Ensete ventricosum

Ensete ventricosum

The Abyssinian Banana or Ensete ventricosum is used in landscaping for its ornamental foliage. Tolerant of much cooler climates than species such as ‘mussa’ makes this an ideal plant to help create a ‘tropical look’ in the garden.

Originating from mountainous regions of Ethiopia Ensete ventricosum copes better in cool climates than Musa species. This is an ornamental plant, it will not set fruit and as far as we know do not sucker. In warmer climate some other varieties of ornamental bananas can become a little invasive or ‘weedy’.

Green and Red Ensete ventricosum

Ensete ventricosum ‘maurelii’ is the Red Abyssinian Banana this variety is grown by tissue culture. wonderful red foliage. As it is a little more difficult to grow it will cost more. Grown for its foliage Musa Maurelli has smaller red leaves lower on the plant and green leaves with red streaks on long red stems above.

These plants form a large base up to 2 ft so give them room to move. they will reach a height of 10 – 20ft depending on conditions and age. Zone 9 unless you can create a warmer microclimate otherwise grow them as an annual.

In colder climates, grow Musa Maurelli as an annual. In cooler areas they will need to be grown as annuals or overwintered indoors, try growing them in large pots or dig them up as is cools down. (remove all foliage, trim back the roots and put the plant a big container in warm position for winter)

The green variety is the species, it grows from seed and is readily available for sale.


These plants require a good humus rich moist soil, and yes you can grow them in containers.

They do need a sunny position that is protected from strong winds. Wind will simply shred the foliage, probably not the look you are after.

Old foliage that is beginning to fade a little can be removed. however wait until they are drooping and changing colour and then do not cut them right back to the stem.

Generally regarded as suitable to USDA zones 9 – 11, although they can be grown in 8 with a little extra care. If you can keep them frost free you have a chance.

In colder zones they will need to be over wintered indoors.