Background Banana is largely grown in tropical and subtropical climates. It is rich in various food components and has quite a high economic value. Unavailable ecological and agricultural conditions cause quantitative and qualitative losses in banana cultivation. Along with global climate change, drought stress is becoming prominent day by day. Methods and results Micropropagation and rooting performance of Azman and Grand Naine banana cultivars were investigated under in vitro drought stress conditions. The expression levels of four different genes of CDPK gene family in leaf and root tissues of the rooted plants were determined with the use of qRT-PCR. Greater expression levels of four MaCDPK genes were seen in Azman cultivar than in Grand Naine cultivar. MaCDPK9 and MaCDPK21 had greater expression levels in root tissue and MaCDPK1 and MaCDPK40 genes in leaf tissues. Conclusions Response of different banana cultivars to in vitro drought stress was determined in this study. The expression levels of the genes of CDPK gene family with a significant role in drought stress had significant contributions in elucidation of banana plant response to drought stress.