Blue Java Banana: The Ice Cream Banana Plant

Ed Wike
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Quick Care Guide

The Blue Java Banana, also known as the Ice Cream Banana, is a houseplant that originated in Southeast Asia, more than 2,000 years ago. The fruit of this plant is delicious and can be eaten at any stage in maturity, although some people prefer to wait until the fruit is fully ripe before eating it.

The leaves of this plant are long and dark green. Despite the appearance of the leaves, this is not a large plant. The Blue Java Banana rarely grows taller than a foot in height, and it should be repotted every six to seven years to help it maintain a healthy growth cycle.

The Blue Java Banana has roots, just like all houseplants, but it will not survive having a single soil particle touching the surface of the roots. This means that the top inch of every pot must be filled with gravel. This method protects the delicate leaves of the plant and also prevents the soil from breaking down.

The Blue Java Banana should not be exposed directly to sunlight, as the leaves will burn. This plant appreciates a light surrounding that is around 75 to 100 watts per square meter, so it can thrive indoors. The humidity level should hover between 50 and 70 percent, and the Blue Java Banana should be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch.

All About Blue Java Banana

One of the most popular houseplants for creating drama indoors is the Blue Java Banana. In addition to being striking to the eye, it is also a very opulent and luscious species of the Araceae family.

The Blue Java Banana is also sometimes known as the “Blue Ice Cream Plant,” as well as the “Hilo Ice Cream Banana.”

This species of plant is so exquisitely ornamental and intriguing, that it is often displayed in the lobbies of major hotels and restaurants in the tropics where it is famous for its giant leaves (up to 15 feet in length!) and hot pink flowers.

This plant is unique in that it is grown outdoors in U.S., as well as indoors in cooler regions. Once you learn about this plant, it's easy to see why it can be grown both ways.

Blue Java Banana Care

Let's start with the basics. What is Bananas Blue Java? This is a variety that has medium-sized, elongated, pea-sized fruit with a dark green color. The fruits have a creamy texture that is more firm than that of its cousin, the red Java.

When fresh off the plant, these fruits are mildly tart, yet sweet. When it comes to the fruit's pulp, similar to the red Java, you can prepare several delicious dishes. Before I get into those, let's take a look at the plant's care requirements and history.

First, these plants are slow growing. It takes them about 10 months before you can expect to see fruits, depending on your growing conditions. What makes them so special is that they produce a very light harvest in very late winter. B.J. bananas can be harvested in late winter and early spring.

Sun and Temperature

You are unlikely to find a climate that is suitable for the Blue Java Banana purely by default. It needs a lot of heat, light, sun, and water. However, this plant is much more resistant to colder temperatures than its green counterparts.

On top of that, banana trees in general are hard to kill when it comes to temperature … even minus 50 degrees.

The Blue Java banana plant will also come with a high humidity level.

But it needs a lot of sun, which means you want a plant that gets plenty of direct sunlight. So these are all things you need to consider when wanting to grow the Blue java banana plant.

Water and Humidity

Blue Java Bananas (or Fruit Plantains) have moderate to low light needs, but high water and humidity requirements. You can grow them outside but you'll have to plant them in a location protected from the cold where they will get enough water and humidity. A container is a great choice for growing them inside.

Blue Java Bananas like to be kept moist in the soil, and they won't lose their leaves if they get dry. Direct sunlight is only recommended for newly sprouted seedlings. After that, you need to protect them from the sun to keep your plantains from getting a sunburn. If your plantains get sunburnt, you will need to treat them with an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to prevent them from getting blisters. Blue Java Bananas don't really do well growing indoors anyway. If you keep them indoors, avoid using incandescent lights, which raise the temperature in your room. Use a fluorescent light or a cold light.

Blue Java Bananas are known to be great at propagating. After you grow one from seeds, you can start replanting the baby offshoots you get from the main plant. You can also plant these in pots and make it grow outside if you're in a cold region and you'll need to plant it in the ground.


Potting Soil, Blend or Perlite?

When you have decided that you want to start with a plan plant, the first question that might pop up is in regards to what type of soil you should use. You might wonder which one is the best for your new plant, as each of them has their own benefits and drawbacks. To help you out on that matter, the following information might come in handy.

The one that you use depends on the plant itself. Should you decide to use any of the three there is one that would be considered to be much more suitable.

First you have to know what plants grow in each of the three types of soils that we have mentioned. You see, there are plants that can grow better in each one while others would flourish regardless of what soil you use. So, if you use the wrong type it might result in the plant's death.

You can have plants that are suitable for garden use and one's made for houseplants. Therefore, if you are not going to plant them outside, you might want to get a type designed for houseplants.

Some of the plants that are suitable for houseplants are the African violets, those that are really high maintenance and really easy to over-water, and the kinds of plants that are used to small pots.


The key to keeping your bananas happy is giving them the proper nutrients and maintaining consistent soil and water.

Banana trees use their wide-spreading roots to draw up nutrients deep from the soil, far from the nitrogen-fixing roots of other plants. The most important part in keeping them healthy, then, is providing the right nutrients.

The quintessential banana fertiliser mixture is composed of three parts compost, one part superphosphate, one part potash, and one part bone meal. This mix will give them everything they need to grow and produce fruit. If you do not have access to a banana tree, you can blend the individual fertilisers and apply them separately.

Application is straightforward. First, give the trees plenty of soaking and quick-draining water through drip irrigation. In the winter, you should make sure the soil gets plenty of water to prevent the roots from shrivelling. Next, take a hand rake and work the compost into the soil, sprinkling the other fertilisers over the top. The compost comes first because when mixed with the soil, it attracts the other fertilisers. This way you get the most out of the mixture.

Potassium nitrate, which is not readily available to the average person, can be sourced through some garden centres. Potassium nitrate supplements your fertiliser mix, supplying the plant with more potassium, but also helping the process of photosynthesis.


Blue Java banana plants can be pruned by cutting back new growth to the base of the main stem (the trunk-like structure), leaving one leaf above the cut. This is a fast and effective way to correct any growth problems, but it must be done correctly.

{1}. First, cut back the offending growth to the base of the plant.
{2}. Next, choose the best new growth from the bunch to take as the new main stem. You should choose with care, as numerous growth nodes along the stem can be removed.
{3}. Finally, choose a healthy leaf above the cut to be the new leader (top) of the main stem.

After pruning, there will be a few leaves above the cut where the new leader begins. They can be regularly trimmed down to the new leader to keep the stem clean. And if you choose a leaf that has not been pruned in awhile, the hormone that is released in response to the injury will cause the new leader to grow very quickly. This new growth should be trimmed back to the leader as soon as possible in order to prevent any damage or stress to the plant. Another benefit of pruning is that it can be used to encourage new growth on leaves that are too large.


Starting from a very young age, you should help your plant bear fruit. First, you will notice that your banana stalk has started to grow from the top of the plant. This is the part where the fruit will start to form. The best way to produce ripe fruit each and every time is to always allow the bananas to ripen.

Be sure to water your plant when it is in need of water. Also, you should keep it in a place that has direct sunlight. However, you should not keep it in direct sunlight for long periods of time. The heat from sunlight can actually burn your plant.

After a blue Java banana plant has reached the ripe stage, you can pick them if you want to. If you want left over bananas go ahead and pick them. You can let the bananas hang, because they will become sweeter as they hang. Usually the ripest bananas will be higher on the fruit stalk. Once you have picked your ripe fruit, you can throw the fruit that you did not pick into the ground. This is how the plant can grow. You should take care of the babies that form off of the fallen fruits.


Propagation is one of the more simple aspects of keeping a banana plant. Banana plants propagate naturally, however they can also be propagated by cuttings.

To propagate via cuttings, cut the top off of a mature female banana plant. This particular plant is ready for planting when it starts to produce flowers and fruit. Be sure to keep right below the heavy bunch of bananas or the 80 or so baby bananas. After cutting, wrap the cutting with a damp paper towel and place the cutting in a zip lock bag with a dampened paper towel to keep the air humid. Place the bag in a warm location.

To be successful with the cutting method, when the plant is a few inches tall, plant the cutting directly into rich soil. You will want to make sure that the soil is well drained, but not overly dry. Water the plant when the soil becomes dry.

Harvesting and Storing

You can harvest blue Java bananas when they turn from green to almost black, if you plan to use them as a fruit. At this stage, you can eat them, or you can leave them outside for a couple of days to ripen, so that they're the same color on the inside as they are on the outside. You must then refrigerate them for two or three days to allow them to continue ripening. After two or three days in the refrigerator, they're ready to use as ice cream, with the consistency of soft serve.

If you plan to use them as a banana, you can remove and discard the black skins once they've ripened to about the same color on the inside and out. The black skin of these bananas creates an inedible coating when they're frozen, so don't choose bananas that are lighter on the inside than they are on the outside.

To use the bananas as ice cream, peel the black skins off, cut them into slices, then add your favorite toppings and enjoy them as they melt.

If you plan to use the bananas for ice cream, you can accomplish the freezing and ripening in stages. Before you use the bananas at all, however, you need to ripen them to the same color on the inside and out, just as you would if you were going to eat them or serve them as a fruit.


Blue java bananas are not a cultivar of a Musa species, it is actually a completely different genus, Ensete. It is native to Africa and shares the same growing conditions.

The root of the plant contains substance called pseudostem which is toxic if not cooked properly. So, before having the meal, cook the pseudostems with a variety of greens and meat into a vegetable stew that contains alkaloids.

The most amazing part of the blue java banana is its taste.

According to their fans, its creamier, sweeter, and its fleshier.

However, I’d say its most amazing feature is it’s ability to change the flavor of the ice cream it makes.

During the harvest, it is important to thaw the skin of the fruit immediately. After that slice the pseudostem vertically to access the ice cream.

The most interesting part of this recipe is that it requires no special equipment. In fact you only need a spoon, a bowl, and a plate.

The rest are the basics you surely have: bananas, plantains, sugar, peanuts, salt, cocoa, and nuts.

The blue java banana also has a long shelf life. It remains in perfect condition for more than a month without being refrigerated. They stay fresh for at least up to three months.


It won't always work, but we've found that sometimes, if we leave a bunch of ripe bananas in a brown paper bag in the refrigerator, the result is not a brown paper bag full of mushy bananas, but a blue ice cream, yummy banana with a creamy consistency. It's freeze dried, so it's not like a fresh banana, but it's a treat, nevertheless.

The key to this particular trick is to keep the bananas in their own bag, separate from the other fruit in the fridge. This will keep them from coming in contact with ethylene gas, the plant hormone that triggers the ripening process and eventually turns a banana from yellow to brown.

The ethylene gas will keep on working on the bananas in the bag, however, and eventually the little guys will begin to turn black. Don't worry: it will still work. Once black, the bananas will continue to develop an even deeper banana flavor. They might even become a little sweeter.

When the black bananas are as sweet and soft as you like them, simply (and carefully) cut out the black parts, put them in your blender and add fresh milk, vanilla, and some honey or agave syrup.


Plant Problems: A Guide for Ice Cream Bananas

Your blue java banana is a fruiting, ornamental plant with bright green leaves, clusters of green flowers, and that ripens into an banana-shaped edible fruit. Typically, those fruit are yellow-green but can be red-brown when fully ripe.

Sometimes, the fruit color can vary depending on growing conditions.

The plant has a tentacle at the top for a yellow flower spike. It will have bright green leaves and will resemble a cluster of leaves that stay close to each other and have green and purplish stems.

If your blue java banana is not displaying these characteristics, you may need to troubleshoot. There are a few factors to consider if you’re experiencing the following symptoms.

First, you may have too much or too little water. The plant likes to have moist but well-draining soil. If there is too much water, it will turn brown and uproot easily or it may turn brown or black. You can solve the problem by watering less frequently or by purchasing a tray of salted gravel. This helps reduce the amount of water available to the plant.


The Blue Java Banana is a scientifically proven novelty houseplant perfect for adding a tropical jungle look to your room. Its glossy leaves are deep green and blue, and it produces small white flowers all year long. Besides that, the Blue Java Banana is also known for being a practical pet, since the leaves react to touch.

Blue Java Banana is one of the best plants to monitor for pests. This is because they grow on vines and hang from the ceiling when they are mature, which means that common house pests will have to work extra hard to reach them. This is great for protecting your plants, but also for scaring away pests even when you are not there to monitor and remove pests.

While it is great to have such a unique plant, it is also important to take care of it. Since Blue Java Banana is a tropical plant, you must remember to water Blue Java Banana daily to keep it thrives. Make sure the soil is moist at all times and never let it dry out. Also, it helps to water the plant at the time of the day when it will receive the most sunlight.

Another thing you need to know about Blue Java Banana is that it is susceptible to pests just like any other houseplant. The most common pest for Blue Java Banana are spider mites, so it is very important to check your plant every time you water it to control pests in time.


Bananas are popular fruits that grow well in tropical and subtropical climates. They are commonly eaten raw and are used to make cakes and ice cream.

Their popularity is due to the fact that they are extremely easy to grow and have delicious fruit. While their popularity may not seem to need any enhancing, it actually is since they are not common throughout the world.

The most commonly cultivated plants in this family are the Cavendish variety. This is due to the fact that they are high-yielding and easily stored for long periods.

Other banana varieties are limited to growing in tropical climate similar to their ancestors. What sets them apart from their cousins is the fact that they are smaller in length and have more prominent ridges. Plus, they have a thick peal making them difficult to transport and store. For these reasons, most more exotic varieties are not eaten raw, and they are used to make ice cream.

This is the case with the popular ice cream banana plant. This plant is affected on a genetic level and produces sweet ice cream bananas. The plant is also smaller in size, and it requires less nutrients than normal bananas do.

Although all bananas have a wide range of nutrients, the Ice Cream banana is considered to be the most nutritious of them all. The plant does not, however, thrive in all environments. It requires a lot of sunlight and heat.

Frequently Asked Questions

As this plant can reach 6 to 8 feet tall, watch that it isn't blocking sunlight to other houseplants. Java Bananas can grow up to 4-5 feet, but in the landscape, they are generally kept shorter so they aren’t vulnerable to wind damage if it was to occur.