Musa is a genus of plant that features more than 50 species, including bananas and plantains. The name Musa comes from a translation of its name in the Arabic language ‘mouz’.
The large, long leaves of the Musa are a vibrant green, often with purple blotches, and the plant has a trunk-like stem from which the leaves grow up and out. Despite the fact that they can grow to the size of a tree, Musa trunks are not made of wood and therefore the plant is actually a type of herb.
Musa originally comes from the Far East and tropical Australia, so it prefers a tropical rainforest climate. Some species are reasonably hardy against the cold and can be grown in gardens provided the average temperature remains warm.
The plant can be grown from seed but it is most commonly sold as a young plant. Young plants grow better indoors in a warm, humid place with plenty of light if possible, but it can take up to a year for a plant to flower.
Musa is one of three genera that are part of the Musaceae family. Within the Musa genus, one of the most popular is the Dwarf Cavendish, which can grow up to five feet tall.
The Musa does require extra care compared to other houseplants. You will need to keep it warm, preferably in bright light, at around 16 degrees Celsius. Keep the compost moist and spray the leaves with water regularly. The best place to keep the Musa is in a bathroom or humid conservatory.
Did You Know?
One of the species of the Musa genus is the Banana. This fruit arrived in England in the 17th century but it wasn’t until 1829 that the plants themselves were grown here in specialised greenhouses.