How to grow papaya?

Fresh papaya is absolutely a delight, but if it’s too premature, you’re going to have to wait a while for this tasty fruit to become fully ripe. This is a hassle many people can relate to. However, if you’re someone who gets a little impatient, there are a few different ways to ripen up your papaya much faster. Three of the most common tricks include putting your papaya in a paper bag, putting it in rice and wrapping it in a cotton cloth. By taking advantage of these easy tips, ripening papaya will be a quick and easy job.

Put your papaya in a brown paper bag

If you’re confused as to how to ripen papaya quickly, simply start by acquiring a brown paper bag. Why does this work? Every kind of fruit known to man has ethylene, a natural gas that gets released as it the fruit ages. Now, when you put your papaya in this paper bag, the bag holds the gases in and thus speeds up the ripening process. However, it’s important to ensure the bag remains dry, away from the sun and is always in room temperature. This will ensure the ripening process occurs as quick as possible. Just be sure to check on the papaya once or twice a day!

Stick your papaya in rice

Like mentioned above, fruits release the gas ethylene. By submerging your papaya in rice, the fumes will get trapped and the ripening process will again happen at a much faster and more effective rate. It is important to note that using this method should only be used for papayas that have a hard skin. If your papayas have softer skin, you’ll either want to use the paper bag method or the following method, the cotton cloth.

The kind of rice that you decide to submerge your papaya in will not mater in the least bit. It doesn’t matter if it’s brown rice, wild rice or even white rice. They all work just as effectively as the next one. This rice process can also be applied to avocados as well.

Wrap your papaya in a cotton cloth

To speed up the ripening process using this method, you’ll first need a linen cloth or a cotton cloth of some sort. Make sure the cloth you choose is clean. Once you have your linen or cotton cloth, find yourself a nice flat surface to lay your cloth out on. Spread it out evenly and lay your papaya onto the cloth. It’s important to note that you should always lay your papaya onto the cloth with the stem side pointing downward.

Another thing you’ll want to do is give each fruit lying on the cloth a little space between each other. After you have all the fruit laying on the cloth, you’ll now want to cover the fruit with that same cloth. If the cloth is not big enough to completely wrap the fruit, you’ll want to use another cloth made of the same material to help ensure your papaya is totally wrapped. This method, along with the paper bag method, is great for papayas with a softer skin.

All of these methods listed above can be also be used for a wide selection of other fruits including lemons, limes, cranberries, pomegranates, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, grapes, watermelons, oranges, blackberries and many other kinds of fruits as well. Although these methods for speeding up the ripening process work well, you’ll also want to take advantage of the tips listed below. By doing so, you can prevent your papaya turn out great.

Special tips for the ripening process

There are a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re ripening your papaya. First, what is the right temperature to ripen your papaya? The proper temperature should be between 72 to 82°F. By ripening your papaya at this average temperature, your papaya will not only have a good-looking skin, they’ll also be extremely tasty as well.

Check out: What Does Papaya Taste Like? A Guide to Enjoying This Exotic Fruit

Ripening your papaya above the temperature of 86°F will simply put your fruit in a retarded state. There is no reason for the temperature to be this high. In fact, ripening your papaya at this temperature can lead to mushy fruit and eventually rotting.

Another thing that you’ll want to keep in mind is that papayas that have been previously stored in a room with a temperature of 50°F will ripen faster. This is why it’s best to buy your papayas from a grocery store or market that keeps their fruit in an area with a temperature of 50°F.

In addition to this, you can also apply an Ethylene treatment of 10 to 100 ppm to help speed up the ripening process. Once you begin ripening with ethylene, the process will then take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. If after you apply an Ethylene treatment you keep the room a temperature of 72 to 82°F, your papayas will be ripe in 1 to 2 weeks.

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Allison Cartwright has been writing professionally since 2009. Cartwright has published several eBooks on craft and garden-related subjects. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas.

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How to Ripen Papaya in 2 Days for Perfect Flavor

If you’ve ever purchased a green papaya, you know how frustrating it can be to wait for the big fruit to ripen. If you’re not patient enough, you might slice the green papaya open to find the fruit overly firm with a bitter bite. But there are some tricks for how to ripen papaya quickly, and I’m going to share them with you.


Follow the steps below and you’ll find that ripening a papaya at home is actually an easy process that only takes a couple of days. As you’ll see, there are a few different methods to choose from.

How Ripe Should Your Papaya Be?

Papaya changes colors as it ripens, slowly turning from green to yellow. When then first swathes of yellow appear on the fruit, it has started to ripen.

Over time (sometimes weeks) the papaya continues to change colors. The flesh of the fruit softens and sweetens, and with practice you can feel when the fruit has become soft enough to eat.

When the fruit is mostly or completely yellow and the flesh is soft to the touch, the papaya is perfectly ripe and ready to eat. Slice it open now and you’ll be rewarded with the sweet and succulent fruit that you are hoping for.


Don’t wait too long! If you allow a papaya to become too ripe, the fruit will begin to spoil and patches of mold will appear on its skin. When you slice it open, you will find that the fruit has become mushy and bland.

If your fruit is ripe but you’re not ready to eat it yet – place it in the refrigerator. Refrigeration can slow the ripening process and buy you some extra time. Fully ripe papaya flesh can be preserved for several days in the refrigerator. And it can be stored indefinitely in a freezer at 0F.

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

Ripening a papaya at home is simple and straightforward. There are only a few items you will need, and there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find everything you need in your kitchen or pantry.

Required Materials

  • 1 green papaya
  • 1 paper bag, big enough to hold the papaya
  • 1 sharp knife

Purchasing Your Green Papaya

As mentioned above, an unripe papaya will be completely green, with little or no yellow visible on its skin. When you lightly squeeze the papaya with your fingers, you will find that the flesh below is firm and does not give when you apply pressure with your fingers. This is the perfect fruit to start with.

There are two effective methods to ripen a papaya quickly. Both of these methods will result in a fully ripe papaya in about 2 days. If you have a green papaya that you absolutely need to serve tomorrow, use both methods together for the fastest results.

Option #1 – Place the Papaya Inside a Paper Bag

That’s right! It’s just that simple. Much like the method you would use to ripen and avocado, you simply place the unripe papaya inside a paper bag. Place the bag on your counter or inside your pantry and wait. Within 2 or 3 days your papaya will soften, turn yellow, and take on the sweet succulent flavor you’re craving.

The reason why this works is that moisture ripens the fruit. And papayas actually release moisture during the ripening process. In normal conditions, the papaya remains relatively dry because the moisture that is released by the ripening fruit evaporates into the surrounding air.

When you place the papaya inside a paper bag, the bag acts as an insulator and helps to retain much of the moisture that is released by the fruit. By capturing the fruit’s own moisture, you can quickly speed up the ripening process. Keep the bag out of direct sunlight to retain as much moisture as possible.

To add even more moisture inside the bag, you can include another piece of fresh fruit like an apple or a banana. Here is a short video from Kin’s Farm Market to show you how it’s done:

Option #2 – Lightly Score the Papaya Skin with a Blade

The papaya’s skin protects the fruit from moisture and greatly slows down the ripening process. This is a natural adaptation to ensure that the seed inside the fruit has time to mature. But you can “hack” this natural phenomenon by scoring the skin of the papaya with a sharp knife blade.

When you do this, try not to penetrate the actual flesh of the papaya. You’re only trying to score the skin of the fruit, and your cuts should be no more than about 1/16 of an inch deep – very shallow. Run the blade lengthwise across the fruit, making incisions that are about an inch apart.

Leave the flattest half or quarter of the fruit uncut and face the uncut section downwards when you put the papaya on the counter to ripen. After being scored in this way, your green papaya should be ripe and ready to eat within 2 or 3 days.

You can see the technique in this short video:

A light-colored sticky “sap” will ooze from each incision in the papaya’s skin. This liquid substance is called papain*. Dried papain is used as a medicine in many traditional cultures, and has also been studied by biological chemists for its potential to control tumors.


Although it is used as a medicine, papain does contain toxic latex compounds which can cause reactions in people whose skin is sensitive to latex. Symptoms include skin irritation and blisters.

Handle this substance with care and protection, and wash your hands and tools immediately after coming into contact with papain. Avoid papain altogether if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Allergy to latex
  • Allergy to kiwi fruit
  • ​Allergy to figs
  • Blood clotting disorders

Option #3 – Do Both

If you have a green papaya that you absolutely need to serve tomorrow, you can combine options 1 & 2 above to ripen your papaya as quickly as possible.

Score the papaya’s skin as detailed in option #2, then place it inside a paper bag as detailed in option #1. Place the bag on a flat surface out of direct sunlight, and your papaya should be ripe enough to eat within a day.

Because the ripening process is unpredictable and varies across individual fruits, it is always best to allow 2 or 3 days for ripening, if possible.

Perfect Papaya Flavor is Only a Few Days Away

So you see, you only need a few simple tools to enjoy that perfect sweet papaya flavor as quickly as possible. I hope that you find this information to be useful, and I hope that your green papaya will be ripe and soft when you cut it open to enjoy the sweet flavor.

Waiting for these tropical treats can be a little frustrating, but you can speed that process up from 2 weeks to only 2 days by using the simple techniques above.

When you’re purchasing papaya – try to select a fruit that has already started to ripen. You’ll have better success with these methods if the fruit is already showing large swathes of yellow color on its skin. Choose wisely and follow the instructions above, and you can enjoy a perfectly ripe papaya in only 2 short days.

Use the comments section below to let me know if these tricks worked for you. And if you know another trick to ripen a papaya, please leave a comment below to share it with the rest of us!

Learn how to grow papaya tree. Growing papaya is perfect for gardeners who like to grow easy to grow fruit trees. Papaya tree care is simple, it is low maintenance and productive.

USDA Zones— 9 – 11

Difficulty— Easy

Other Names— Banane de Prairie, Caricae Papayae Folium, Carica papaya, Carica peltata, Carica posoposa, Chirbhita, Erandachirbhita, Erand Karkati, Green Papaya, Mamaerie, Melonenbaumblaetter, Melon Tree, Papaw, Pawpaw, Papaya Fruit, Papayas, Papaye, Papaye Verte, Papayer, Papita.

Papaya (Carica papaya L.) is native to the tropics of Mexico and Central America. This fruit for high nutritional value, great taste and medicinal properties.

Papaya is mainly consumed as a fruit, but it is also used for making soft drinks, juices, pickles, jams, and curries. It produces latex that is extracted from the green fruit and stem, which contains an enzyme called papain that helps in digestion of proteins.

Plant Characteristics

Papaya is a herbaceous plant of relatively rapid growth and short life (not profitable to cultivate mature plants for longer than 3 years because the fruit yield gets low). It has a hollow, segmented and erect single stem and no branches. It presents a many large, lobed leaves. The plant height can reach up to several meters.

The fruit has a wide variety of forms, its shape and size vary depending on the variety and type of flower.


If you’re growing papaya you must know that papayas come in three sexes: Male, female and hermaphrodite (bisexual). Male papaya trees must be eliminated as they don’t produce fruits. Female papaya trees require male tree for pollination. In orchards and papaya plantations, generally, 1 male tree per 10 female trees is grown. Bisexual papaya trees are self-pollinating and don’t require male trees for pollination. Commercial growers plant them. You will need to plant either female or bisexual papaya tree.

To learn how to identify male or female papaya, tree read this informative discussion on helpful gardener

Our recommendation for you is to buy seeds from quality source so that you know what you’re buying and to get a self-fertile bisexual tree. Most of the hybrid varieties that are coming are either bisexual or female, it is better to buy them. If you’re sowing seeds obtained from the fruits, choose seeds from elongated fruits instead of rounded fruits. Elongated fruits have 66% probability of hermaphrodite (bisexual) seeds and 33% female seeds.

Cross pollination from hand is required for pollination of female papaya trees.

How to Grow Papaya in Pots

Growing papaya in pots is not difficult, considering it is short living small tree. You can grow any papaya variety in pots but it is better to choose a dwarf variety.

Choosing a container

Choose a large 15-20 gallon size container for growing papaya in pots, also, ensure there are enough drainage holes in the bottom before planting. A pot that is around 18-22 inches in diameter and 12-15 inches deep would be sufficient.

Sow the seeds directly in the pot you wish to use for growing papaya tree as papayas don’t transplant well. All the other growing requirements are given below in the article.

Growing Papaya from Seeds

Seeds must be given treatment before sowing for germination. The first method is to simply wash the seeds to remove gelatinous coating before sowing. Another method is to immerse them in a container full of neutral water for the period of 4 days. Change the water twice in a day. After 2 days of soaking, separate the seeds that are floating on the surface from those that have settled down.

Leave the seeds that are settled down for another day. After this time, the seeds that float up again must be removed. This way only the viable papaya seeds are left. On the last day when changing the water, add fungicides in it.

After this process, keep the seeds on cotton cloth for 2 to 3 days, keeping up the seeds wet. Once the white dot in them can be observed they are ready for sowing.

Proceed to sow the seeds directly on the ground or in the pot or seed tray but remember that papaya trees don’t transplant well and you’ll have a low success rate. Seeds will germinate in 2-3 weeks. Optimum germination temperature is around 70 F (20 C).

Planting Papaya Tree

Once the seedlings germinate sow them directly in a spot as papayas have less success rate when transplanted.

Prepare the ground well before planting. Make a hole in soil that is of the same depth as of rootball of the plant but twice wide. Apply slow release 16-48-0, 18-46-0 or balanced 15-15-15 fertilizer according to the product instruction at the base of the hole, fill it with a thin layer of soil to prevent the plant roots from coming in direct contact with the fertilizer.

The base of each plant should be 1 cm above ground level, to prevent rot at the stem base. After transplanting, a fungicide can be applied to ensure greater protection especially if planting during the rainy season.

How to Grow Papaya Tree in Cold Climate

Papaya is a tropical fruit tree but if you are thinking to plant it in a temperate climate plant it in a large pot and try to overwinter it in a well-protected area, like a greenhouse. Another way is to start the seeds in fall, or in early spring indoors. Once the temperature soars up to plant the seedlings outside. The tree will grow until the frost comes and get killed but there is a possibility that you’ll get some juicy papayas.

Requirements for Growing Papaya Tree


It is also an important factor that determines if the plant will grow or not. Papaya is one of the easiest fruit trees you can grow the optimum temperature for growing papaya ranges between 68 – 86 F (20 to 30 C).

Low temperatures lead to a slow growth of the plant and higher temperatures cause low production. However, papaya tree can bear cold temperature down to 32 F (0 C) for a short period of time. In extremely high tropical temperatures and in heat waves and droughts, flower buds fall and the plant suspends its growth.


The papaya needs plenty of sun due to its high photosynthetic activity. It is impossible to grow it in the lack of sunlight. One more thing you need to keep in mind when choosing a location for growing papaya trees that they are not strongest and must not be planted in a too windy spot.


Papaya trees must be spaced 8-10 feet apart from each other.


The main characteristics of soil for growing a papaya tree are following:

  • Loose and moist.
  • With good drainage.
  • High organic matter content.
  • A pH level around 5.5 to 7 (Neutral).
  • Fertile and deep.

The ideal growing medium must be loamy and have adequate content of organic matter with good moisture retention and efficient drainage. Soil depth is also an important factor for root development. The soil that is more than a meter deep is suitable. Compact soil must be avoided, also, clean the rocks or other debris that is limiting the development of roots till the following depth.

Drainage is crucial in papaya cultivation. The proportion of sand, silt and clay determines the texture and soil structure.

Sandy soils have better drainage than clay. But too sandy soils that are low in organic matter have reduced water retention capacity, which must be avoided.

In clay-rich soils, water movement is slow and this can lead to root rot, slow development of plant and inhibit nutrition uptake. In very alkaline soils (above pH level 8.0) Zinc, iron, and other micro-element deficiency can occur.

Excess water causes yellowing of young leaves, premature fall of flowers and contribute to root rot. Low moisture in the soil can lead to slow growth, accelerated aging and premature leaf and fruit drop.

Good soil preparation practices are key to growing papaya, such as deep plowing and mixing organic matter.


Water is the main contributor of the plant (the plant is composed about 85% of water). In the process of germination, and first few months after planting, papaya needs a lot of water, so at this stage water regularly.

In the dry season, to get the good results in production, watering must be increased again. Keep the soil slightly moist but not wet. As a rule of thumb, water papaya plant deeply when top 1 inch of soil dries out.

Papaya Tree Care

Papaya tree care is easy if you grow it in the warm conditions in full sun.


Mulching papaya tree with organic matter helps in retaining moisture, which is essential.


Papayas are heavy feeders. Apply plenty of manure or compost regularly near the base of your plant.

You can also apply complete fertilizer 15-15-15, 0.1 kg or a similar mixture at intervals of two weeks during the first six months and 0.2 kg thereafter.


No pruning is required.

Pests and Diseases

Pests that can attack it are fruit flies, mites, black vine weevil, aphids, leafhoppers, and whitefly. In diseases, it suffers from soil fungi, powdery mildew, fruit rot, papaya ringspot virus, and nematodes.

Harvesting Papayas

Papaya fruit set occurs 10-12 months after planting. The fruit is sensitive to sunburn and it must be separated from the tree carefully using plastic gloves or something similar, pick it lightly with a twist or use a short knife, leaving 0.5 cm stalk.

Harvesting should be done according to the following maturity indices:

1. 0% Ripe: Completely green, but well developed.

2. 10-15% Ripe: Color change, one or two yellow stripes with 10-15% yellow surface shell surrounded by a bright green color.

3. 25% Ripe: 25% of the surface of the shell is yellow surrounded by the clear green color.

4. 75% Ripe: 75% of the surface is yellow.

5. 76-100% Ripe: The surface of the shell have yellow to orange color.

Papaya is a fruit that after being cut continues its maturation without stopping. Papayas that are harvested for selling in the market are harvested green with two or three yellow stripes as fruits that reach 75 to 100% maturity are difficult to transport. Fruits must be harvested in the early hours of the day and must not be exposed to the sun.

Growing papaya tree is a perfect idea for gardeners who favor easy-to-grow fruit trees. If you wonder why, it is because papaya tree only needs simple care, low productive and low maintenance. Here is the summary of how to grow papaya tree for you:

Growing Papaya in a Pot

While growing papaya itself is simple, growing it in a pot is also not difficult because papaya is a small tree that is short living. Even more, you can grow any varieties of papaya in a pot. However, it will be way better if you grow the dwarf one.

If you plan to plant papaya tree in a pot, the first thing you need to prepare is the container. The kind of container you will need is the one with the size of 15 – 20 gallon size. Container with such size is needed to provide papaya plant enough drainage holes at the container’s bottom before the papaya is planted. A container with the diameter of 18 – 22 inches and the depth of 12 – 15 inches will be sufficient.

Next, another thing to bear in mind when growing papaya in a pot is to directly sow the papaya seeds in your pot. Why so? It is because papaya cannot transplant well. In addition to a pot with the right size, you will also need other growing equipment namely temperature, location, spacing, watering, and soil. Make sure all of those components are in moderate amount to get the best papaya fruits later.

Growing Papayas from the Seeds

The seeds of papaya you will plant should be treated well before it is sowed for germination. The very first step to do is simply washing the papaya seeds to let go all the coating before they are sown.

Then immerse the seeds in a container containing full of neutral water for about four days. Make sure you change the water in the container every two days. After two days, separate the floating papaya seeds on the surface from the ones settling down.

Keep the seeds on a cotton clot for about two until three days and after two days, sow them. The seeds will germinate in about two until three weeks. To get the best germination, keep the seeds in the temperature of 70 F or 20 C.

Growing Papaya in Cold Climate

If you want to plant papaya in cold climate, make sure you plant it in large pots and overwinter the papaya in well-protected areas such greenhouses. Another method to plant it in cold climate is by starting the seeds in the season of fall or in the beginning of spring indoors. The papaya tree grows until frost comes and it may get killed although you still get the possibility of getting juicy papayas.

Growing papaya is actually easy although there are some notes you need to always bear in mind. Yet, if you are still beginner in planting fruit trees, papaya can suit you well. Just make sure you follow the do’s and don’ts above.

Notice I did not add a “tree” behind the papaya in the title? There was some debate during the sharing of this post in our group (SG Farming in Apartments) whether a papaya plant is a tree , herb or both! 🙂 What is interesting about papaya plant is that it has three sexes : Female (fruit bearing), Male (non-fruit bearing) and bisexual (fruit bearing and has both male and female flowers on the same plant)!

The tips to germinate a fruit bearing papaya plant starts from choosing the right seeds. Firstly, black color as opposed to lighter shade seeds increased the chance of a fruit bearing plant. This information came from member Galih Galih in our group. Another resource ( agriculture90 ) recommended to soak black seeds in lukewarm water overnight and then chose the ones that sink to the bottom. In addition, seeds from the tip to the middle of the fruit’s cavity is better for germination than from the base of the fruit. From my own experience, removing the outer skin covering the seeds made germination faster.


Singapore based

Was shared by Singapore based gardener, Mohd. Noor, who wanted to grow and harvest papayas easily. This was his amazing result after 2 years of trial and errors – a papaya plant that could be grown in containers and have fruits beneath his shoulder’s height.

Step 1 – Chose a young plant (about 6 months old) that already showed fruits. This is to make sure it is not a male plant.

Step 2 – Make a upward slit on the trunk and separated the slit with small wood pieces so that they will not “glue” back to the trunk like this.

Slit is not cut through

Step 3 – Cover the slit with cocopeat and soil mixes that retain moisture well, cling wrapped, add moisture and secured well. Roots typically showed in 2 months.

Wrapped + Hold

Step 4 – Once there is roots mass, separate the air layered plant from main trunk and replant in containers.

New Plant

Low fruits

The above fruiting plant is from the air layered cutting. It can be grown in grow bag or re-potted to deep tree/bush size pot as needed.

“Mother Plant”

The topped-off top will regrow new leaves and start its own journey towards fruiting.

Instead of one tall plant, it is possible by Mohd. Noor’s experiments to propagate and grow dwarf papaya plants this way.

All the plants above started from seeds, and air layered after first fruits showed. Only female plants were used for air layering. Found a video with English subtitles from our region.

Another dwarfing papaya method was shared by Mr. MaderaRoja de la Secoya (or MAI), on how to keep papaya plant low for easier harvest and allowed it to be grown in pots. According to MAI (his shortened Thai name), this was not his original idea. He seen this post from another contributor, and tried them for his fruit trees (orange and lime) and they worked! The plants are able to thrive in pots, did not grow to full size but the fruits are of normal sizes.

Potted Papaya in pot (pruned roots) and grounded Papaya are the same age (6 months old)

At the maximum height, papaya roots that had been pruned will grow to 2 meters (about 6.5 feet) only. According to Mai, it would take a very long time for dwarf papaya to reached this height and they would likely die of old age thereafter.

Mai also shared that a squirt of lime and a dash of pepper on ripe papaya is not only delicious but also settled queasy stomach! 🙂

So how did this method work?

2 weeks old papaya plant from seeds

When the papaya seedling is 2 – 4 weeks old, remove it from pot.

Good roots mass had developed , gently removed soil from roots.

Mai has shared that in his region (Chiang Mai, Thailand) only bisexual papayas are available, so this is what the root mass looked like. One main tap root with many root hairs along the whole main root.. MAI advised to save as many roots hairs as possible when cutting the main root. From my reading ( arlene1027 and contributions from gardeners in South East Asia) on this plant, it seem that we can confirmed whether the mature plant will produce male or female flowers based on their roots. Since only female or bisexual plants produce fruits, it is important to know how to tell the difference. Male root is straight while female root is shorter, developed in a bunch and has more than 1 main root.

Bisexual Roots mass uncovered (papaya seedling)

Pruned or cut the tip of the tap root

Tap root has been pruned!

This is a Female papaya roots (contributed by Farreeda Bagam Mssm on June 16 2016)

After the papaya’s tap root has been trimmed, this seedling should be planted in the biggest pot possible so that it can grow to its mature height without further transplanting. His experience has been that papaya plant do not take to transplanting easily. They will die if their roots are disturbed when they are a few months old. Lesson learned – *** Do not uproot papaya plants for transplant when they are already a few months old ! ***

3 months old papaya – On the left, root had been pruned vs. normal size

To avoid transplanting when his papaya plant outgrew a pot, MAI checked at the bottom of the pot and trimmed off roots that are extending out of it.

Regarding fertilizer, Mai’s experience had been that papaya can thrived with no fertilizer, “in plain old dirt” .

Disclaimer Advisory – Local SG gardener, Ms. Annie Lim, shared that her seedlings did not survived this root pruning on February 05 2017. Perhaps not all seeds are suitable for this method. Do try on one first and observed before proceeding with the next seedling.

FEW months old Papaya dwarfing method –

To keep few months old papaya (with normal un-pruned roots) from growing too tall, “topping off” method is quite common. This is a method where the top of the papaya plant is trimmed off and a lattice is built over the plant. MAI said the plant will regrow in a lateral pattern instead of reaching for the skies! The fruits will also hung in a lateral way making for easier harvest. I am sure we seen images of these in the internet.

MATURE Papaya – Shortening Tree Method (Taiwan)

Are there no hope for mature papaya plants?! Gardeners who grew papayas often lament about controlling mealy bugs infestation. What made this problem acute for mature papayas is its height. According to Suan-Loke Tan (Urban Farmers Singapore group), when papaya plants grew too tall (3 meters and taller), they become more difficult to manage pests. A lot of gardeners would stopped maintaining the plants and they will decline. Eventually these plants would be chopped down and discarded.

A method to shorten the height of mature papaya plants was introduced in a YOUTUBE video from Taiwan.

According to this video (in Mandarin and Chinese dialect), papaya plants can be shortened by cutting three vertical slits on the “trunk” of the papaya, so that it can be stretched to bent over. Unlike other tree-like plants, papayas’ inner cores are like bamboos with hollow center. Cutting deep slits on the plants’ exteriors will not killed it. In fact, growing them in a lateral way, will slow down its growth and doubled its normal productive lifespan from 3 to 7 years! Water and nutrients are more effectively distributed to the top of the tree in a lateral way than vertical. Fruits grown this way are sweeter and tastier too. Last but not least, pest control at waist height is much easier and effective!

One local brave (!!) gardener , Mr. CheongWeei Gan from UrbanFarmers Singapore, decided to test this out on 5 of his own plants.

May 29 2016 – One of the 5 trees in Mr. Gan’s experiment

Slits were cut on the “trunk” of this papaya, so that it can be bent. A support was used to hold up the plant in its new position. Some of the leaves were trimmed off as well. This papaya had already produced fruits when it was bent. As seen in this picture, the leaves are facing downwards. Some gardeners in Singapore expressed concern that this plant may not recover!

June 3 2016 – Papaya plants are so hardy that the cut area has dried up and healed 5 days later!

Two weeks later, the plant has recovered. The leaves are no longer facing down and have moved upwards towards the sun.

June 19 – Papaya plant has recovered!

Slits cut into trunk so that it can bent over

Mr. CheongWeei Gan had these observations based on his experiments to share –

  1. Ideal height to apply this method is 5 to 8 feet. If the tree is too short, the shortening effect is not optimum. Too tall or too old, the papaya plant had become too woody and its harder to bent and likely caused the vertical strips to break or tear. Nutrients and water distribution will be disrupted and the plants would take a longer time to recover.
  2. Thin trunk needs 3 – 4 vertical strips while thicker trunk 5 – 6 strips for better bent effect. He will be experimenting whether different bent positions affect shortening effect and would try to find the best bent position to optimize this shortening.
  3. Papaya plants do not thrive in water logged soil. Most plants die because of root rot than any other reason.
  4. Plants with unhealthy roots have few leaves and the bottom most leaf is only 1 to 2 inches from the tip of the top leaves. In healthy plants, the lowest leaf is more than a foot from the “growing tip”. This is one of the way he gauge whether his papaya plant is in good health or not! 🙂

On this method of shortening, Mr. CheongWeei Gan felt that the real test will be whether the new fruits after the current harvest would be as claimed, that they taste better and sweeter being grown on a lateral trunk than on a vertical one. 🙂

SUMMARY of Papaya Plant Growing Information ( Gardening Know How ) –

  1. Full SUN
  2. Water frequently for best fruits production and do consider mulching to retain moisture
  3. Best in growing zone 9 – 10
  4. These plants can produce either female , male or bisexual flowers. Only female and bisexual flowers produce fruits. Supermarkets’ fruits seeds tend to be produce bisexual flowers (both male and female flowers on the same plant).
  5. At maturity and grounded, the plant can reached 30 feet


Q. When living in Tahiti I was able to grow new papaya trees from seeds right from the fruit, and they produced fruit in a few months. I have attempted to do that in California without success. I found out that store-bought fruit has been treated with something to inhibit sprouting. Is there anything that will overcome this? I really miss picking a papaya for breakfast. I tried to grow a tree from a nursery but a cold winter killed it. Thanks for any help you can give me.

A. Although there are a number of commercial sources for papaya seeds, you can certainly use a store-bought papaya. I’ve never experienced any difficulty sprouting seeds from store-bought fruit. I suspect that you simply have to alter your seed starting technique and culture since Tahiti’s climate is quite different from southern California. The only down-side to growing from seeds harvested from the fruit is that you may not know what specific variety you are growing and the plant size might be variable too. Regardless, anyone who enjoys papaya should consider giving this a try.

A papaya contains numerous seeds that you can plant to grow your own papaya trees. Simply scoop them out, rinse them off, and let them dry on a paper towel. Germination will be improved if you remove the fleshy material around each seed. If you are eager to start your trees right away, you will have to treat them as houseplants until spring. Very young papaya trees would be too tender to survive a typical winter here.

You can plant several seeds together in a six-inch pot filled with commercial potting soil. Cover the seeds with about one-quarter inch of the potting soil and water thoroughly. Place the pot on a waterproof heating pad set on low, to provide the soil warmth (85 degrees) papaya seeds need to germinate. Make sure that the soil does not dry out, but don’t over-water either. The seeds germinate in about two weeks. Shift seedlings to larger containers, if they become crowded. I like to keep papaya trees growing in small groups as their large palmate leaves look so tropical, but you may want to separate yours into individual pots.

If you decide to wait until spring, you can sow the seeds directly into the garden, but you must wait until the soil is thoroughly warmed. When it’s time to plant corn or melon seeds, it’s time to plant papaya seeds. If you plant too soon, the seeds may take months to germinate, or they may not germinate at all. Your papaya plants will best survive possible cold winter nights if they are growing against a south or west-facing wall. During the day, the wall will absorb the heat from the sun and slowly release it after the sun goes down and the night temperatures drop.

Once flowering has begun, you will want any potted trees to be outside so bees can pollinate them. It’s best to have a number of papaya trees growing together to ensure fruit set. Papaya trees may be dioecious (either male or female), or hermaphroditic (having both male and female parts). By having a number of trees, you ensure that you will have fruit. I’ve seen fruiting papaya trees here and there in local gardens so I think they are likely to do well for you with just a little care.

Q. A friend gave me a division of a jade plant growing in her garden. Mine has grown in a pot on my covered patio all year but it has never bloomed. Does it need some special fertilizer to make it bloom?

A. I think all your plant needs is more sunshine. Jade plants, Crassula argentea, are incredibly tough plants, growing well under the difficult conditions, but to bloom, they need very bright light. Try moving your plant to a spot where it can get at least a few hours of sunshine each day. That should do the trick.

Ottillia “Toots” Bier has been a UC Cooperative Extension master gardener since 1980. Send comments and questions to [email protected]

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Papaya Tree Facts: Growing Info And Care of Papaya Fruit Trees

Growing papaya trees is a great way to enjoy these exotic fruits every year. Papaya trees grow best in USDA growing zones 9 and 10. If you are lucky enough to live in these regions, learning how to grow a papaya tree should likely come naturally. Continue reading to find out more about papaya tree facts and the care of papaya fruit trees.

Papaya Tree Facts

Papaya (Carica papaya) is native to Central America and exists in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world. This large, short-lived perennial plant with a single trunk can reach up to 30 feet at maturity. Palmate leaves are deeply lobed and over 3 feet in width.

There are three different tree types, female plants, male plants and bisexual plants. The female and bisexual plants are the only ones that produce fruit. Depending on the tree type, this fruit is small to medium round or medium to large oblong shape. Fruit flesh is generally yellow, although some red and orange types exist as well.

How to Grow a Papaya Tree

Growing papaya trees is generally done from seed that is extracted from ripe fruit. If you are using a fruit from a grocery store, it is most likely going to be a bisexual plant. You should plant several seeds per pot to ensure germination.

Under full sunlight, seedlings may emerge in about two weeks. Plants can be set out after they are a foot tall and spaced 8 to 10 feet apart. The seedlings will flower after five or six months.

When considering the best papaya growing conditions in the home landscape, don’t forget about planting location. The best place to plant a papaya is on the south or southeast side of a house with some protection from wind and cold weather. Papayas also grow best in full sun.

Papayas like well-drained soil, and because of shallow roots, growing papaya trees will not tolerate wet conditions.

Care of Papaya Fruit Trees

In addition to proper papaya growing conditions, suitable care of papaya fruit trees is also important. In order for papaya trees to thrive, they require some fertilizer. Provide young plants fertilizer every 14 days using ¼ pound of complete fertilizer. Fertilize older trees with 1 to 2 pounds of fertilizer once a month. Also, be sure to take a soil sample and amend as necessary.

Water trees frequently for best fruit production. Mulch trees with 4 inches of wood chips to help retain moisture, taking care to keep the mulch 8 to 12 inches from the trunk.

Protect developing fruit from pests by placing a paper bag over them until they are ripe.

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