Breaking banana news! Banana plant in flower at RHS Harlow Carr.

Breaking banana news! Banana plant in flower at RHS Harlow Carr.

For the first time ever, a ‘Musa basjoo’ banana plant has flowered at RHS Garden Harlow Carr.

Found in the ‘Sub Tropicana’ garden at RHS Harlow Carr, it is an extraordinary, immense 15ft architectural plant with huge, green, paddle-like leaves that can each grow up to 3m long. This summer it has begun to flower for the first time producing creamy yellow flowers that are often followed by yellowish-green fruit. These plants look brilliant when incorporated into jungle-style planting schemes, and can be potted up into large pots and treated as a dynamic feature.

Russ Watkins, Floral Team Leader at RHS Harlow Carr said ‘we are so excited to see the banana flower after planting it back in 2019. The plant originally came from the garden of one our horticulturists and was later brought to Harlow Carr where it has really thrived.  The banana plants play a key role in the design of the ‘Sub Tropicana’ garden at Harlow Carr, really adding to the jungle feel, transporting our visitors from Yorkshire to the tropics! We can’t wait to see how it develops over the coming weeks’

It is thought the plant has flowered as it has finally reached maturity and has been very well looked after by the garden team. They have carefully cared for it over the last few winters, by protecting the crown with a thick layer of mulch and protecting the foliage with a blanket of hessian and straw. Interestingly the plant did not flower last year, despite the hot weather, however the wet weather experienced this summer may have helped invigorate the plants growth.

The flower is expected to open out more over the coming the weeks and is well worth a visit to see this rare occurrence and how it develops. The plant will then be very carefully wrapped again in November, to ensure it stays cosy and protected throughout the winter.

Find out more about the Sub Tropicana garden here: https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr/garden-highlights/sub-tropicana-garden

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