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A Guide to Dwarf Cavendish Banana Trees

Dwarf cavendish banana trees can grow indoors and outdoors and produce large bunches of bananas every harvesting season. Read our guide to learn how to grow a healthy Dwarf Cavendish banana tree.

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The Dwarf Cavendish banana tree is different from other fruit trees in that it can survive in almost all of the hardiness zones. Before purchasing a Dwarf Cavendish banana tree, read our guide to learn how to care for one and where to buy this type of tree.

Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree Overview

Fruit size 6–10 inches long
Fruit size 6–10 inches long
Fruit uses Eat raw or in a recipe
Fruit color Green skin before ripe; yellow skin when ripe, white flesh
Fruit texture and flavor Smooth texture, sweet flavor
Region Anywhere except parts of the North, Midwest, and Alaska
Hardiness zone 9–11 in the ground; 4–11 potted on a patio or inside
Growing season Intermittent
Resistance Heat, Panama disease
Susceptibility Root rot, Tropical Race, Sigatoka disease

What Does a Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree Look Like?

The Dwarf Cavendish banana tree gets its name because of its short stalk of eight to 10 feet. Young leaves are purple or red in color, but they turn green as they grow and produce large flowers.

The banana that grows out of the flowers is the same size as a regular cavendish banana with a length of six to 10 inches. The skin starts out green and turns yellow when the banana is ripe, and the inner flesh is white.

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Growing Conditions for a Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree

Before buying a Dwarf Cavendish banana tree, consider the following ideal growing conditions.

Sun and Shade

The ideal location for a Dwarf Cavendish is a spot that will get direct sunlight, such as a room with a sunny window or in the backyard away from shade. A banana tree can still survive under partial sun, but that may slow the growth of an otherwise easy-to-grow plant.

Soil

Dwarf Cavendish banana trees like well-drained loamy soil, which is a mixture of sand, silt, and little clay. They prefer a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, which is on the acidic side.

Fertilizer

Maintain the soil quality by fertilizing every two months with a 6-2-12 fertilizer. This type of fertilizer contains 6% nitrogen, 2% phosphorus, and 12% potassium. The higher concentration of nitrogen and potassium allows for a greener plant and a quality fruit yield. Apply the fertilizer immediately before watering so that the nutrients reach the cavendish root system.

Watering

Water the tree often to keep the soil continuously damp but not waterlogged or muddy. The watering frequency will depend on if you planted the tree in the ground or in a pot—house plants in pots will dry out quicker than ones in the ground. Expect to water the plant every two to three days. If your tree is potted, ensure the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape.

Ideal Hardiness Zones

The best hardiness zones for planting your Dwarf Cavendish banana tree in the ground are zones 9–11, which include southern states, Hawaii, and California. If you live in a colder state within zone 4, you can still pot this tree and put it on your patio or in your house.

How to Plant a Dwarf Cavendish Banana Tree

When you buy a Dwarf Cavendish banana tree, you are given a rhizome, which is a mass of roots that are woven together. The rhizome likely has a sprout growing out of the top called a sucker. Here’s how you would plant the rhizome in the ground or in a pot:

  1. Before planting your tree, dig a one-foot hole.
  2. Add a few inches of organic matter, like compost or rotted manure, and a half pound of fertilizer.
  3. Put the plant in the soil just deep enough so that the rhizome is buried but the sucker is sticking out.
  4. Water the site and lay down a six-inch layer of mulch to prevent weeds and lock in moisture.

From the rhizome, a pseudostem will sprout. A pseduostep looks like a stem, but it’s just a bunch of folded banana leaves. The true stem will grow out of the center of the pseudostem followed by leaves, blossoms, and bananas.

It will take nine to 15 months before the tree starts flowering and an additional two to six months before the bananas are ready to be picked.

Tolerance and Susceptibility

Dwarf Cavendish banana plants are heat-tolerant and are native to warmer parts of the world, like Southeast Asia and Central and South America. While Dwarf Cavendish bananas are susceptible to many diseases in their native habitats, the only major one that affects ones in the United States is root rot, which is where the rhizome rots and the plant decays from cold and wet soil.

Wildlife Threats

Aphids, nematodes, and beetles are common pests of the Dwarf Cavendish banana. Instead of trying to get rid of them once they infest your plant, you can preemptively spray the tree with an insecticide or treat it with natural pest control methods.

Final Thoughts

While the Dwarf Cavendish banana tree requires specific planting conditions, the maintenance is fairly low. The tree requires waterings a few times a week and fertilization every few months, making it perfect for the gardener who wants to liven up their yard with a tropical plant without the hassle of a lot of maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dwarf Cavendish Banana Trees

What should I do with my Dwarf Cavendish banana tree during the winter?

Place your tree in a cool area inside your home. You can cut back on the watering, aiming to water at least once per week so the soil doesn’t dry out.

For banana trees that are planted outside, you can dig up the rhizome and replant it in the spring or you can cover the dormant plant with blankets and tape or twine. Leave the blanket in place until the last frost.

If you live in growing zones 10 or 11, your Dwarf Cavendish banana tree won’t go dormant because your area stays warm year round, so there’s no need to move or cover it.

Can you eat Dwarf Cavendish bananas?

Yes. Cavendish bananas are the type of bananas you would buy in the grocery store, so it’s safe to eat the ones that grow on your tree.

Do you need two banana trees to produce fruit?

No. Dwarf Cavendish banana trees self-pollinate, meaning that they don’t need another tree nearby to help the flowers produce fruit. However, more than one tree can increase your crop yield. Most banana trees thrive in heat and humidity, so when you plant two banana trees next to each other, they pack in heat and humidity.

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