The Papaya, or Pawpaw, tree originated in South America and Mexico but has now spread to basically anywhere with a tropical climate. There are many varieties of Papaya fruit, but the main types of Papaya fruit recognized in the U.S. are Red Lady, Maradol, and various Solo types.
In order to be successful when growing Papaya trees, you will need a frost free climate, a good amount of sunlight, along with water and good nutrient rich soil. If grown successfully, a Papaya tree will begin producing fruit in 6-12 months.
Growing Tips for Papayas:
- Climate: Papayas thrive in tropical climates for they do not have a good resistance to freezing temperatures and will consistently burn or die if the temperature drops below freezing.
- Pollination: Only the female plants produce fruit. Much like any other plant, the Papaya relies on insect pollination between a male and a female to produce fruit
- Sun Light: Grow best in full exposure to sunlight. Papayas are very well acclimated to the heat and flourish in it.
- Fertilize: Papayas require regular fertilizing due to their nature of heavy feeding. Adding a compost is also recommended to further enrich the soil with nutrients.
- Water: Papayas require more watering than your usual tree due to their large soft leaves. The leaves have an extreme amount of surface area and are able to evaporate water quickly.
- Soil: Papayas do best in rich soil that is saturated with a high content of organic matter. Make sure your planting location and soil have good drainage and nutrients to avoid rot.
- Harvesting: In general, fruit is picked when there is about 1/3 color change in the fruit. After picking, keep at room temperature to fully ripen. Ripe fruit will stay good for about a week when kept in the refrigerator.