The Indian banana comes from eastern North America. It grows, for example, in the US states of New York, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Alabama, Virginia and Texas. Freestanding papau are trees or shrubs that can reach a height of five meters. These are deciduous, so they lose their leaves when winter comes. Before that, however, you can still admire the beautiful autumn colors. The leaves, but also the shoots, should also contain insecticidal substances. The highest concentrations of acetogenins are found in young, thin branches. The Indian banana usually grows as a multi-stemmed, strong bush. As the roots kick out, a rather impenetrable thicket develops over time.


The growth of the wood is characteristic. It grows in a pyramid shape. This is mainly due to the large, downward-hanging leaves. The flowers of the Indian banana are interesting. They appear in spring, before the leaves, directly on the wood. The flowers are purple bells. Their smell is remarkable. They smell really bad. This is on purpose, because it attracts flies and other scavenging insects, which in turn are important for pollination. Each flower contains several ovaries. From these a dense bundle of two to seven fruits develops, the Indian bananas.

The fruits can be quite different depending on the variety. They are similar to papaya or a mango, are light green to yellowish on the outside and are five to ten centimeters long and weigh between 50 and 300 grams, in exceptional cases even up to 500 grams. They are used for direct consumption by simply spooning them out or for Sweets, cakes and ice cream. The fruits contain a soft, creamy pulp. The taste is somewhat reminiscent of bananas, which is probably where the name comes from. But many also speak of an apple-like taste. I have not yet tasted an Indian banana myself, so I am abstaining from voting. In any case, the fruit is very nutritious. It surpasses most of our native fruits in terms of amount of vitamins (lots of vitamins A and C), Nutritional value and amino acids (extremely important to our diet). The harvest takes place between the middle of September and the beginning of October, depending on the variety. You have to feel when they are ripe (pressure test with your thumb – meat has to give way slightly). Usually the golden yellow autumn color indicates the beginning of the harvest, both often coincide. Ripe fruits can be easily harvested with a twist.

It is also interesting that the Indian banana was examined for its application in the fight against cancer. Asimicin, a cytotoxin, was isolated from the plant. A cancer-inhibiting effect was shown in mice. It disrupts electron transport in the mitochondria of rapidly growing cancer cells. There it acts as an inhibitor on complex I of the respiratory chain. So it will be interesting to see what research will produce, perhaps an effective anti-cancer agent?


There are around 70 varieties. Of these, however, only about 20 achieved supraregional importance, mostly due to their special fruit quality. There are self-fertilized and cross-fertilized plants.

  • Prima 1216 – large fruits, good yields, self-fertile, early bearing, hardy to minus 32 ° C, well suited for our climatic conditions
  • Sunflower – not that big fruits, very good taste, golden yellow flesh, self-fruiting, early bearing, just as hardy, very popular variety
  • Overleese – large fruits with few seeds, rich yellow flesh, early bearing, needs cross-pollinators, medium fruit ripeness, hardy to minus 32 ° C, very good taste
  • Davis – small to medium-sized fruits, golden yellow pulp, very good taste, seeds very large, early bearing, needs cross-pollinators, early fruit ripeness, very hardy
  • NC 10 – medium-sized fruits, few seeds, yellow pulp, ripening early, external pollinators necessary
  • Mango – fruits are reminiscent of mango, are very large, orange-yellow pulp, intense taste, external pollinators required, early fruit ripeness
  • Mitchell – medium-sized fruit, golden flesh, intense taste, very popular in the USA, early fruit ripening, good harvest
  • Sweet Alice – small tree shape, large fruits, orange-yellow pulp, creamy-sweet, intense taste, fruit ripe around mid-October

The care of the Indian banana

Caring for the Indian banana is not difficult. On the other hand, it has a high ornamental value. It convinces with its pyramid-shaped growth, provides interesting flowers, a spectacular autumn color and edible, tasty and healthy fruits. What more do you want? The plants bear fruit after a period of acclimatization of 4 to 5 years, even earlier if the location is ideal. The right substrate and a suitable location are important for the Indian banana. The rest almost goes by itself. The Indian banana can also be cultivated as a container plant. It will then usually not be higher than 2 meters. But it is better to plant them out. The yields are higher.


The location requirements are different for young plants than for older ones. While young plants should be in partial shade for the first four to five years, the adult specimens like it more sunny. The solution to the problem is to cultivate the Indian banana in the first few years as a container plant and only then to plant it out. Of course it is also possible to buy an older tree, but the prices are steep. This is usually not possible for less than 100 euros.

  • Full sun to a maximum of partial shade
  • The sunnier the better, because the fruits can only ripen when there is a lot of sun. This is very difficult in a rainy, cool summer.
  • Young plants need shade

Plant substrate

Good substrate is important. It can’t be too dry. But standing moisture is also not good. The truth is so in the middle.

  • Nutrient-rich, deep, moist, but absolutely water-permeable soil
  • A slightly acidic substrate is favorable.
  • A mixture of compost, sand, lava gravel and clay proves to be advantageous.
  • Lava grit is important for ventilation. Can be admitted in abundance.


The Indian banana doesn’t like being transplanted. This is due to their long taproot. Here, too, it has proven useful to leave the plant in the pot for the first few years and then transplant it to its final place. However, the vessel must be quite deep so that the root can develop properly.

  • It is best to leave the plant in the bucket for the first four to five years, as you can then put it in partial shade, which is better for young plants.
  • Then you give it its final place, which has to be as sunny as possible so that the fruits ripen.
  • The Indian banana can be planted all year round. Of course, it’s better not to do it in winter. I consider spring, i.e. April to May, to be the best time.
  • Such a tree is best planted as a solitary plant.
  • Plant spacing – 4 to 4.5 meters x 2 to 2.5 meters
  • Take the plant out of the container, tear open the roots slightly, remove dead parts and make a light root cut.
  • Plant in a mixture of compost, sand, lava grit, and clay.

Watering and fertilizing

The Indian banana gets along well with little water and little or no fertilizer. A proper growth does not come about this way, not to mention fruits. So, the plant needs water and nutrients. The more of it, the better. Of course you should neither drown the tree nor let it grow unnecessarily in length.

  • Watering promotes growth
  • If the soil is too dry, the tree will grow very little.
  • Fertilization like pome fruit
  • Nitrogen is important.

To cut

The Indian banana does not normally have to be cut. The trees do not grow excessively fast, so there is no need to cut them large. But if you want to raise the tree, for example to the spindle shape, then you should do that. A cut is tolerated without any problems.

  • Occasionally the crown can be thinned out a little.
  • Annual shoots that are too long can be shortened. This promotes the formation of new fruit wood.
  • It is important not to cut around the previous year’s fruit wood. This is where the flowers and with them the fruits come out.
  • It is best to cut after the harvest when you need to cut.
  • Root rashes are cut as deep as possible in the ground, unless you want to grow a wild bush, then you can leave everything as it grows.


The Indian banana should be absolutely frost hardy. In their homeland, the trees survive winter with temperatures around minus 20 to minus 25 degrees. The trunk should be protected from frost damage, i.e. wrapped with a fleece. When wintering in the bucket outdoors, it should be protected with fleece and bubble wrap.


The Indian banana is to be propagated by seeds, by grafting and by root cuttings. Propagation of cuttings is not possible.


  • Stratify cold for about 100 days
  • Store in a mixture of sand and water moss or star moss at a temperature of 2 to 6 ° C for at least 8 to 10 weeks.
  • Sow in substrate at over 20 ° C
  • Germination after approx. 60 days, often longer
  • First the taproot is formed.
  • Only much later does the plant sprout above ground. This can take another few weeks.
  • It is important to refine the plant after about two years, otherwise the fruits will remain quite small.


  • It is probably not that easy to get a suitable document.
  • It is often cheap to buy a two-year-old specimen that has already been refined.

cuttings Cut off a piece of root from the mother plant and plant it.

Diseases and pests

The Indian banana is considered to be very robust and resistant to diseases and pests. No fungicidal and insecticidal measures are necessary, this is really rare and absolutely fantastic. I could imagine that this is due to the leaves, which contain an insect repellent ingredient.

The Indian banana is one of my next purchases. What I read while researching just sounds great. I want to try that. The yields in Central Europe are probably significantly lower than in America, but that doesn’t bother me. The cause is probably to be found in the lack of suitable insects for pollination. Bees and bumblebees are not attracted to the stink. Hand pollination, which is recommended by numerous traders, seems to make sense, even with self-pollinating varieties. There is also something negative to say about the Indian banana. You have to wait a few years until there is something to harvest and the fruits are both sensitive to pressure and do not have a long shelf life. They can be kept in the room for two to three days and in the refrigerator for about a week. There are now many suppliers on the Internet for this interesting plant. I haven’t seen any at the gardener I trust.

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