The musa velutina [muse-AA, Vel-you-teena] is a banana tree species of the Musaceae family which includes bananas and plantains.
It is native to Assam, eastern Himalayas, India, and Southeast Asia but may also be found in other regions such as Australia.
It may even be grown in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse.
Common names of the Musa velutina include:
- Pink banana
- Hairy banana
- Pink fruiting banana
- Pink velvet banana
- Self-peeling banana
Apart from musa velutina, other botanical names include:
Pink Banana Care
Size & Growth
The plant is evergreen and reaches a height of around 5′ – 8′ feet and covers a width of around 3′ – 5′ feet.
The small banana fruits are 3” inches long and are pink fuzzy, velvety hairs.
They are considered a hardy banana, mature early, bloom within one year. But take around 5-10 years for the plant to reach its full height.
Flowering and Fragrance
The plant consists of slender stems with paddle-shaped leaves and clusters (inflorescence) of showy pink flower bracts growing in arching spikes.
At the ends of the flower stalks comes the pink fruit, this fruit peels back on its own when ripe.
The fruit is also covered in small, thin hairs. The flesh itself is white and soft with a sweet and slightly tangy taste.
The trunk is thin and made of long pink stalks which are actually a sheath of large leaves.
The pink banana plant is evergreen and in winter, even when the fruit and flowers fall off, the green leaves remain.
Beginning in late summer, Musa velutina produces lots of flower stalks near the top of the trunk.
Light & Temperature
Pink bananas enjoy a combination of full sun and partial shade and prefer a somewhat warm temperature of around 68° – 75° degrees Fahrenheit (20° – 24° C).
They flourish during the warmer months but should be kept in a temperature-controlled environment in the winter to protect them.
Velutina is recommended for hardiness USDA zone 8-11 and flourishes in a warm, tropical climate. When grown in full sun pink Musa banana will grow in zone 7b.
The plant is quite resilient and while its foliage may die if temperatures drop below 32° degrees Fahrenheit (0° C), it will regrow when the climate becomes warmer.
It is quite a hardy plant and may withstand cold weather up to 21° degrees Fahrenheit (-6° C).
Although it is quite bare in the winter, the foliage is thick, bright pink and beautiful in the summer.
Watering and Feeding
Before planting, the seeds should ideally have grown through a 24-hour warm water soak.
It should be watered frequently through the spring and summer months and treated with liquid fertilizer monthly or a banana plant fertilizer.
Don’t overwater it in winter.
Soil & Transplanting
Musa velutina is ideally planted in nutrient-rich soil which has compost mixed in.
The soil should be moist, well-drained and humusy and should have a neutral or slightly acidic pH.
Grooming and Maintenance
Although pink bananas are quite low maintenance, the older leaves need to be pruned in spring to allow for healthy new growth. During winter provide a thick mulch for added root protection.
How to Propagate Musa Velutina
Pink bananas may be propagated using their seeds or rhizomes.
Here’s how it may be propagated with its seeds:
- Remove the seed coat with a file or a small scalpel.
- Soak the seeds for 24 hours in slightly warm water.
- Plant it in a well-drained pot which contains a mixture of moist soil and peat.
- Put the entire pot in a plastic bag creating your own mini greenhouse.
- The next part involves a lot of waiting- seeds may take up to 6 months to grow.
- Once the seeds have started growing, remove the pot from the plastic bag to allow the plant to adjust the humidity of the environment.
- Gradually expose the plant to direct sunlight.
- When the climate is ideal for growth and there is no danger of frost, it may be transplanted in your garden or a larger pot.
Musa Velutina Pest or Disease Problems
The plant is generally disease-free but may be attacked by pests such as the glasshouse red spider mite, aphids, and mealybugs, especially if the pink banana is being grown in a glasshouse.
Is This Plant Toxic Or Poisonous?
The pink banana is non-toxic for both humans and animals, although you do need to watch out for the very hard seeds of the fruit.
Is This Plant Invasive?
Musa velutina may be invasive in some regions but not all.
In the Australian region, the pink banana is considered to be invasive and may destroy other banana species in the vicinity.
Suggested Pink Banana Uses
Pink bananas are generally planted for very ornamental purposes due to its pink fruit and flowers.
However, the fruit may also be eaten.
Just be careful of the seeds since they’re hard enough to chip a tooth the flesh is also not much which is why pink bananas aren’t among the commonly eaten fruits.