Gardening Magazine

Ensete Ventricosum ‘Maurelii’

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Full sun to light shade

Flowering period:

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 5m

Eventual Spread: 4m

Hardiness: 10a, 10b, 11, 12

Family: Musaceae

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ is a fast growing evergreen herbaceous perennial with an upright habit. Its mid green leaves are elliptic with entire margins, purple on their undersides, up to 3m long and 55cm broad. Its yellow/ green trunk is classified as a pseudostem and may achieve a length of up to 2.5m. Its white flowers, have red/ pink bracts, are male and female, appear on the same plant are up to 1m long. This main pat of the plant will die after flowering. Its fruit is similar to the edible banana. Its roots are rhizomes.

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ Leaf (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

The species Ensete ventricosum, commonly known as Abyssinian Banana, Ethiopian Banana or False Banana, is native to east tropical Africa. In its native habitat it grows on mountainous high rainfall forests.

The etymological root of the binomial name Ensete is derived from the vanacular name for this plant in Abyssinia. Ventricosum derived from the Latin ventriculus meaning ‘belly’.

The landscape architect may find Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ useful as a bedding plant in tropical/ lush style planting schemes.

Ecologically, Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ is of little value to UK wildlife.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 2012.

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' Stem (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ Stem (17/08/2014, Kew Gardens, London)

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ prefers moist, humus rich, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. This plant dislikes dry soils.

Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ requires regular feeding during its growth period during the summer months. In the UK it will be necessary to move the plant to a sheltered position during the winter months, when the temperature is likely to fall below 2ºc. If in a pot they may be moved to a sheltered position and treated a s a house plant. Alternatively the plant may be dug up, the leaves removed and stored in a cool dry place.

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