Botanical Name: Musella lasiocarpa
Want a unique house plant? If you have a sunny spot for it, grow a Golden Lotus Banana indoors.
Its pseudostems are formed from overlapping leaf sheaths. Healthy plants readily produce offsets, which can be divided and potted up. This generous plant just keeps on giving!
Purely ornamental, this relative of the banana plant won't grow edible fruit. But mature plants (at least 2-3 years old) make an unexpected accent for your sunroom with big, colorful flowers and handsome leaves.
Sometimes called the Golden Lotus Banana, its bloom resembles a lotus flower. You can expect those golden blooms to last several months.
Repot in spring when necessary. Put it in a large container and give it plenty of room to grow -- its wide leaves fan out. And it's a good idea to use a heavy pot to prevent toppling. It can get top-heavy.
Prune your plant. Prune off damaged leaves, using sharp pruners. The leaves split easily, and over time can look ragged. Be selective in what you cut -- you don't want a stem with few leaves.
Something bugging your plant? These Chinese flowering bananas are virtually pest-free. Watch for the webbing of spider mites that may attack indoor plants in the winter months. They're so tiny, you'll first notice their fine webbing between the leaves. Treat any infestation immediately and keep any affected plant isolated. Raising the humidity near the plant will help to prevent an infestation.
Golden Lotus Banana is difficult to find at garden centers unless you live in a warm climate. Your best bet is online nurseries.
Height: Up to 6 ft (1.8 m)
Light: Bright light to full sun year-round. If your golden lotus banana plant doesn't bloom, it's not getting enough sun. Give it at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day in spring and summer. You can move your plant outdoors for the summer, just be sure to bring it inside when the temperature drops to 50°F/10°C at night.
Water: All bananas are heavy drinkers and this Chinese relative is no exception. Keep the soil evenly moist in spring and summer, slightly drier in winter. If the leaves fold downward from the center rib and turn brown, the plant is thirsty.
Humidity: Aim for 40% relative humidity or higher around the plant. It's a good idea to use a humidity monitor rather than guess whether the air is dry. Homes can become extremely dry during the winter months. The most efficient way to raise the humidity around indoor plants is to use a cool-mist room humidifier.
Temperature: Average room (65-75°F/18-24°C). Musella lasiocarpa will tolerate temps down to 50°F/10°C.
Soil: Any good potting mix
Fertilizer: Fertilize regularly. Your plant won't grow and flower without a steady supply of nutrients. Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Musella lasiocarpa produces offsets, called "pups" throughout the year. Pups can be divided in late spring or summer. To detach, dig down to carefully separate its roots and pot it up separately. Be patient -- it takes about 2-3 years after planting an offset for it to flower.