What kind of banana plant is the best to grow indoors?
The Dwarf Cavendish banana plant makes a perfect indoor tropical plant to place by your sunniest window with the perfect size and is my favorite indoor edible garden addition.
These benefits are why the Dwarf Cavendish is my absolute favorite indoor banana plant to grow:
Benefits of having an indoor Dwarf Cavendish banana plant
- The banana plant is small enough to fit perfectly indoors and large enough to bring tropical beauty to your green space.
- It can produce real bananas just like the tasty yellow ones you find in the stores only slightly smaller.
- It is NASA Approved as an efficient indoor air purifier efficiently removing a significant amount of cancerous formaldehyde that can be released into the air from processed and treated lumber off-gassing from common indoor furniture. You can read more about the most efficient air purifying plants here including the NASA approved plant list.
- Not only does it remove toxic chemicals from the air, but the larger beautiful leaves also release a healthy amount of oxygen especially good for those with asthma or other lung conditions.
- The tropical banana plant provides humidity into the air that I personally love living in Arizona where the air is exceptionally dry.
- Banana plants grow extremely quick providing excitement for children offering a helping garden hand.
- The whole plant is actually edible and 100% safe around pets.
- They can easily be propagated by separating banana pups as they grow up from the rhizomes providing you with a banana forest if you wish from just one plant.
- The leaves can be used in place of tin foil when cooking or as beautiful natural decoration during parties.
- The bananas can be boiled down and frozen to be used in the future especially for making banana bread.
- The plant adds natural beauty to home decor with beautiful large green leaves coming out symmetrically.
- Tropical plants like the banana indoors are proven to reduce anxiety, improve concentration and productivity by up to 15% according to an informative news article. I can personally vouch for this statement with personal experience living in my own indoor garden sanctuary.
- They can be grown outdoors also in USDA hardiness zones 9-11.
Where to buy Dwarf Cavendish banana plants
You might be able to find Dwarf Cavendish banana plants at your local plant nursery but I couldn’t where I live in Arizona and not many online stores can ship live plants here.
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You can order them online if you live in a different state and I recommend ordering from Hello Organics and taking advantage of Amazon Prime deals. They will send you 4 plants and have great reviews. For the price, it’s worth keeping all 4 or choosing the best one and giving away the others.
You can order just one plant from this seller with very good reviews as another option.
I decided to start my indoor banana plant sanctuary from seed using my DIY seed starting greenhouse that worked perfectly sprouting the banana seeds in about 3 weeks. I hear they can take several months to sprout so I was impressed to sprout them much sooner than that.
I now sell these banana plants locally for those experiencing the same issue finding them in Arizona.
How to care for your indoor Dwarf Cavendish banana plant
Most gardeners start with a small banana plant because they love to watch how quickly it grows. The parent banana plant will die and be replaced by one of the pups so this is another reason to start with a smaller banana plant.
The first step in caring for your banana plant is to amend your soil in an appropriate sized indoor container pot.
How to amend soil for your banana plant and what is the best choice for an indoor pot?
Even the most experienced gardeners don’t realize that soil should be amended for potted plants as well as their outdoor gardens. The amendments are a bit different.
The pearlite adds more aeration needed for potted plants to help prevent root rot and the coconut coir provides a variety of texture and helps hold in moisture. The FoxFarm potting soil is ranked very highly as one of the best soils for growing edible plants like the banana plant. It comes already amended with natural fertilizers your banana needs to flourish.
If you want to choose a cheaper potting soil, you will have to amend it with individual products such as earthworm castings and bone meal bringing the price right back up to this potting soil that has everything already mixed with it.
The banana plants are heavy feeders so you really want to start your plant off with the healthiest potting soil.
Now that you have chosen a potting soil, you’ll need the right size pot.
You’ll need to re-pot your banana a few different times as it grows. You can’t start with too big of a pot because it will become overwatered sitting in too much moisture causing root rot and too small will cramp the roots.
To save money and choose a more eco-friendly way to care for your potted banana plant, I highly recommend using eco-friendly grow bags. My banana plants have done exceptionally well in grow bags and you can find different sizes starting from small to very large at a very reasonable price. The larger containers can get very pricey.
Every time you re-pot your banana, you’ll want to size up just a few inches around larger each time. If you start with a 4-inch pot, you’ll want to size up to an 8-inch pot and so on.
The grow bags also have surprising benefits you’ll want to read more about here.
You can also place the grow bags in a larger more decorative container that fit your home decor better.
How to feed your banana plant
The Dwarf Cavendish banana plant is a heavy feeder and drinker.
Apart from the amended soil, you’ll want to fertilize your banana plant with an organic general fertilizer once a month and increase feeding after about 1 year. While it is flowering and then fruiting, you’ll want to increase fertilizer frequency even more with a fertilizer that contains more phosphorus as it flowers and then more potassium as it sets fruit.
For the potassium, I have an easy and effective trick to share with you. I do this trick throughout the life of the banana plant as it requires more potassium than most edible plants. This is why bananas have a high potassium content.
I add banana peels to the water for a few hours then water it with the banana peel infused-water. I increase this trick while the banana is producing edible bananas. The potassium seeps out of the banana peel directly into the water providing an efficient water-soluble dose of potassium.
I buy organic bananas from the grocery store every week and I recommend you do the same for a healthy nutritious snack.
Note: Do not cut up banana peels and add them to the soil. They will mold before the banana plant can absorb nutrients this way adding to root rot susceptibility.
How to water your banana plant
The Dwarf Cavendish banana plant is a tropical plant that prefers moist soil. Water generously about once a week making sure the water drains well through the pot emptying the water catcher soon after to make sure water doesn’t collect in the tray for too long.
Let the top one-inch soil dry before watering again. The timing of watering and how much can vary depending on how dry it is in your home and ventilation.
A good rule of thumb to follow is water less if you start to see gnats or most leaves starting to yellow and water more if the leaves start to curl.
You also must not water your banana plant with tap water. Tropical plants are very sensitive to chemicals in tap water. Filtered or spring water is best and you can read more about the quality of water to use for your garden plants here.
Mist the leaves with a bottle of filtered water only in the morning once a week or more often if your air is very dry.
Watering will become more frequent once the banana plant grows for about a year.
How much sunlight does banana plants need
Bananas prefer 6+ hours of sunlight. They can survive with less but your chances of your banana producing fruit will be much lower.
Your sunniest window indoors is best providing you with shade from that sunny window I think is a nice benefit from the large leaves.
You may need to supplement with a full spectrum grow light if you want more options to place your banana plant indoors.
What common problems can happen to your Indoor Dwarf Cavendish banana plant
The problems with banana plants are the same as all indoor houseplants.
Overwatering can cause root rot and attract fungus gnats. If you start to see fungus gnats, cut back on watering immediately and try this ultimate fungus gnat guide if your problem persists.
Spider mites are another common problem that can be a pest for your banana plant. Spider mites are usually brought in from another houseplant bought from a warehouse. Misting the leaves and wiping the leaves clean can prevent them but you might need more advice if it becomes a big problem and this guide can help you with all of your houseplants with spider mites.
Bottom leaves turn yellow and die. This is actually normal. As new leaves push through the top of the plant, the bottom ones die off. You can cut them away to keep your banana plant looking healthy.
If all the leaves start to discolor, you most likely have a problem with too much or too little fertilizer or too much or too little of water. It may also be time to re-pot it to a larger size container.
Bananas are very susceptible to fungal infection so be sure never to overwater. If you are not sure how much water to add, lean towards a lesser amount rather than too much.
Added benefits of caring for a Dwarf Cavendish banana plant indoors
Banana plants are a great starter plant for learning how to care for rare and exotic tropical plants. The care for bananas is similar to other edible tropical plants. The fertilizer and other tips recommended in this banana growing guide can be used for many other edible plants.
When you ear your first banana from a tree you grew organically, you will be amazed at the delicious flavor and you will be benefiting greatly from the high nutrition content of your homegrown organic Cavendish bananas.
If you have further questions, please send us a comment.