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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Before planting your tree, dig a one-foot hole.
- Add a few inches of organic matter, like compost or rotted manure, and a half pound of fertilizer.
- Put the plant in the soil just deep enough so that the rhizome is buried but the sucker is sticking out.
- 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.
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.