Spring has yet to officially arrive. The late winter chill that is currently haunting me has left me daydreaming about warm weather and exotic destinations. Like one of my favorite television adverts of all time suggests, I want to 'share the fantasy' with you dear reader. Set your controls to the exotica electric. Today's model comes to us from Southeast Asia and provides enough visual wattage to give anyone a satisfying shock to their system. Let me introduce you to Musa uranoscopus also referred to as the Red Flowering Thai or Torch Banana. Musa uranoscopus and I became acquainted the other day. It sent up this floral flare to let me know that it will not be ignored. On the contrary, it wants to be adored and adore I shall. Simply stunning!
Musa uranoscopus produces glossy, gorgeous green tropical foliage on 5-8 foot tall stems. From spring through summer this ornamental banana heats up the excitement by producing cone-like buds of sizzling scarlet bracts tipped in white-hot yellow color. As the bud matures, the bracts recline to expose tubular yellow and red flowers tipped in chartreuse color. Flowering can last up to 6 months. The look is floral flamethrower beautifully burning! Musa uranoscopus does not become your typical banana tree. It is a tender, suckering perennial. I think for most applications it would look amazing growing in a container that can live in a protected outdoor area during the warmer months of the year or, if you happen to have one, a conservatory. I dream of having a conservatory but I doubt I will ever be so fortunate. So for me, I choose the outdoor deck in summer and indoors in winter. Musa uranoscopus requires fertile, well-draining, acidic soil. It grows optimally in full or part sun, likes regular water, and some humidity if you have it. If it lives outside make sure temps are not dipping below freezing (32 degrees fahrenheit/0 degrees celsius). Also, let it be known that Musas love their fertilizer. So be sure to give it a regular feeding during growing season. Don't you love the idea of growing something as stunning as this plant?! If you can, go for it. If you can't, let it inspire you to grow things that are like it and can thrive in your zones. Or at least, think about booking a vacay to some tropical paradise and remember...share the fantasy.