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baby banana tree in a pot

How fast does a banana tree grow?

How fast does a banana tree grow? One of their many benefits (besides delicious fruits) is that they grow incredibly quickly, sometimes reaching maturity in less than a year. Some trees may take a year or two to reach full size, but they are still very fast growers!

Many factors can influence the speed of growth, including light levels, watering, nutrients, climate, and placement. Give your banana tree the conditions closest to its native habitat for the quickest growth possible.

how fast does a banana tree grow

Introduction to banana tree growth rates

Banana trees grow incredibly fast for their large size. They are wonderful additions to any garden, whether they are planted outdoors or kept in a container indoors.

Everyone around the world knows all about bananas, the bright yellow fruits that form an integral part of many diets. But much less is known about the plants these delicious fruits come from.

banana tree trunks
The “trunks” of banana trees are actually perennial stems, not woody tree trunks

For example, did you know that the banana tree is not botanically classified a tree at all? Due to its structure, it is technically considered a perennial herb and one of the largest herbs in the world. Despite their peculiar shape, the fruits are also technically berries, rather than in a class of their own.

Cultivated for its fruit around 8 000 years ago, likely looking very different than the bananas we have today, these trees have remained popular for thousands of years. With an interesting tropical look and ease of care, banana trees are wonderful plants to grow both indoors and out.

baby banana tree in a pot
Baby banana tree in a pot

How long does it take for banana trees to reach mature size?

Banana trees are known to grow incredibly quickly, maturing in as little as 9 months. Certain cultivars and plants in less-than-optimal conditions may take a couple of years to reach full size.

Other trees are generally known to be slow growers. It can take several years for most trees to mature and sometimes 10 or more for many species to reach their predicted height. Luckily, as we already know, banana trees are not technically trees, taking them out of this slow-growing category.

Again, the exact times will depend on your chosen variety. Some may develop quicker, while others need a full year or two to reach their full potential. But overall, banana trees grow incredibly fast for their size. You can also expect fruits shortly after maturity, often in as little as one year.

tall banana tree

How tall do banana trees grow?

There are hundreds of different species and cultivars of banana tree, each with unique heights and other characteristics. Many commonly cultivated types grow to around 12 feet tall when mature. However, there are dwarf varieties that can stop growing around 5 feet, and much taller ones that can grow well beyond 20 feet in the right conditions.

When growing outdoors, mature height isn’t much of a concern. As long as you can still reach the fruit for harvest, you can grow shorter or taller trees without fuss. But when growing in pots, predicted height is incredibly important. For container growing, it’s best to stick to dwarf bananas that won’t outgrow their ceiling space or the container they are planted in.

grove of small banana trees

Factors that can influence speed of growth

If your banana tree is growing slower than expected, there are a couple of factors to consider that may be influencing growth.

Sunlight

Banana trees are sunlight lovers. The more hours of direct sunlight they receive in a day, the better. If your banana tree is planted in partial shade, it will not grow quickly and will ultimately struggle to produce fruits. Give them a minimum of 8 hours direct sunlight per day, preferably more, for the best growth possible.

Watering

To fuel their quick growth, banana trees guzzle tons of water. Relying on rain only or forgetting to water when the weather is warm can dramatically slow growth and lead to a number of problems with your tree. Water deeply at least once per week, increasing the frequency to around three times per week during hot summer periods.

Nutrients

Along with high water use comes high nutrient uptake. Even when planted in fertile soil, your banana tree will grow much quicker with an added boost of nutrients once per season. This can also help with fruit development, giving you better chances of a harvest within the year.

Temperature

With so many different species and cultivars, there is a banana tree for growing in almost any USDA Zone. But, if you plant the wrong type in the wrong zone, particularly if temperatures dip too low for the species that require warmth to grow, you will see much slower or even completely stunted growth. Make sure you check the requirements of the tree carefully before planting.

Placement

Banana trees have become common houseplants thanks to their love of tropical conditions and large, lush leaves. But they grow much better when planted outdoors in the right conditions. There is nothing wrong with growing bananas indoors, but it is important to realize it will take much longer to reach full height than if they were planted outdoors.

bunch of green banana fruits on a mature banana tree

How can I make my banana tree grow faster?

For the fastest growing tree possible, make sure you give them the right environment and perfect care. Sunlight is particularly important, followed by the care tasks of watering and fertilizing. Choose the right cultivar for your zone and watch for pests and diseases that can slow growth over time.

References


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