These evergreen perennials from tropical Africa and Asia look like banana plants in both fruit and form. Leaves are large and shaped like paddles. The trunk is formed from old leaf stalks. Clusters of pendent, cup-shaped flowers are followed by dry, largely inedible fruit. Use in a container plunged into the garden, as a specimen where hardy, or in a greenhouse.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsEvergreen, large leaves. Fruits resemble bananas.
CareWhere hardy, grow in full sun or partial shade in an organically rich soil. Overwinter indoors in areas with frost. In the greenhouse, provide full light with protection from hot sun, ample water, and good ventilation.
PropagationSoak seed in warm water for 24 hours and then sow in spring at 64-70°F.
ProblemsWatch for spider mites and aphids, especially indoors.