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Cliff Banana Plant

CLIFF BANANA (Ensete superbum)


Planting and Care Facts (pdf)Zone: 10-JulSize: 4 Gal., 4-5 Ft.

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SKU: 2100 Categories: ,

Product Description

Note: We’re so sorry… but due to agricultural restrictions we cannot ship any plants to international countries, or the states of California, Hawaii and Alaska. Also, no citrus trees can be shipped outside of the state of Florida.

Cliff Banana – Cold Hardy Cliff Dwellers!

Named for its habit of growing in soil pockets off the limestone cliffs of India, Cliff bananas have beautiful bright green foliage and a massive base. The red flower produces a triangular brown fruit. Great as a focal point in your yard or garden. The plant doesn’t sucker. Trees grow to 12 foot tall.. Zones 8B-10.

Additional Information

Pot Size

4 Gal.

Plant Height

4-5 Ft.

Planting Zone






Choosing the Right Banana Variety…

Thousand Finger Banana FruitGrowing bananas in the tropical climates of zones 10 through 11 are a breeze. They often fruit the first year after planting and continue to produce yearly with good fertilizer and water. Bananas will grow and fruit regularly in the colder regions of the lower south (Zones 8b and 9). It takes two things to be successful: a variety that will fruit in 9 months (most take 2 years) and plenty of water and fertilizer. Bananas are ferocious feeders of nitrogen and potassium. Most of the fruiting bananas we offer are 9 month banana trees.


POLLINATION All bananas are self-pollinating, so different varieties may be planted as desired in the landscape. 


Landscaping with Banana Trees…..

Banana TreesThe broad, flat leaves of the banana stand out in the landscape. Plant them in clumps of three to five for a sunny tropical look. They thrive in low wet spots or on the edges of ponds. Add ginger lilies and sago palms for a jungle of your own. When thinking about what varieties to plant where, remember the different mature heights of the various varieties. Often mixing tall growers like STEVE’S THREE STORY (25 Foot Tall Grower) with shorter growers like ICE CREAM (12-15 Foot Tall Grower) can create a lovely tiered planting. Rojo Banana LeavesOr try mixing some of the more outrageous red foliage varieties like ROJO (8-10 Foot Tall Grower) with the shorter RAJA PURI DWARF (6-8 Foot Tall Grower). It’s ok the mix in ornamental bananas with your fruiting varieties, it won’t effect their ability to fruit.

Bananas have a very shallow root system and dwarf varieties are well suited for containers. Put them in large planters around the pool or out on the patio for a spot of tropical WOW!






Bananas are not picky about soils and thrive in low wet spots. They will grow more vigorously and produce more fruit in full sun. Avoid frost pockets – the longer the growing season, the more tree ripened fruit you will have.


SPACING for bananas depends upon the desired use in the landscape. For individual clumps space 6-8 feet apart. Bananas will form clumps over time, and may be divided as new suckers are formed. All bananas are self-pollinating, so different varieties may be planted as desired in the landscape.


Planting Banana TreesBananas are VERY heavy feeders. The secret for happy, healthy bananas is in the planting hole. You can’t feed a banana too much – this is one plant that needs all the organic matter that it can get.

Dig a planting hole approximately 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep (Yes, you read that right!). Enrich the planting hole with a mix of any kind of organic matter: aged mushroom compost, aged manure, kitchen scraps (no meat or oils!), leaves, and/or rotted pine bark mixed with soil dug from the hole (50:50 mix). Aged mushroom compost or aged manure added to the planting hole or used as mulch is the VERY BEST amendment for bananas.

Remove the banana from the pot, gently loosen the root ball and place in the planting hole. The banana should be planted at or slightly above the same level at which it grew in its pot. Fill the planting hole with the mix of soil and organic matter; gently tamp it in. Water thoroughly to settle the roots and eliminate air pockets. Do fertilize at the time of planting at the rate of ½ cup of organic, balanced fertilizer with micronutrients per hole (Espoma makes a good organic fertilizer). Mix thoroughly into the compost/soil mixture.


MULCHING If desired, construct a water basin around the base of the banana approximately 36 inches in diameter. Maintain a layer of mulch approximately 10-12 inches deep; use whatever organic matter you have. Hay and aged mushroom compost and aged manure are excellent for bananas.



FIRST YEAR PLANTS  Fertilize in late February, late May and late July. The type of fertilizer you choose can be chemical or organic.  Make sure that the fertilizer contains iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, copper and boron.  These minor elements are very important to plants and most soils are low in these elements.  See table below for amounts to use.

See chart below.

10-10-10 or 10-0-10 with minerals

1 cup per each plant


Espoma Citrus Tone



4 cups per plant


Spread the fertilizer evenly under the entire canopy of the plant avoiding a 5-inch area around the trunk. Water or rake in. For Zones 9-10, fertilize 3 times each year in late February.


ESTABLISHED PLANTS Fertilize in February at rate listed above and then every month with 2 cups of 20-0-50 (this is not an organic fertilizer) per plant until first frost. A 20-0-50 fertilizer is needed to promote growth and fruiting. Our recipe for 20-0-50 is:

1 part Urea (or Ammonium Nitrate )  to every 3 parts Murate of Potash


To encourage fruiting on bananas to be grown organically, apply wood ash at the rate of 2 cups per plant monthly.



The first year is the critical time for the establishment of a new banana tree. Water thoroughly
twice a week on light soils and once a week on clay soils. Soak the entire root system deeply – this
usually takes 40-50 minutes. Banana trees should receive at least 1 inch of water each week for best growth
and fruit production. Water regularly, especially during dry periods. Fruit may drop
prematurely if insufficiently irrigated during dry spells.



For best fruiting it is important to limit the amount of suckers in each clump. The life cycle of a banana sucker is to grow, fruit and die, so new suckers are needed to continue the fruiting of the clump. The best system is 3 trunks staggered in age from fruiting size to newly emerging suckers. The right way to achieve this is to pick a new sucker every 3 or 4 months during the active growing season. In colder regions where the leaves have died from winter freezes it may be necessary to remove the dead tips of the trunks to help new growth emerge. Start at the top of the plant and cut a few inches off, looking for the green live center.


Root rot and nematode damage are the two most common ailments of a banana plant. Root rot may occur in cold, wet winters, especially on newly established or freeze-damaged plants. Take care to mulch the clumps with hay during freezes, and waiting until spring to plant young plants will help avoid these problems. Nematode damage can be avoided by planting the banana correctly with lots of organic matter and heavily mulching the entire root zone.


Always remember that good disease resistance begins with the health of the plant. Plants stressed from lack of water, not enough sun or being under fed are more susceptible to disease and insects.  Maintaining good sanitation practices in the orchard is most important. The removal of diseased and deadwood, and picking up fallen or rotting fruit off the trees as it occurs, will go a long way in keeping disease and insects at a minimum. Spray at first sign of an issue, rather than waiting until the problem is out of hand will go a long way to keeping your plants healthy and fruiting properly.




The secret to fruiting your bananas in Zones 8b and 9 is in (1) choosing the right varieties and (2) feeding them right. We stock varieties that fruit in our 9-month growing season, but food and water are both critical. You don’t have to push your bananas unless you want the fruit – they’ll be beautiful anywhere they grow. Nine month bananas fruit after they have produced about 40-42 leaves on a stalk. Essentially they are big bulbs. So, we have to feed them enough to produce leaves and then yet more food to produce and ripen the flower stalk. If you live in Zone 8b though 9a and cold weather arrives before your plants flower, they will often re-sprout in the spring and produce fruit the second year. People in colder regions can dig the bulbs up and store in a basement to replant the following spring.

The first step is planting them right. Lots and lots and lots of organic matter goes in the oversized planting hole we described above. Next, plenty of water. We strongly recommend micro-sprinkler irrigation. Beginning the second year the bananas are in the ground, use 20-0-50 fertilizer as directed. Wood ash is also a good potassium source and you can use it yearly on bananas. Follow our advice, and weather permitting, you’ll get bananas.



TROPICAL ZONES Folks living in the tropical areas of the country may not receive any freeze damage on their plants. On an occasional cold winter they may have just the tops and tips damaged. On those years it will necessary to remove the dead leaves and tips of the trunks to help new growth emerge in the spring. On dead tips start at the top of the plant and cut a few inches off, looking for the green live center.


FOR ZONE 7B Bananas are quite winter hardy in these zones but are often killed to the ground. If you want fruit on your banana trees they must be protected from winter cold. We suggest that the plants be surrounded by a wire cage and mulched heavily with leaves. The cage should be topped with tarpaper or plastic to keep the trunk dry in the winter. Remove the cage and mulch in the spring after it warms.


FOR ZONE 7A AND COLDER In theses area winter often kills the trees, but you can still grow banana with some success. In the fall choose the strongest trunks and cut off to 6 to 8 foot. Dig up the trunks and store for the winter in a basement or garage that stays above freezing.