Blood Banana (Musa acuminata var. zebrina)
The Blood Banana is a small banana variety that grows 5 to 8 feet high in its native Indonesia. It is an attractive ornamental and great container plant that can be kept to a 3 to 5-foot height.
The 6 to 8-foot-long, blue-green leaves are splashed with red blotches on top, and the bottoms of the leaves are solid maroon. Spikes of yellow flowers enclosed by large reddish-purple bracts bloom in the summer, then develop into small, edible, dark maroon bananas. These are herbaceous plants rather than trees, so their “trunks” are actually red pseudostems made up of overlapping leaf sheaths. After they flower and fruit, Blood Bananas grow new, baby plants to replace the previous ones. They are easy to grow and add color and interest to a patio, around a pool, or even as a houseplant.
Blood Bananas grow best in full sun to partial shade in rich, moist, well-draining soil that is not allowed to dry out. They are hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11.