Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii'
Ensete ventricosum 'Maurellii', the Purple Abysinnian Banana is a well-known and magnificent cultivar of the Ethiopian Banana, Ensete ventricosum. The purple variegation on the foliage and the purple colouration on the abaxial surfaces are show-stoppingly beautiful. It has a fast growth habit and year by year becomes more and more wonderful with an ever-increasing display of foliar magnificence and an ever-increasing size and girth of trunk.
Therein lies the rub. This is a tender plant. It will not stand frost. Yes, it's true some growers in extremely favourable and sheltered spots on the southern and southwest coasts may be able to nurse it through a few winters under protection... but more than likely, that is not you. Your best choice is to grow it in larger and larger pots (we are talking large here) for a few years. If you have a large enough conservatory you could keep it inside. Eventually, all procrastination must be put aside and - in the spring - the time will come to plant it outside among your other exotics. It will be fine in the garden for the summer and you can sit back and admire its ever-growing exuberant frenzy of foliage. As the weather cools however, prepare for a little hard work...
You will need to dig it up in early October before the first frosts arrive. Obviously, the larger and heavier the plant has become, the more of a serious task the whole enterprise will be. Once dug up, chop off all the leaves and clean off all the dirt from the roots. You can brush the dirt off or you can turn it upside down and hose the dirt off, allowing it to drain dry. Once dry, keep it dry by placing in a warm dry space over winter. Light is not necesasry as the plant will be dormant. A shed or garage will be fine as long as it is warm. A loft space is ideal. Plant it up again in spring, cutting off any rotted material if necessary.
And enjoy... another year for it to go bananas...
A stunning plant and probably an essential addition to your exotic garden.
|Synonyms||Ensete arnoldianum, Ensete bagshawei, Ensete buchananii, Ensete davyae, Ensete edule, Ensete fecundum, Ensete holstii, Ensete laurentii, Ensete proboscideum, Ensete ruandense, Ensete rubronervatum, Ensete schweinfurthii, Ensete ulugurense, Ensete ventricosum var. montbeliardii, Mnasium theophrasti, Musa arnoldiana, Musa bagshawei, Musa buchananii, Musa davyae, Musa ensete, Musa ensete var. montbeliardii, Musa fecunda, Musa holstii, Musa kaguna, Musa laurentii, Musa martretiana, Musa proboscidea, Musa ruandensis, Musa rubronervata, Musa schweinfurthii, Musa ulugurensis, Musa ventricosa|
|Geographical Origin||Horticultural cultivar: Type species from Africa: Ethiopia|
|Cultivation||Warm sheltered aspect in sun or partial shade. Water and feed well in the growing season. Can be grown in a very large container in a conservatory or under glass or outside in summer, then dug up, cut back and the rootstock and trunk kept dry in winter|
|Hardiness||Herbaceous perennial. Tender. Keep frost-free. If grown outdoors during summer, the entire plant needs to be dug up with foliage cut back, then store it dry in a shed, garage or loft space. Alternatively, grow in a large pot in an atrium or conservatory|
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