Last year my friend Jordan Steele of Coral Gables, gave me a pup of the most extraordinary banana the 'Ae Ae'. The Ae Ae banana is a beautiful banana plant; with variegated leaves, petioles and fruits it is simply amazing. Here are some pictures for you to enjoy and more information about this specimen.
Family: Musaceae •
Genus: Musa •
Species: 'Ae Ae' •
Country of Origin: Hawaii •
Synonyms: Sacred Banana, Koae, Hawaiian Variegated, Koa'e, Manini •
Common Names: Ae Ae •
According to Bananas.org's Wiki, A'e A'e means 'hair prematurely graying". No one knows where the Ae Ae was first found as Hawaii has no native bananas. They may have gotten the Ae Ae the same way we did, from the East. It's been in south Florida for 50 years, according to Mr. Steele (Banana's.org Wiki, 2001).
Some have found it a challenge to grow, but I have had amazing growth in just one year. I received mine from Jordan on August 30, 2010 here is a picture of me with the little pup on his website My Ae Ae's Brother As you can see, in less than a year I have a twenty foot plant with numerous pups.
My whole backyard is mulch now and it has really helped with growth. I gave it supplemental water through winter and left on all the dead leaves for added insulation. Grows well outside here in South Florida in full morning to midday sun, with heavy mulching, minimal supplemental watering and no fertilizer to date. Here is more cultural information from Banana's.org:
More information can be found about this variety and others at Bananas.orgGrows well in moderate to high humidity. Will get brown spots in low humidity. Does well under artificial lighting (standard fluorescent grow lighting). Likes to be watered regularly. Feed heavily (10-10-10) to keep green to white balance. Higher nitrogen helps to maintain greener leafs. It's been stated that Ae Ae like acid soil, but this plant has been grown successfully in highly alkaline soil and water conditions (7.0pH in Las Vegas, NV US)[Author's note 8.2pH here in South Florida]. Appears to be less susceptible to root and corm rot in higher pH. Likes a very light and well-drained soil if grown in pots. Due to its mature height, needs good ceiling clearances if grown indoors. In dry climates this plant has not demonstrated any of the difficulties that other growers in higher humidity climates have discussed. Needs lots of sun protection as the white area of each leaf will burn very easily. Does not like higher temps but has shown survivability in temps well over 105° F in a Mediterranean climate (Banana's.org Wiki, 2001).
Banana's.org Wiki, . (2001, August 3). Musa 'ae ae'. Retrieved from http://www.bananas.org /wiki/Musa_%27Ae_Ae%27
Steele, J. (n.d.). My ae ae's brother. Retrieved from http://togofcoralgables.com/MyAeAesBrother.aspx
Musa 'Ae Ae' by Eric Bronson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.