a little more expensive.

Ensete ventricosum

Abyssinian Banana nS
10 seeds 2.24   JS23

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The Ensetes are a separate species and only a relative to the Musa family, bearing strong attractive light green to grey green stiff leaves, some with a red mid rib and white bloom to the reverse side of the leaves. The plant shown depicts a 2 year old Ventricosum plant in July after over wintering in a frost free Greenhouse. I have been growing these from seed for many years now so that I always have older plants for a continuous dramatic display, after that they just get too large!

Leaves are not frost hardy but suffer minimal damage down to 0C or minus 1C but the root system can take up to minus 5C if protected. Usually the plant would be dug up and kept on the dry side in a frost free environment until the following year. (A frost free conservatory is ideal!) I have had some success with larger plants by digging them up, lightly trimming the roots, placing into a large pot, cutting off the main trunk and allowing it to re-grow. The seed grows readily though if fresh in a temperature of 27C to 30C.

Musa arunachalensis
Himalayan Banana nS
10 seeds 3.95   JS3681

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A recently discovered wild species of ornamental fruiting banana from north east India. It is dwarf growing with attractive maroon splashed leaves and bright orange bracts. Be one of the first to grow this in cultivation!

Musa balbisiana X
Plantain Banana nS
10 seeds 3.16   JS1220

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Our edible cultivated bananas are derived from two species, acuminata and balbisiana, the seed we offer here are a seeded cross of balbisianna making a fast growing tree to 15ft. Seed comes from plants growing in the lower foothills of the Himalayas so should be reasonably cool tolerant.

Musa balbisiana Atia Black
Musa balbisiana Black nS
10 seeds 3.45   JS3410

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This variety has much darker ornamental stems when mature and with its dark green leaves plus fast growth rate it makes an excellent ornamental from seed. It produces large fruits but these are full of seeds so inedible. Quite a tall plant to 18ft but can be cut back to over winter under glass. Quite a tough banana possibly as hardy at the root level as Musa sikkimensis if the root crown is protected.

Musa cheesmani
Cheesman's Banana nS
10 seeds 3.16  
JS1394

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A vigorous, large, wild banana from Northeastern India and closely related to Musa sikkimensis. Large attractive pale green leaves with attractive purple midrib/stems and worth trying outside for the summer. Not as quite as hardy as Sikkimensis to survive our winters at the root level so they will need a frost free glass house to over winter.

Musa coccinea
Red Torch Banana nS

10 seeds 3.15 JS832

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A medium ornamental banana plant native to India and S. E. Asia that grows to 9'. The plant will stay smaller though when pot grown. Lovely long lasting scarlet inflorescences grown as a cut flower in the tropics. Leaves are narrow and oblong up to 2m long and the plant is best with light shade.

Musa Helen's Hybrid
A Musa Chini Champa X Sikkimensis Hybrid nS
10 seeds 3.81   JS1626

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A new discovery from eastern Himalaya that is purported to be a hybrid between Musa sikkimensis, a frost hardy banana and Musa Chini-Champa, a cool hardy edible variety. Growing at 5,000 ft elevation it should take a very mild frost and also grow well in our relatively cool summers. The plant produces an edible fruit, although these are full of seed, and should prove to be an excellent candidate for growing a fruiting banana, providing that you live in a frost free area? Strong growing with Sikkimensis type leaves but with Chini Champa's white bloom to psuedo stems.

Musa itinerans Yunnan banana
Yunnan Banana nS
10 seeds  3.16   JS58

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Semi-hardy Musa variety coming from high altitudes in Chinas Yunnan province. We thought that it could be grown in the same way as Basjoo or Sikkimensis i.e. hardy down to the root stock if protected. So far though I have not successfully over wintered any outdoors in our frost prone location. Seedlings from the previous two years have grown quickly with a pale bluish tint to the leaves and stems on delicate tall slim plants that add a touch of elegance to the garden border with very thin tall stems. Over winters ok in a frost free well lit location if kept on the dry side.

Musa mannii
Indian Dwarf Banana nS
10 seeds 4.27   JS1393

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A useful short flowering musa, grown for its big heads of multicoloured flowers, in shades of pink, orange and green. While generally about 1.5m to 1.8m tall, its stems can be up to 15cm across. The small, seedy fruit is inedible. A rare form believed to now be extinct in the wild.

Musa nagensium
Giant Banana
nS

10 seeds 3.95   JS1478
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This is an interesting ornamental banana with very dark purple-red pseudostems. A large banana from India, slightly cold hardy to over 20ft with 10ft leaves. Very fast growing and new into cultivation. Be one of the first people to grow it. .

Musa ornata
Ornamental
Flowering Banana nS

10 seeds 2.49   JS823
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A cultivated form of ornata with excellent pink to purple or peach flower colouring. All Ornata hybrids are rather tender, dwarf growing Musas which have a slender habit. They need a warm conservatory with plenty of light to flower.

Musa paradisiaca
Edible (seedy) Banana nS
10 seeds 3.16   JS532

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Sometimes referred to as Musa sapientum. Its mature height varies between 10 and 18. Numerous edible cultivars have been derived from crosses with this wild seeded variety. Although the fruits are considered edible they are extremely seedy! In our trials the seed germinated very easily.
 

Musa sikkimensis (Syn hookerii)
Himalayan Banana nS]]
15 seeds 2.49   JS24

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Still a relatively new plant introduction to the UK proving to be almost as hardy as Basjoo, but I think more attractive. The leaves are a darker glossy green, with new leaves producing a lovely pink flush to the underside as they open up. Some seedlings have markings almost as striking as Zebrina, and quite spectacular as a large plant. (We source our seed only from plants showing strong red markings growing wild in the Himalayas.) Since Musa Basjoo cannot be grown from seed, this hardy alternative grows quickly, and once established can be further propagated by suckers. Originating from 6,000ft in the Himalayas, it is tolerant to frost at the roots. Good resilience to wind, and continues to grow in cool weather when Basjoo halts. Fairly easy from seed at 30C with about 50%+ germination rate, and easier to over winter under cold glass than Basjoo from my own experience.

Musa sikkimensis "Daj Giant"
Himalayan Banana nS]]
10 seeds 3.63   JS2079

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Often described as a sikkimensis hybrid its correct name is Musa griersonii. This large, fast growing banana is just as hardy as sikkimensis at the root level and has proved to be excellent for our own summer displays with huge leaves often with a purple hue to the reverse and a silvery bloom to the pseudostems.

Musa sp Burmese Blue
Blue BanananS
10 seeds 2.62   JS1155

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Musa Burmese Blue is a wild banana growing in northern Thailand to about 12ft. It is a seeded species with the fruit taking on a bluish purple colour. Apparently edible if cooked, assuming of course that you can get it to fruit in the UK!

Musa velutina
Pink Banana nS 
15 seeds 2.09   JS25

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Musa velutina is an interesting novelty for planting out in summer as bedding or keeping in the conservatory. A small slender plant with narrow leaves to about 4ft, which flowers at a very young age (usually in the second year) producing a very attractive red and cream flower spike that stays reasonably upright. The novelty is the hand of small pink velvety bananas which form quite a talking point. In my youth when I first grew Musa velutina I would ask my girl friends if they would like to come and see my pink furry bananas! This banana suckers readily from the base to produce a nice clump for next year, or you can cut them off for additional plants to grow on. It will need a warm greenhouse (15C), or Conservatory for successful over wintering but is hardier than commonly believed. Musa velutina grows readily from fresh seed at about 30C.

Musa zebrina
Blood Banana nS 
10 seeds
3.16 JS26

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One of the most beautiful of all ornamental bananas with red wine stained leaves. Not hardy at all and best grown in the greenhouse or conservatory in the UK, although I use large plants successfully as summer bedding every year. As you can see Zebrina is very attractive and also quite fast growing. Topping out at 5 makes it a useful specimen to keep for a longer period in a conservatory, without outgrowing its welcome! This plant will need a warm greenhouse or conservatory for successful over wintering. The Blood Banana is exotica at its best and just has to be seen to be fully appreciated! We now have an improved seed strain even showing the markings in young seedlings.

Musella lasiocarpa

Out of Stock!
Chinese Banana nS

10 seeds 3.81 JS76

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This has to be at the top of your list to try for tropical bedding! It is not a true banana but another closely related species from China that has similar broad, bright green leaves. But its the bright yellow long lasting lotus like flowers that make it stand out from the crowd. Like most Musa related species, once the growth spike has flowered it will die off, however new suckers quickly grow from the root stock. It needs winter protection but must be kept fairly dry during this natural dormant period. The seed is scarce and of limited quantity and can be erratic in germination needing pre chilling which is why we keep our seed stock in cold storage. Plants should flower in their 3rd or 4th year when the trunk will be 3 to 4ft tall. Do not believe the garden centres when they tell you that this plant is hardy! It may be at the root level with protection, but the trunk needed for flowering will be killed off each year by any frost.
 

 

Symbol Code

Germination --- Easy n, Moderate n and Challenging n

Backlog for Fresh Seed --- u     New Seeds not in Catalogue ---

Hardiness --- ] (To -5C) ]] (To -10C) ]]] (To -15C) 

Growing Symbols ---  Sunny position Shady position S  Lots of Water