Banana trees can grow from a small stem to a 30 foot stem within 9 months. This means that banana stems can grow as fast as 3 feet per month. They will grow faster in the warmer spring and summer months and slow their growth in winter.
Once banana plants reach around 20-40 feet they will be ready to produce a flower and bunch of bananas. The speed that your banana plant grows will depend on the climate including the air temperature humidity as well as if it is in a full sun position, if it is getting regular water and is growing in good soil.
Banana plants look like trees but they are actually a herb. They grow from a large rhizome under the ground like bamboo and send up multiple stems, each of which can grow a bunch of bananas. After the stem has produced 1 banana bunch it can be cut back because it won’t fruit again.
Banana plants will send up new shoots to replace the old ones so it can keep growing and fruiting.
A new banana tree can take over a year to grow to its full stem length and start to grow a flower. It is hard to predict when flowers and fruit will appear but reducing the number of stems on the plant can help to get fruit sooner.
How fast do banana trees multiply?
Banana trees can multiply rapidly, growing multiple stems at the same time. You can even see another stem appear from a healthy rhizome only a few months after the first one has established.
Banana plants are often divided to get them to multiply. Suckers or new stems are sectioned off from the main rhizome or root zone and potted up. Once the plant has recovered from the transplant which often takes 2-3 months it can send up another stem.
Large, established banana plants will multiply rapidly my 5 year old banana plant will send up new stems throughout the year. I usually remove the extra stems to focus the plant’s energy on 3-4 main ones. This gives me a better chance of getting fruit sooner.
How to speed up banana tree growth
There are a few ways that you can speed up banana tree growth. This includes giving them the ideal tropical growing conditions. This will give you large stems which can support large bunches of bananas after around 9 months.
1. Plant bananas in full sun
Full sun is essential to get the fastest stem growth on your banana plant. These tropical plants love warmth and the sun will allow their leaves to capture loads of light and photosynthesize. The carbohydrates created by the plant through photosynthesis will be used by the plant to grow the stem fast.
While banana plants can still grow in part shade, they will not grow as fast as those in full sun.
2. Water the banana plant regularly
Regular water, particularly during the warm seasons is essential for fast banana plant growth. The banana stems are made up largely of water, so the plant needs to absorb a lot for the stems to grow.
These stems are heavy and the large root system will draw water up from the ground soil to fill them. Regular water in summer will help the stems to grow fast. Surrounding the banana plant with mulch will also help to stop the soil from drying out as fast allowing more of the water to be absorbed by the plant.
3. Focus on fewer banana plant stems
Banana plants with fewer stems will grow those stems larger and faster. This will mean that they will be able to grow and support large bunches of bananas.
If you let your banana plant grow loads of small stems, you may find that it will not produce flowers. It is best to remove the excess stems down to 3-4 so the plant can focus its energy on producing flowers and fruit.
4. Remove old leaves
Removing old banana leaves is another great way to encourage it to grow fast and tall. The banana plant will naturally replace old leaves further down the trunk with new ones from the center of the plant. These old leaves will turn yellow and then brown and will dry off.
Remove the old leaves if you can reach them to tidy up the plant and allow more sunlight to get through to the other stems.
5. Top dress banana plants with compost and mulch
Top dress banana plants with compost to feed the root system. Add 1-2 inches of compost around the root system. Cover the compost with 2 inches of straw or bark mulch to keep the moisture in. When it rains or when you water the plant the nutrients will be washed down to the roots to feed the plant.
6. Feed with organic fertilizer in the spring
Fertilize your banana plants with a good organic fertilizer in spring. I like to use pelleted chicken manure but you could also layer on a bag of aged chicken manure or aged cow manure. A general, all-purpose fertilizer is fine for banana plants. Water the plant well and it will grow fast.
How fast do banana trees grow? | Summary
Banana trees will grow rapidly when the weather is warm and they are getting the sunlight and water they need. They can grow up to 3 feet in 1 month if the conditions are right. Remove excess small stems to allow your plant to focus son 3-4 main, strong stems.
The plant can then focus its energy on growing flowers and fruit rather than more stems and leaves.
Banana stems can get heavy so prop them up with ropes or posts if they begin to lean. For more on how to stop banana plants for leaning, check out my article here: Why Banana Trees Fall Over | 5 Ways to Prevent It
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.