Hardy Banana Trees

If you ask people to name tropical plants, banana trees would be near the top of the list. However, there are hardy banana trees that are able to grow in cooler zones than usual. While the leaves will be damaged or destroyed by freezing weather, the roots will survive and grow new shoots the following spring. Here are some of the common hardy banana trees available.

  • 01 of 05

    Chinese Dwarf Banana

    Plants and flowers of Singapore
    Joshua McCullough, PhytoPhoto/Photolibrary/Getty Images
    Latin Name: Musella lasiocarpa

    Other Names: Golden lotus banana, Chinese yellow banana

    Native to: China

    Hardiness: May be hardy as low as Zones 5-6 with mulching

    Size: The Chinese dwarf bananas grow 4-6' tall.

    Flower/Fruit: The bright yellow flower of these hardy banana usually appears in the second year and grows directly on top of the "trunk" (stem), leading to small, inedible fruits.
  • 02 of 05

    Darjeeling Banana

    The Darjeeling banana tree is one of the hardiest Musa species.
    The Darjeeling banana tree is one of the hardiest Musa species. Photo © Wikimedia user Prashanthns
    Latin Name: Musa sikkimensis. Also Musa hookeri

    Other Names: Snow banana, Hooker's hardy banana

    Native to: Himalayas

    Hardiness: Zone 5 or 6 with mulching.

    Size: The Darjeeling banana tree grows to 14' tall.

    Fruit:The fruit is edible and sweet with hard pulp and several seeds.
  • 03 of 05

    Japanese Banana

    Musa basjoo is the most common hardy banana for sale.
    Musa basjoo is the most common hardy banana for sale. Photo © Flickr user krossbow
    Latin Name: Musa basjoo

    Other Names: Japanese fiber banana or hardy banana

    Native to: Ryukyu Archipelago (between Japan and Taiwan)

    Hardiness: Zones 5 and above if well mulched. It has been reported to survive as low as -20F.

    Size: This hardy banana grows to 18' tall.

    Flower/Fruit: The creamy yellow flowers lead to small, inedible bananas.
  • 04 of 05

    Snow Banana

    Latin Name: Ensete glaucum

    Other Names: Giant Nepal banana

    Native to: China/Nepal

    Hardiness: Zone 7 if mulched very well.

    Size: The snow banana grows to 25' tall.

    Flower/Fruit: White flowers turn into 5" long fruits, full of large seeds.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Velvet Banana

    Velvet Banana is grown for its tiny pink bananas
    Velvet Banana is grown for its tiny pink bananas. Photo © Flickr user Fred Hsu
    Latin Name: Musa velutina

    Other Names: Baby pink banana, hairy banana, pink-fruited banana

    Native to: India/Southeast Asia

    Hardiness: Fruit comes in Zone 9 and above, but velvet banana can be grown as low as Zone 6 or 7 if mulched.

    Size: The velvet banana grows 4-6' tall.

    Flower/Fruit: The flowers of this hardy banana are white and are followed by small,hairy, pink bananas. They are edible and sweet, though full of seeds.