Imagine bringing a touch of the tropics to your UK garden. Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii,’ commonly known as the Red Abyssinian Banana, is a stunning plant that can turn this dream into reality. With its vibrant red foliage and exotic appearance, ‘Maurelii’ is a showstopper that thrives even in the UK climate. In this guide, we’ll explore the beauty of ‘Maurelii’ and share tips on how to successfully grow and care for this tropical gem in your British garden.

About Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’: Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii,’ hailing from East Africa, is a bold and dramatic plant known for its large, paddle-shaped leaves that unfurl in shades of deep red. Its striking appearance makes it a popular choice for adding a tropical flair to gardens in milder climates.

Growing Conditions: To ensure the success of your ‘Maurelii’ in the UK, consider the following growing conditions:

  1. Hardiness Zone: In the UK , ‘Maurelii’ can thrive in sheltered locations in the southern and coastal areas.
  2. Sunlight: Provide full sun to partial shade for optimal growth. While it loves sunlight, some protection from harsh afternoon sun can prevent leaf scorch.
  3. Soil: Plant ‘Maurelii’ in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Adding compost or well-rotted manure at planting time can enhance soil fertility.
  4. Temperature: This banana plant prefers warm temperatures and while it can withstand occasional light frosts, it’s advisable to protect it during the winter months.

Planting and Maintenance Tips: Follow these steps to plant and care for your Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’:

  1. Planting Depth: When planting, set the crown of the plant at ground level. This ensures proper drainage and helps prevent rot.
  2. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during dry periods. ‘Maurelii’ appreciates regular watering but dislikes waterlogged conditions.
  3. Fertilising: Feed with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer during the growing season. This provides essential nutrients for robust growth and vibrant foliage.
  4. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base to conserve soil moisture and suppress weeds. Mulching also provides a buffer against temperature fluctuations.
  5. Pruning: Remove dead or damaged leaves regularly to maintain a neat appearance. ‘Maurelii’ may not need extensive pruning, but tidying up enhances its aesthetic appeal.
Two images of the Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ or Purple Abyssinian Banana


Overwintering: In the UK, ‘Maurelii’ will require winter protection, especially in colder regions. Consider these steps:

  1. Mulch the Base: Apply a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plant to insulate the roots from cooler temperatures.

  2. Lift & Store: If grown in containers, move them to a greenhouse during the winter. If your ‘Maurelii’ is growing in the ground, simply dig round the roots and lift the whole plant and dry store in a greenhouse, garage or outbuilding. As the plants go dormant in the winter no soil or watering is required. Let your plant drain any stored water then leave inside until late Spring then trim back the dead foliage before replanting when the risk of frosts has passed.

  3. Wrap the Pseudostem: For added protection, wrap the pseudostem with horticultural fleece or burlap, securing it with twine.

Conclusion: Bring the Tropics Home Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’ is not just a plant; it’s a statement piece that transforms your garden into a tropical paradise. By understanding its specific needs and providing the right care, you can enjoy the lush beauty of ‘Maurelii’ in your UK garden. Whether you’re an avid gardener or just starting, this captivating banana plant adds a touch of exotic allure to your outdoor space, making every day feel like a tropical escape.

Eventual Height: 5m

Other names:Ensete ventricosum ‘Rubrum’, Purple Abyssinian Banana, Ethiopian Black Banana.

Images of mature Red Abyssinian Banana or Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’