Musa ingens is a true giant! It is the largest banana species and the largest herb in the world. It may grow up to 15 m high, with a pseudo-stem of 2 m circumference at the base.
It is extremely rare and therefore very sought after by banana lovers around the world. It’s very hard to find seeds and seed germination may take up to one year or more.
It is not hardy and certainly not a species for beginners.
The pseudostem can be 10-15 m high with a circumference at the base of the plant of 2 m.
The leaf sheath is waxy at the bottom and reddish tinted at the top.
The petioles are up to 60 cm long. The leaves are up to 5 m long and 1 m wide.
The inflorescence is enormous and hangs from a huge, smooth peduncle of 10 cm in diameter. It wears about 20 basal hands, each with 16-25 hermaphrodite flowers.
The banana bunch is big, very compact and weighs about 60 kg. The ripe bananas are about 18 cm long and 3-4 cm wide. The fruit is inedible. The seeds are smooth with an angular outline, very variable in shape, dark brown or black, 4-10 mm in diameter with a 2 mm deep hilum hole.
Produces few suckers.
Musa: probably derived from the Sanskrit word muca, via Latin and Arabic.
Ingens: comes from Latin and means huge, excessive.
Tropical forest in the highlands, between 1,350 and 1,800 m altitude.
USDA Zone 9, 0 °C
Nutritious and well drained
Sun, partial shade
Water daily during the growing season
Fertilize weekly during the growing season with universal liquid fertilizer
Repot in the spring, when the pot is too small.
Seed, division of the tuber or corm, suckers (produces few suckers)
- soak the seeds 3 days and change the water daily
- plant the seeds in a moist and airy sowing mix
- cover the pot so that the moisture is retained
- 15-18 °C for 2-3 weeks
- then 25-30 °C
- germination time: irregular, 1 month to more than 1 year
Note: seeds of wild bananas will usually germinate very irregularly and often do take quite a long time. A heat shock or temperature difference (as in the sowing instructions above) can promote germination.