Have you ever seen a pink banana? No, this isn’t a retelling of last night’s dream or some mythical story I’ve just made up. There really are pink bananas and they grow on Musa velutina banana tree plants, a.k.a. Baby Pink Banana or Hairy Banana. Keep reading for more fascinating pink banana information that I didn’t make up, really.
History of Pink Banana Origin
The history of pink banana begins in India and other parts of Southeast Asia where this banana species is a native. The Latin name for pink banana’s origin, Musa, is one of two or three genera in the family Musaceae, which includes bananas and plantains. There are 70 or so species of Musa known.
Musa velutina banana tree plants are small for bananas, 4-6 feet high by 3-5 feet wide. Although they seem to have a stem, the base of the plant is actually made up of the large (1-2 foot) leaf stalks which actually make it more of a giant herb than a tree.
Additional Pink Banana Information
Although pink bananas grow in tropical to subtropical climes, this particular banana is one of the more cold tolerant, especially when provided protection from the cold by mulching heavily around the plant. It is said to be cold hardy as far north as USDA zone 7b. This banana is hardy to 20 F. (-6 C.), although temperatures of 32 F. (0 C.) will usually kill the foliage back. Not to worry, pink banana will pop right back up when temps warm back up.
Pink banana produces prolific flower stalks at near the top of its trunk beginning in late summer. Each of these flower stalks becomes a cluster of small (3 inches), bright pink bananas covered in fine hairs. Hence, its alternate name of Hairy Banana! As the bananas ripen, they begin to peel themselves. Honest! Although pink bananas are usually grown as ornamentals, you can eat them. Just be wary of the multitude of large seeds that can apparently break a tooth…
Pink bananas can be propagated by seed or, if you are lucky enough to know someone that has one, via a “pup,” rhizome or tuber. The seeds can be dried and then sprouted in warm (75-85 F./23-29 C.), well-draining soil. Seed propagation requires patience, as the seeds may take months to sprout. Plant your banana in filtered light to part shade and keep it moist but not drenched.
Once you have a sprouted pink banana, things get moving fast. Musa velutina flowers within the year with resulting fruit. The plant itself, in optimal conditions, can grow as tall as 7 feet in a single growing season.
Pink banana can be container grown as well, especially suitable if your region tends to have cold snaps, so you can just bring it inside. A plant growing in the garden proper should be protected from frost and strong winds. Mulch the banana with well-rotted manure, chicken manure and/or feed it with liquid tomato feed, or any other high nitrogen feed.
Feed and protect your pink banana and it should give you years of tropical splendor along with as many side shoot baby pink bananas you can use or give away. It’s gonna look like a jungle around here.