Ensete lasiocarpum or Golden Lotus Banana is closely related to bananas and is also part of the family Musaceae.
It is especially known for its striking yellow flowers. They appear already the second year and the bloom lasts for several months.
It produces a large number of suckers which form beautiful plant groups.
The leaves are more resistant to wind than those of banana plants.
It is more rustic but not yet grown enough to have exact data regarding the minimum temperature.
This species is nearly extinct in the wild and owes its survival to culture.
Ensete lasiocarpum grows up to 1.5-1.8 m high. It forms horizontal rhizomes from which grow numerous suckers. The pseudostem measures 15 cm in diameter at the base.
The leaf is glaucous, narrow elliptical, up to 50 cm long and 20 cm wide.
The inflorescence is 20-25 cm long with 8-10 flowers per bract.
The fruit is a berry of 3 × 2.5 cm. The seeds are dark brown with white hilum.
Chinese dwarf banana, Chinese yellow banana, golden lotus banana
Musa lasiocarpa, Musella lasiocarpa, Musa splendida
Ensete: from a Gurage language ge’ez (false banana)
Lasiocarpum: from the Greek lasio- (hairy, woolly) and karpos (fruit)
China (Yunnan province) and Vietnam
On mountain slopes, up to 2,500 m altitude.
Zone USDA 7-10, -12 °C
The plant is not yet widespread and the exact frost resistance has not yet been determined. It resists at least to -12 °C and should probably endure lower temperatures.
Fertile and well drained
Sun, light, partial shade
Don’t give too much water
Fertilize regularly during growing season
From USDA zone 8 it is best to protect the plant during winter with a transparent cover: it seems it needs light even in the winter. If the plant dies it will restart from the foot next spring by producing numerous suckers
- stratify in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 weeks
- sow in light substrate
- 25 °C
- germination time: 1-3 months
- repot when the seedlings are big enough to handle
The plant produces many suckers very close to the mother plant to form a dense clump that renders taking suckers away very difficult. It is better to wait for the plant to be very well developed to take suckers.