Despite the name, this is not a banana tree. It gets its popular name because its leaves look very similar to those of a banana tree, not because it bears any yellow fruit.
Its other, more fitting, nickname is white bird of paradise, because of the enormous, exotic flowers that bloom on very mature plants in the wild. It’s rare for plants to flower indoors, but it is possible. If you’d like a flowering bird of paradise, we recommend Nicolau’s cousin Reggie.
In the wild, this plant grows on hot, coastal parts of Africa and Mexico. It likes to bask in full sun, so when growing it at home keep it somewhere that enjoys lots of natural light and doesn’t get too cold. It’s a fast grower, so may need repotting about every three years. It will also benefit from a feed with a liquid fertiliser once per month in spring and summer. It's a big plant that needs food to grow.
Did you know?
It takes a very long time for wild bananas to flower. Typically a plant won’t bloom until it’s at least six years old.