Tag Archives: Musa

Musella lasiocarpa: An Adaptable, Smaller Banana for Warm to Mild Temperate Gardens

I’ve been growing Musella in a larger pot as well. It performs much as it does in the ground reaching similar size, getting along with comparatively little water. This plant suffered no leaf scorch even during our record breaking streak of 108º, 110º and 116º in late June ’21. It was protected in shade in the afternoon. Here it sits on the deck next to my Musa accuminata ‘Zebrina’, a Malaysian tropical, which did suffer a lot of marginal leaf burn, losing several of its softer, newer, leaves, even with daily watering of its pot during the hottest stretch (It quickly recovered after the temps settled down.).

Musella lasiocarpa may be the most easily recognized of the 48 species within the small but economically important Banana family, Musaceae. It is distinguished from all others by its small size, its congested, quickly tapering pseudo-stem, which is nearly bulbous at its base, its leaf blades extending upward from its relatively long petioles, shaped much like the traditional blades of Aleut kayak paddles and its unique flowering structure. Like all bananas the pseudo-stem is made up of tightly clasping, channeled, petioles, and its inflorescence which resembles a golden lotus flower in bud, with tightly held yellow to orange bracts having very little separation from one to the next, shielding its later emerging flowers tightly held beneath.  The shape of this plant and its texture lies somewhere between the more commonly grown ,and proven, hardy members of its Order Zingiberales, the Hedychium spp. and both Musa Basjoo and Musa sikkimensis, which often fill a role in providing many mild to cool temperate gardens with their ‘tropicalesque’ characteristics. If your garden resides in climatically colder areas than those experienced by topical plants in the wild, then any of these may succeed as permanent contributors to a tropical ‘feel’ in your garden. Of course you can also choose to grow true tropical and subtropical species if you are committed to the necessary protections they will require over your cold season. Continue reading