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Ensete glaucum

Snow Banana

This exciting but little-known banana relative is also known as Musa nepalensis and Ensete giganteum, hinting at the plants giant size and is synonymous with the legendary “Snow Banana” Ensete wilsonii. It grows in China (Yunnan 800-2700m a.s.l., 2600-8800ft !!!), Nepal, India, Burma, Thailand and possibly also in Tibet, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. It has a thick, waxy and blue, solitary trunk, huge blueish leaves up to 10ft/3m long, and a huge nodding banana-producing inflorescence. It is extremely fast growing and so requires a good supply of fertilizer and water and is best planted in rich soil. In cold climates it could be hardy enough to survive winters outdoors with some protection.

 
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germination comments by our visitors
For general germination instructions click here.

Also see plant cultivation comments below.

Seeds from this species ...

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
ordered and received seeds 5 yrs ago, took very littl effort to germinate seeds. Over the years a total of four freinds have grown plants from my seeds. Its a great plant for the fla. as its blossom and draws bee's for about 2 weeks when other plants are not blooming. Over all this plant is perfect as it will not spread, sends out hardly any roots to bother yard or other plants, its size always draws attention, of five neigbors all but one loves these guys, the load guy just don't care for plants.
Submitted on 13/02/2013 by Thomas J Klitch

... are easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Strange seed, I have tried two different methods. I live in fla., after plant boomed I took a couple of hand fulls of the small bananas, put them in a tray about 4" deep half full of earth, then covered them. I put them under a grapefruit tree so it was in shad and hit by sprinkler. It took about 6 weeks doing nothing for about 20 of the seeds contained in the bananas to sprout. Doing great without the work. The other method was about the same but tray was placed in the garage, required watering and attention. Simplest was the best and the plants are above average against the cares for ones.
Submitted on 08/07/2008 by Thomas J Klitch

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked seeds for 3 days in filtered tap water. Transplanted to zip-loc bag with 100% Canadian sphagnum peat moss with rain water damp [ squeeze out a few drops]. Germination 80% in 10 days. Transplanted to clay pots [4''] 25% top soil, 25% composted cow manure, 50% Canadian peat. Rain water for irrigation. Growth fast. In one week first leaf. Fed 1/8 tsp. Osmocote with rain water. Growth excellent.
Submitted on 25/09/2007 by Dennis Tyrpak tyrp20@msn.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Bought 100 seeds, soaked in hot water for 48 hours, placed in a seed tray will compost and sand, first seeds have germinated after 10 days!
Submitted on 16/07/2007 by paul postlethwaite paul.postlethwaite@rokgroup.com

... are very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very easy, Soak seed in water, change water daily, then sow seeds in peat moss/perlite 50/50, keep damp and in bright light
Submitted on 18/10/106 by Antonio meta123456@libero.it

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked in room temp. water for 6 days. Placed in moist cocopeat in zip-lock bags. Stored in aqaurium with light, at 27C.First sprout to pot up in 14 days.
Submitted on 19/05/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked seeds for 24hours, placed in soil mixture inside plastic zip lock bag, added small amount of water every 2-3 days. Left them in shadded area (outside temp 90-70) mid summer in Florida. Sprouts appeared on thrid week. Move to large clear plastic jug, in three days growth was from 1/2" to 1st complete leaf, out grew jug in 5 days.
Submitted on 12/10/2005 by one of our visitors

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked seeds in tap water for 5 days and planted in sterile potting medium in small plastic container with plastic sheeting (Sarhan Wrap) cover to preserve moisture. 2 1" shoots out of 10 seeds after 1 month. 2 weeks later same 2 shoots now 2". My tap water has chemical chlorine (not free gas).
Submitted on 01/06/2005 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
put in tupperware box in moist vermiculite in the airing cupboard all but two are sprouting within two weeks
Submitted on 24/03/2005 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I put the seeds in sphagnum (moist not wet) and placed the claypot in a plastic bag, and then put it inside the stove! its close to 35-40 celcius depending on how much hot water we use. one germinated after a week. the pot is in the windowsill and one nice green shoot is on the way.
Submitted on 09/03/2005 by Frank Fotel frankfotel@yahoo.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Seeds purchased from rarepalmseeds.com. When seeds arrived they were soaked overnight in RO water. The next evening they were placed in aluminum baking pans that have plastic see-thru lids. Medium used was 40% Canadian spagnum peat moss, 30% Miracle-gro potting soil, 15% Sand, and 15% Vermiculite, with a small amount of watering crystals added to mixture. After planting seeds in soil 1/2"-1" below surface, I thoroughly sprayed to saturate the soil with a water mixture containing miracle-gro liquid fertilizer and a rooting hormone. Germination started in 2 weeks, with 100% germination after 4 weeks. Temperature varied in my central florida garage during the month of September 2004. When seeds sprouted they were transplanted to 1 gallon containers with same medium used adding 1/2 tsp watering crystals to each 1 gallon container. Thoroughly watered with water mix used as above. Kept in garage with garage door opened only 3-6 hours daily for sunlight & fresh air. Will buy grow light to keep on them 14 hrs a day since garage stays shut most of the day. When soil appears dry I only use plain water since Miracle-gro soil has slow release fertilizer already in it. Seedlings are doing well and are growing fast. First ones sprouted are now 6 inches tall after only 2 weeks.
Submitted on 11/10/2004 by Robin Reed robinreed@earthlink.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I recieved big, healthy looking seeds a month ago. Wasn't able to plant them right away as I was away on a trip to East Africa. Planted them a week ago, 2 seeds in each ziplock bag with moist seed starter mix, and to my surprise, I have 3 sprouts to pot up! Where I'm sprouting them is in a warm garage.
Submitted on 04/09/2004 by William E. Read weread@mac.com

...difficult to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
soaked in water for three days changing the water every day. Removed from water and lightly scarified the seed coat by rubbing back and forth on some 100 grit sand paper a couple of times and then soaked in water for an additional day. I then sterilized them in a 10% bleach and water solution for about 10 minutes. I placed them in lightly damp vermiculite ( 2 tbsp. water per pint of vermiculte) and sealed in plastic bags. Received about 10% germination after one month. and will continue to wait for more
Submitted on 02/08/2004 by patrick Jacklin prjacklin@telus.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
50% germination. Soaked seeds for 3 days in warm water. Sowed in heated greenhouse with moist cocopeat. Sprayed with organic fungicide to moisten. These guys like heat and humidity but watch out for rotting with this combination. Grow REALLY FAST! Started seeds in February and plants are already 2 feet high and put out a new leaf every 4-5 days.
Submitted on 16/06/2004 by Cheri Wilson reininrabt@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked the seeds in water over night. Then I took a small clear plastic box about 4" tall 3" wide and 6" long and filled it up with 3" of peat moss then I put the seeds in the peat moss about 1" down and got the peat moss moist. I put the box on the top of my fridge so it was a constant 75F. I looked at them 7 Days later and they were starting to sprout.
Submitted on 23/12/2003 by one of our visitors

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked the seeds in water over night. Then I took a small clear plastic box about 4" tall 3" wide and 6" long and filled it up with 3" of peat moss then I put the seeds in the peat moss about 1" down and got the peat moss moist. I put the box on the top of my VCR in my TV cabinet and closed the doors I left the VCR on so it was a constant 75ºF. I looked at them 7 Days later and they were starting to sprout.
Submitted on 20/06/2003 by Lee Kimmel Poloranch@bellsouth.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked the seeds in water over night. Then I took a small clear plastic box about 4" tall 3" wide and 6" long and filled it up with 3" of peat moss then I put the seeds in the peat moss about 1" down and got the peat moss moist. I put the box on the top of my VCR in my TV cabinet and closed the doors I left the VCR on so it was a constant 75ºF. I looked at them 7 Days later and they were starting to sprout.
Submitted on 17/06/2003 by Lee Kimmel Poloranch@bellsouth.net

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
The first two sprouted in three weeks. still waiting on the other seven. Growth, as expected, has been very fast. In two weeks nearly 9 inches tall and ready to put out second leaf. Planted in damp peat moss with bottom heat and bright light.
Submitted on 17/02/2003 by robert smith rmsmith65nc@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
i planted 5 seeds and i put them in a chicken-breeding machine(about 28°C) and after two weeks the plants where 1 inch tall(5 pieces)this is a alternative way for the cooler area's
Submitted on 16/02/2003 by cedric seeuws cedricseeuws@pandora.be

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked seeds for 2 days. Sowed in peat pellets and sealed in ziplock bags.I kept them at slightly above room temperature (kept the bags on top of my old VCR to keep warm :) 4 of 8 began to sprout almost simultaneously in 2 weeks. 2 more within 3-4 weeks. 2 never came up.Great hardiness and fast growing. Seems to outgrow pot quickly, but keep in smaller pot to control size. Larger the pot, the larger the plant.One of my favorite, most satisfying plants to grow.
Submitted on 15/02/2003 by Vic Lindia vgl@ottawa.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
hello folks, i live in southwest oklahoma and i soaked 10 seeds for 2 days in tap water with just a dash of fungacide in january and planted them 1/2 inch deep in 1/2 hyponex perlite and 1/2 sandy loam garden soil that i got from the garden in those little two or three inch square peat pots. i placed them into a sams club cake box, the ones with the plastic black bottom and the clear plastic tops that snap shut on the four corners. every four or five days i would spray the soil and the sides of the peat pots with a hand held windex bottle full of water to keep the soil moist, try not to let the sides of the peat pots dry out. i placed the cake box in a green house out of the sun, and have kept the green house at 70-85 degrees. 9 of the 10 seeds germinated within 3 months. the tap roots shoot out the side of the peat pots and should be kept moist, boy do they grow fast inside the cake box once they pop up. i let them grow to the top of the cake box, then replanted peat pot and all into bigger plastic pots. acclimate them very slowly to full sun. good luck!
Submitted on 09/04/2003 by greg maurek Vegas1yeahbaby@aol.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Very fast and easy. Soak for about 2 days, or until they sink. Then place them in bags of vermiculite at about 28-30 celsius. The first seeds should sprout in about 2 weeks, the last at about a month. Very easy and extremely fast growing. Beautiful species. be sure to transplant them as quickly as you can because they push up leaves almost immediately after sprouting.
Submitted on 03/03/2003 by Paul Chafe p_chafe@hotmail.com

...very easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I soaked 5 seeds for 2 days then put them with soil into a sealed plastic bag. I kept the bag at summer room temperature (approx. 25°C).3/5 seeds germinated after respectively 7, 12 and 15 days. The 2 remaining seeds never germinated.
Submitted on 18/06/2002 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
One of my two favorites for container use. Surives neglect over winter to regain it's stature in summer. Great wind resistance. Fast grower.
Submitted on 30/08/2002 by Mark McCauley Mark.McCauley@ag.state.co.us

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
I live for these banana plants!!!
Submitted on 05/10/2002 by one of our visitors

...easy to germinate and need up to 1 month to sprout.
Soaked in room temp. water for 48 hours. Placed in moist peat in zip-lock bags, as per your instructions. Stored on top of TV in living room, 4 feet off floor, and out of direct sun. Avg. room temp. 71F. First shoots noticed 21 days after sowing.
Submitted on 30/03/2002 by Daniel Schilling schilling3@hotmail.com

...easy to germinate and need up to 3 months to sprout.
Soak seeds until all have sunk ~ 3 days. Sow in vermiculite and keep at 27C (81F). Most will germinate within 4 weeks with some stragglers up to 8 weeks.Those not germinated by this time are unlikely to. Expect about 60% success.Extremely fast growing once germinated able to obtain a height of one and a half metres (4') in one season if well watered and fertilised.
Submitted by Adam St.Clair stclair2@bigpond.com

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plant cultivation comments by our visitors
Also see germination commnets above.

Plants from this species ...

... are of high ornamental value
In FL in USA they need very little care and grow fast.
Once it begings to grow it is an outsdanding plant, all so to is the fact it has localized roots which makes it eazy to control. Here in Fla., usa its a great late season blooming plant. when in bloom it draws bee's by the swarm thus providing much needed food for them. I started from seed 4 years ago an now have three neighbors who are using them also from my orginal plants, because they are bigger (14'+) they make great additions to yards and gardens
Submitted on 07/09/2012 by Thomas J Klitch

... are of excellent ornamental value
In Wilmington, NC in USA they need average care and grow very fast.
I grew this plant for 2 years in a greenhouse before setting it out. Planted in late spring (early May), it grew very quickly. I ammended the soil with a generous amount of mushroom compost, watered and fertilized regularly with Osmocote 14-14-14 until early August. It had an 8+ foot trunk by late summer. After a minor hurricane (CAT 2), the leaves were shredded, but quickly grew back. Near the end of the season, (early December), it had a flower stalk, just like in your photo. It was beautiful, like a green petticoat. It did not have time to produce seed, nor did it survive the low temperature of 24*F we had that winter. There was slow temperature decline, not like the severe drop we had this year (72*F to 20*F, in only 36-48hrs) I have another potted one, and I will try again next season. It was beautiful!
Submitted on 21/01/2007 by Tom Ericson plantnut@charter.net

... are of excellent ornamental value
In TROPICAL AUSTRALIA in AUSTRALIA they need average care and grow very fast.
This is the fastest growing plant I have cultivated apart from bamboo. Beautiful upright growth requires heaps of water and mulching. Prefers protection from the wind to produce big undivided leaves. Mine has grown 3 metres in the last 4 months from a 20 cm seedling. In full sun and gets watered everyday. Hoping to harvest seed soon. Highly recommended as an ornamental.
Submitted on 12/12/2005 by GEOFF BREEN guzmadman@yahoo.com.au

win € 75 worth of seeds
by writing a plant cultivation comment about how to cultivate the plants of this species. Click here!

If you wish to read more on palm cultivation, we highly recommend Ornamental Palm Horticulture by Timothy K. Broschat and Alan W. Meerow, available in our bookshop.

Ratings and comments reflect individual experiences and the views of our visitors. They do not necessarily describe the most appropriate methods, nor are they necessarily valid for all seeds or plants of this species. Germination and plant cultivation success depends on many different factors; nevertheless, these experiences will hopefully aid you in your effort to get the best germination results from our seeds and the best growth results from your plants.

 
       
 
We recommend:
The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms
by Robert Lee Riffle, Paul Craft, Scott Zona

2nd edition
Completely revised and updated

Hardcover - 528 pages
11 x 8.5 inches


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Suitable for: all

The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is the definitive account of all palms that can be grown for ornamental and economic use. Palms are often underutilized as a result of their unfamiliarity—even to tropical gardeners. To help introduce these valuable plants to a new audience, the authors have exhaustively documented every genus in the palm family.
825 species are described in detail, including cold hardiness, water needs, height, and any special requirements. Generously illustrated with more than 900 photos, including photos of several palm species that have never before appeared in a general encyclopedia, The Encyclopedia of Cultivated Palms is as valuable as an identification guide as it is a practical handbook. Interesting snippets of history, ethnobotany, and biology inform the text and make this a lively catalog of these remarkable plants.


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