Ice Cream Banana Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 8 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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The ice cream banana tree is an exotic banana plant. This paradisiacal tree bears a uniquely sweet banana fruit.

Banana trees come in over a thousand different varieties. However, the appearance and flavor of the ice cream banana help it stand out from the others. These bananas have an intense blue-green hue when they first start to form.

This is where the name “blue java” banana comes from, though the color doesn’t stay this way. As the fruit ripens, the blueish-green will change to a creamy yellow. These bananas are known for their delightful flavor. Ice cream bananas have a soft texture and taste like vanilla ice cream.

Ice cream banana trees are indigenous to Southeast Asia and Northern Australia. These trees thrive in subtropical and tropical climates. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ice cream banana trees can be grown in plant hardiness zones of 8-11.

These trees can be grown indoors or as a patio plant in zones 4-11. Ice cream banana trees are small to medium-sized plants and can grow up to 20 feet tall.  A single plant can produce up to 240 bananas. The bananas have thick skin and can grow up to nine inches in length.

Ice Cream Banana Tree Care

These trees grow best in fertile, well-draining soil. They tend to like soil with a slightly higher level of acidity, usually a pH of 5.5-6.5. Fill the chosen area or pot with a nutrient-rich, sandy loam. You should also mix in mulch for moisture retention. These trees grow in warm temperatures with full to partial sun.

Ice cream banana trees can be planted in a pot or set in the ground. If you’re growing the tree in a pot, make sure the size is at least 20 inches tall and equally wide. Use a space twice that size when planting outdoors.

These trees are typically grown from a rhizome. The rhizome is a rootstalk or mass of stems planted just beneath the soil’s surface. You should water the planted area at least once a day.

When starting to grow, they’ll sprout a thick stem of tightly bound leaves known as a pseudostem. The true stem will rise from the pseudostem 10-15 months after the initial planting of the rhizome. You should water ice cream banana trees 2-3 times a week after they’ve matured.

Ice Cream Banana Tree Harvesting

Ice cream banana trees will be fully grown 15-24 months after planting. After they’ve matured, flowers will appear and start to bloom. These flowers will grow into bananas, which will be ready to be picked around 115 days after.

Clusters of bananas will grow above the purple, tear-shaped banana blossom. These clusters are called “hands”. After the hands are picked, the stem will die. Chopping off the old stem will promote the growth of a new stem, and the new stem will produce fruit for the next harvest.

After ice cream bananas turn yellow, they will ripen similar to other bananas. Greener skin means the banana is less ripe. More yellow skin with brown or black spots will indicate that it’s riper. When ready to consume, you can peel ice cream bananas from stem to end or vice versa.

The inside flesh of an ice cream banana can be eaten raw. They can also be enjoyed as a frozen dessert. Mash, freeze, and add coconut milk to the vanilla-flavored flesh for an ice cream substitute. Ice cream bananas are great for smoothies and mix well with other fruits.

Ice Cream Banana Tree Advice

Ice cream banana trees are grown in the tropics and are surprisingly cold tolerant. The complex root system makes them resistant to the cold and strong winds. Keep the root area moist without flooding it. Ice cream banana trees are self-fertile and don’t require another tree to fruit. By adding a second tree nearby, the size of your crop will increase your yield significantly.

The trees can be grown under the full sun, but some shade can benefit your tree. These trees are often grown in nurseries under a 20-40% shade cloth. This can prevent the trees from being scorched.

It’s best to plant them next to other ice cream banana trees to help with protection from the heat. Keep them away from other plants but not in an area with full exposure to the sun. The area around the stem should stay weeded and free of other plants.

Nearby plants and weeds can take the nutrients from the soil and away from your banana tree. Fertilize your tree once a month during warm weather. Use a fertilizer with a 3-1-6 ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.


Will my indoor ice cream banana tree yield fruit?

Indoor trees can bear fruit, although they may vary in size from their outdoor counterparts.

What is the lifespan of an ice cream banana tree?

Ice cream banana trees will live for six years or so.

What kind of pests are drawn to ice cream banana trees?

Aphids, mealybugs, moths, and other pests may visit your plant. Treat them with an appropriate pesticide.

Is the ice cream banana tree subject to root rot?

Overwatering your trees may cause the roots to rot. To prevent this, plant the trees in free-draining soil, and keep the soil moist without soaking it.