In addition to being a fabulously interesting and rewarding plant to grow, the banana tree has built-in attractions for the windowsill gardener because it has so many options to choose from. Differences in flavor, in color, in size, and in fruiting capacity are all fascinating options to comb through (and that is before digging into the subject of dwarf plantains!). You really can’t go wrong.

We’re all familiar with the generic yellow banana supplied in grocery stores across the country. However, the wonderfully varied banana family has so much more to offer. There’s a vast number of banana trees out there – all sizes, shapes and colors – and below, I’ve summarized some of the more popular colors advertised as good options for home gardening. Please note that the four color types discussed in this article aren’t necessarily representative of a single variety; they are more along the lines of broad categories than a single cultivar, so be aware that not every advertised plant will follow the general characteristics in the descriptions below.


The yellow banana will always be at the top of the pyramid when it comes to home-grown windowsill bananas. This is the classic; by virtue of being the most popular, yellow-type bananas are the most widely available, with the most diversity in terms of varieties, and at the lowest prices.

There’s a wide variety of seedless dwarf bananas available on the market, and the majority of them are yellow-type fruits. You have the dwarf Cavendish, the super-dwarf, and lady finger, and so many more. If you’re looking for an easy-grow, affordable, and windowsill-friendly banana, you really can’t do better than choosing a variety from the traditional yellow group.


There is a lot of chatter floating around on the internet about the fantastic blue banana, advertised as the “ice cream” banana, the “blue java” banana, and other names. Yes, this banana is blue – but there’s a few things you need to be aware of before you are totally sold on this variety.

First off, you should know that the color is not the brilliant, saturated Windows-encountered-a-problem blue that is often advertised in clickbait articles online. Not going to lie, I love Pinterest too, but you can’t always believe the pictures that unreliable sources upload. In reality, the blue banana is more like blue-tinged than a deeply saturated blue – and as it ripens, the banana still turns yellow.

Additionally, you should be aware that not all blue bananas are seedless. Most are; however, depending on your source, you may end up with seedy fruit. For some, this is a bonus, because it gives you the option of growing the tree from seed. However, the blue banana’s seed germination isn’t any better than other varieties, and you’re up against some pretty steep odds if you purchase these seeds over the internet.

There is absolutely a unique flavor to this banana; maybe not quite an ice cream flavor, but definitely more of a distinctive taste than what you’d get from a supermarket banana. The blue banana isn’t quite as firm as you would normally expect a standard yellow banana to be. This is part of the reason why you won’t typically see a blue banana in your grocery store; they simply won’t survive the transport. If texture is an issue for you, you might want to try before you buy.

Northern growers should also know that the blue banana is not typically as windowsill-friendly as are available in yellow or other color groups. These trees do not tend to be available in dwarf sizes, and will often grow up to 20 feet tall in their natural environment. With that said, do I think this is a super cool tree to grow? Absolutely! I just want to make sure you know what you’re getting into before you purchase.


There’s a long list of red dwarf bananas available on the market, so keep in mind that the characteristics listed in this summary might not run true for the entire group. The red banana group is very striking, but be aware that colors are on somewhat of a spectrum; many tend more towards a burgendy or brown than a bright red. A fun characteristic of the red banana is that the interior of the fruit tends to be uniquely colored also; of course, they won’t be bright, but you’ll get a hint of blush or orange in the soft interior.

The plants themselves are often very distinctive, and if you’re trying to make a statement, the red banana is your go-to. The leaves tend to be very splashy, intermingling the standard green with wide swatches of red that match the color of the banana peels. It’s gorgeous, and although the red dwarf can be a little harder to find than some of the other colored dwarf types, it’s worth the hunt.


The pink banana is arguably one of the flashiest banana colors available. This isn’t a washed-out, hint-of-rose pink; this color banana tends to be a Barbie-handbag hot-hot-hot pink, so put your shades on. While absolutely striking and a fantastic conversation piece, you should be aware that the pink banana is unfortunately not a great option for fresh eating. Often sold as an ornamental, the pink banana types typically have very seedy fruit – and these seeds are HARD (ask me how I know). Bite down on one of those and you can break a tooth.

Despite the need to deseed the fruit, the pink banana is a viable option for home growers who don’t mind the extra work. It’s available in dwarf form, and the fact that it’s seedy allows planting from seed as a propagation option; germination rates are fairly low (again… ask me how I know. It’s a real pain getting these things to sprout), but still, a packet of seeds is usually less pricey than purchasing a started pup.


The options are incredibly varied within these groups, so do your research and make sure you are purchasing from a reliable nursery before you take the plunge. If the nursery doesn’t specifically cater to windowsill gardeners, you might want to talk to an employee to find out whether the variety is small enough to thrive in an indoor, potted growing environment.

Further, try to get a look at customer reviews before you actually put down your money on the plant. Sometimes nurseries are a little less than forthcoming about the failures of their plants, but customers (especially cranky customers) are rarely taciturn. It’s worth your time to comb through whatever information is available to ensure you end up with the perfect tree.

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