Plantain Growing Guide

Musa × paradisiaca, other Musa hybrids


Crop Rotation Group



Fertile, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant

No. Plantains are tropical plants with little tolerance for cold. They are hardy only to about 25°F (-4°C).


Feed monthly with a balanced organic fertilizer.


Single Plants: 5' 10" (1.80m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 5' 10" (1.80m) with 5' 10" (1.80m) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

In tropical climates, plantains can be planted year-round. Dig and replant small pups from an existing clump, or start with purchased plants. In areas where plantains are grown commercially, biosecurity measures to control pests and diseases may affect your choice of plants. Maintain steady soil moisture after planting plantain. Plantains need plenty of moisture and nutrients to support strong growth. When planting multiple plantains, allow 6 feet (1.8 m) between plants. Each plant will send up basal shoots to form a clump. Most plantains grow to about 15 feet (4.5 m) tall.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Plantains and bananas are closely related plants that are grown the same way but produce very different fruits. Bananas, sometimes called sweet bananas or dessert bananas, are much sweeter than starchy plantains, which are always cooked. The fruiting process requires eight months or more of warm temperatures ranging from 70°F (21°C) at night to above 80°F (27°C) during the day.


Plantains are harvested by the bunch. A bunch is ready to cut when the dried flowers at the ends of the fruits rub off easily with your fingers.


Plantain leaves often split in response to strong winds, which can sometimes pull plants over. If you live where plantains or bananas are grown commercially, take the time to learn about locally abundant pests of bananas and plantains.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Plantain