How big does a papaya tree grow


Papaya Growing in the Florida Home Landscape

Jonathan H. Crane 2

 

Figure 1.  Papaya flower types.
Credit: J. H. Crane, UF/IFAS

 

Scientific name: Carica papaya L.

Common names: Papaya and pawpaw (English and Spanish), malakor, loko, ma kuai thet (Thai), and du du (Vietnamese).

Family: Caricaceae

Origin: The origin and center of diversification is Central America.

Relatives: Mountain papaya [also called chamburo (Vasconcellea pubescens)] and babaco (Vasconella x heilbornii).

Distribution: Throughout the tropical and subtropical world; in protected culture in cool subtropical regions.

History: Papaya was taken to the Caribbean and Southeast Asia first and then spread to India, Oceania, and Africa.

Importance: Papaya is a major commercial crop through- out the tropical and subtropical world and exported widely to areas where production is not possible. Florida has a small commercial industry.

Invasive potential: Carica papaya has not been evaluated using the UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Floridas Natural Areas (UF/IFAS Invasive Plant Working Group 2008).

Description

Tree and Tree Types

Giant arborescent plant to 33 ft (10 m) tall; generally short-lived although may live up to 20 years; initially single trunked but may form secondary shoots with age. Papaya plants have no secondary growth (i.e., wood).

Leaves

Leaves are palmately-lobed and short-lived, 6–8 months. During warm and hot weather one or more new leaves may be produced each week; during cool and cold weather new leaf development is reduced or ceases.

Flowers

There are 3 basic tree types, male plants, female plants, and hermaphroditic (bisexual) plants. Fruit is normally only produced from female and bisexual plants.

The inflorescence is an elongated (25–100 cm long), branched cyme in male plants and a much-reduced cyme for bisexual and female plants. Papaya is a polygamous species with 3 basic plant types. Male (staminate) plants, in which small, tubular, yellow flowers possessing 10 anthers are held in cymes at the ends of long peduncles. Female (pistillate) plants with large yellow to whitish flowers which possess a large, superior ovary which is held on a much-reduced cyme in the leaf axils along the trunk. Bisexual (hermaphroditic) plants possess perfect flowers held on a much-reduced cyme in the leaf axils along the trunk.

Fruit

Papaya fruit is a berry with a thin, smooth exocarp (peel) and thick, fleshy mesocarp (pulp) surrounding an open cavity containing many small seeds. Fruit may be globose, ovoid, obovoid, and pyriform, 2 1/3 inch to 18 inches (7–35 cm) long, and ½ to 22 lbs (0.250–10 kg) in weight.

In addition, some plants may produce more than one type of flower and exhibit different degrees of male or femaleness. This may be triggered by temperature, changing day length, and soil moisture availability. Female plants produce medium to large round-shaped fruit of good quality and a large seed cavity. Bisexual plants produce small to large elongated fruit of good quality and a smaller seed cavity. Male plants with bisexual flowers may produce a few, elongated, pear-shaped, poor quality fruit.

Pollination

Papaya plants may be self-pollinating (bisexual plants) or cross pollinated by insects and wind. Pollinators include honey bees, wasps, midges, thrips, surphid flies, and butterflies.

Varieties

There are numerous varieties of papaya. However, very few are available to most urban residents because of the seeds are not commonly for sale in small amounts. Important varieties in the US include 'Red Lady', 'Maradol', 'Tainung No. 1', and various Solo-types.

Climate

Any climatic factor such as cool or cold temperatures, lack of water (drought), high constant winds, or shade will reduce papaya growth and production. Papaya plants grow and fruit best in areas where temperatures remain warm to hot (70°F–90°F; 21–32°C). Root growth is best if soil temperatures remain above 60°F (15.5°C) and slows or declines below that temperature. Papaya plants are not tolerant of freezing temperatures and are damaged or killed below 31°F (-0.6°C). High temperatures above 90°F (32°C) may cause flowers to drop, and low temperatures below 59°F (15°C) may inhibit flowering or result in misshapen fruit. Well distributed rainfall is required for best plant growth and fruit production. Any non-favorable weather conditions may lead to a reduction of plant growth and fruit production.

Papaya plants are susceptible to wind damage and will not establish or grow well in continuously windy areas. Papaya plants with a large amount of developing fruit are very susceptible to toppling due to high winds. Therefore, plants should be planted in wind-protected areas of the landscape.

Propagation

Papaya is mainly propagated by seed, but tissue culture and rooted cuttings are practiced to a limited extent. The sex of the plant is determined by its parents.

To propagate by seed, remove the seeds from a ripe fruit and place in a colander. Press the seeds against the side of the colander to break the sarcotesta (sac) surrounding the seed (this sac inhibits seed germination). Rinse seeds thoroughly and place on a paper towel to dry (not in the sunlight). Once seeds are dry they may be placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator for several years for later use.

In general, propagating and planting 2 to 3 plants is best to insure fruit production from at least 1 plant. This is because depending upon the source of seeds, they may produce female, bisexual, or male plants. Plant 2 to 4 seeds in each 1-gallon (3.8-liter) container in a clean, sterile artificial media. Water thoroughly, and place the containers in a warm sunny location. Germination may take 2 to 3 weeks. Once seedlings have emerged, select the most vigorous one and snip the others off at the soil line with clippers. Fertilize the seedlings with a dilute complete fertilizer solution every 10 to 14 days. Once plants have reached 6 to 12 inches (15–30 cm) tall, plant in a sunny location.

Production (Crop Yields)

Well-cared-for plants may begin to produce flowers 4 months after planting and fruit 7 to 11 months after plant- ing. The amount of fruit produced by a papaya plant varies with the general climate, weather conditions during the year, and plant care. Yields vary from 60 to 80 lbs per tree over a 12-month period.

Spacing and Pruning

Papaya plants should be planted in full sun and at least 7 to 10 ft (2.1–3.1 m) away from other plants, buildings, and power lines. In general, planting 2 to 3 papaya plants 7 to 12 ft (2.1–3.7 m) away from each other will insure that at least one will be fruitful, and it will also facilitate fertilizing and watering.

Papaya plants are not pruned because their main growing point is terminal, and branched trees may not produce as well. However, as papaya plants mature and/or if they are exposed to environmental conditions that inhibit growth or if the main growing point is damage or killed, side shoots may grow. Selecting 1 or 2 of the most vigorous shoots and removing the others will facilitate growth and fruiting of the remaining shoots. Tying these side shoots to a stake will reduce the chance they may break off due to a heavy fruit load or high winds.

Removal of dead leaves is a good practice and results in less scarring of the fruit from the base of the leaf petiole. It also reduces disease and insect problems.

Soils

Papaya plants grow and fruit well in many well drained soil types. Plants will do well with care in sands, loams, and rocky soils with a pH of 4.5 to 8.0.

Planting Papaya Plants

Properly planting a papaya tree is one of the most important steps in successfully establishing and growing a strong, productive tree. Some nurseries offer papaya plants and the first step is to choose a healthy nursery tree. Commonly, nursery papaya trees are grown in 1- to 3-gallon containers and trees stand 6 inches to 2 ft tall. Large trees in smaller containers should be avoided as the root system may be "root bound. " This means all the available space in the container has been filled with roots to the point that the tap root is growing along the edge of the container in a circular fashion. Root bound root systems may not grow properly once planted in the ground.

Inspect the tree for insect pests and diseases and inspect the trunk of the tree for wounds and constrictions. Select a healthy tree and water it regularly in preparation for planting in the ground.

Site Selection

In general, papaya trees should be planted in full sun for best growth and fruit production. Select a part of the landscape away from other trees, buildings and structures, and power lines. Select the warmest area of the landscape that does not flood (or remain wet) after typical summer rainfall.

Planting in Sandy Soil

Many areas in Florida have sandy soil. Remove a 3- to 5-ft-diameter ring of grass sod (0.9- to 1.5-m). Dig a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter and 3 times as deep as the container the papaya tree came in. Making a large hole loosens the soil next to the new tree, making it easy for the roots to expand into the adjacent soil. It is not necessary to apply fertilizer, topsoil, or compost to the hole. In fact, placing topsoil or compost in the hole first and then planting on top of it is not desirable. If you wish to add topsoil or compost to the native soil, mix it with the excavated soil in no more than a 1:1 ratio.

Backfill the hole with some of the excavated soil. Remove the tree from the container and place it in the hole so that the top of the soil media from the container is level with or slightly above the surrounding soil level. Fill soil in around the tree roots and tamp slightly to remove air pockets. Immediately water the soil around the tree and tree roots. Staking the tree with a wooden or bamboo stake is optional. However, do not use wire or nylon rope to tie the tree to the stake because they may eventually damage the tree trunk as it grows. Use a cotton or natural fiber string that will degrade slowly.

Planting in Rockland Soil

Many areas in Miami-Dade County have a very shallow soil and several inches below the soil surface is a hard, calcare- ous bedrock. Remove a 3- to 5-ft-diameter ring of grass sod (0.9- to 1.5-m). Make a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter and 3 times as deep as the container the tree came in. To dig a hole, use a pick and digging bar to break up the rock or contract with a company that has augering equipment or a backhoe. Plant trees as described in the previous section.

Planting on a Mound

Many areas in Florida are within 7 ft (2.1 m) or so of the water table and experience occasional flooding after heavy rains. To improve plant survival in these areas, consider planting fruit trees on a 2- to 3-ft-high by 4- to 10-ft-diameter mound of native soil (0.3- to 0.9-m x1.2- to 3.1-m).

After the mound is made, dig a hole 3 to 4 times the diameter and 3 times as deep as the container the papaya tree came in. In areas where the bedrock nearly comes to the surface (rockland soil), follow the recommendations for the previous section. In areas with sandy soil, follow the recommendations from the section on planting in sandy soil.

Care of Papaya Plants in the Home Landscape

A calendar outlining the month-to-month cultural practices for papaya is shown in Table 1.

Fertilizer

Frequent applications of small amounts of fertilizer are best for continuous papaya growth and fruit production (Table 2). Young plants should be fertilized every 14 days with 1/4 lb of a complete fertilizer with the amounts increasing as trees become larger. Complete fertilizers include nitrogen (N), phosphate (P2O5), potash (K2O), and a source of magnesium (Mg). Once trees become about 7 to 8 months old they should be fertilized with 1 to 2 lbs every other month. Minor elements may be applied up to 1 time per month. Minor elements including manganese and zinc may be applied to the ground in soils with a low pH (7 or less) and foliarly applied for plants growing in high pH soils (>pH 7). Similarly, iron sulfate may be applied to the ground for plants growing in low pH soils. However, for plants growing in high pH soils, chelated iron (an EDDHA form) should be mixed in water and applied as a soil drench.

Irrigation (Watering)

Watering is essential for best papaya plant growth and fruit production. Papaya plants that lack water (drought stress) may drop flowers, leaves, and young fruit and produce small fruit of low sugar content.

Plants growing in sandy or rocky soils that are well drained and do not hold much water should be watered every other day or every day during hot, dry conditions and less often during cool parts of the year (late fall, winter). Plants growing in soil with a capacity to hold water (loams, sandy loams) should not be overwatered and therefore should be watered at 3- to 4-day intervals, especially during hot weather.

Mulch

Mulching papaya trees in the home landscape helps retain soil moisture, reduces weed problems adjacent to the tree trunk, and improves the soil near the surface. Mulch with a 2- to 6-inch (5- to 15-cm) layer of bark, wood chips, or similar mulch material. Keep mulch 8–12 inches (20–30 cm) from the trunk.

Insect Pests and Nematodes

Papaya plants are attacked by a number of insect pests including:

The papaya fruit fly (Toxotrypana curvicauda), which lays eggs through the papaya fruit peel into the fruit cavity where the larvae feed and eventually emerge from the ruined fruit. This fly is commonly mistaken for a wasp due to its long abdomen and yellow and black markings. Fruit infested with papaya fruit fly may show yellow areas and may drop from the tree prematurely. The easiest control for this pest is to place a paper bag or paint strainer cloth over individual fruit when they are small and leave the bag on until harvest.

The papaya webworm (Homolapalpia dalera) is mainly a pest of the developing fruit peel and papaya stem and is usually found in, on, or near the stem amongst the flowers and fruit. Control includes hand removal and hosing off the plant with a strong stream of water from a garden hose.

The papaya whitefly (Trialeuroides variabilis) is generally only a pest of the leaves, causing leaves to drop and reducing fruit production. Control includes removing infested leaves and applying appropriate pest control products.

The two-spotted mite (Tetranychus urticae) is a major pest of papaya leaves and may cause defoliation and early leaf drop. Symptoms include a browning of the leaf surface and eventually upper leaf surfaces and skeletonizing of the leaf. For current control measures please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension agent.

A number of nematode species (Meloidogyne incognita, Rotylenchulus reniformis). Nematodes are small, microscopic, worm-like organisms that feed on papaya plant roots, causing plants to decline in vigor and making more plants more susceptible to toppling over because of the loss of roots. Papaya plants should be planted in areas with clean soil, avoiding areas of the landscape with known nematode problems.

Diseases

Papaya plants in Florida are susceptible to a number of diseases:

Papaya ringspot virus is the most important disease of papaya in Florida. The earliest symptoms are a yellow mottling of leaves and vein-clearing of leaves. As the disease progresses, the lobes of the leaves become distorted and leaf size is greatly reduced. Dark green streaks may develop on leaf petioles and the main stem. Fruit symptoms consist of dark circles or C-shaped markings on the fruit peel. Homeowners wishing to grow papaya in their home landscapes should avoid using seed from small, pear-shaped Solo-type fruit, which tend to be more susceptible to this virus than the larger, elongated, oval-shaped fruit found in many local markets. All papaya plants showing symptoms of the virus should be removed so as not to be a source of infection for new plants. Due to the problems with this virus, we recommend replanting papaya plants every 18 to 24 months.

Anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporiodes) primarily attacks the maturing fruit. Symptoms include small water-soaked spots that enlarge, turn brown or black, and become sunken. Eventually the fungus grows into the fruit tissue, ruining it for consumption. Please contact your local UF/IFAS Extension agent for current control recommendations.

Powdery mildew (Oidium caricae) is primarily a disease of the leaves in Florida. A superficial white growth on the leaf surfaces leads to small, light yellow spots on the lower surfaces of the leaves. Next, pale yellow spots appear on the upper leaf surfaces. Eventually, dead leaf areas fall out of the leaves, giving them a shot-hole effect. Control includes removing infested leaves and removing them from near the plants.

Phytophthora blight (Phytophthora spp. ) includes a number of diseases including damping-off, root rot, stem rot, and fruit rot. These diseases decrease plant vigor and may result in plant death. Starting new plants in clean (not previously used) potting media will help avoid the root rots.

Corynespora leaf spot (Corynespora cassiicola) is a disease of the leaves and begins as small, yellow areas which expand into larger (0.2–0.4 inches) circular brown spots.

Papaya Trees and Lawn Care

Papaya trees in the home landscape are susceptible to trunk injury caused by lawn mowers and weed eaters. Maintain a grass-free area 2 to 5 or more feet (0.9–1.5 m) away from the trunk of the tree. Never hit the tree trunk with lawn mowing equipment and never use a weed eater near the tree trunk. Mechanical damage to the trunk of the tree will result in weakening the tree and if severe enough can cause dieback or kill the tree.

 

Figure 2.  Papaya plant in the home landscape.
Credit: J. H. Crane, UF/IFAS

 

Roots of mature papaya trees spread beyond the drip-line of the tree canopy and heavy fertilization of the lawn adjacent to papaya trees is not recommended because it may reduce fruiting and or fruit quality. The use of lawn sprinkler systems on a timer may result in over watering and cause papaya trees to decline. This is because too much water too often applied causes root rot.

Harvest, Ripening, and Storage

Papaya fruit may be harvested green for use as a vegetable and ripe when full yellow to orange color develops on the peel. Generally, fruit may be picked when yellow color covers 1/10th to 1/3rd of the surface peel, however, greater color development of the fruit while on the tree increases fruit sugar content. After picking, fruit should be placed at room temperature to fully ripen before being stored in the refrigerator. Ripe fruit will keep up to 4 to 7 days.

Uses and Nutritional Value

Papaya fruit are commonly used as a ripe fresh fruit alone, in fruit salads, drinks, and desserts. Non-ripe fruit may be used as a vegetable or used in green salads. Fruit is also dried, candied, and made into pastes, jellies, and jams. Papaya fruit is low in calories and high in potassium and vitamin A (Table 3).

Tables

Table 1. 

Cultural practices for fruiting papaya plants in the home landscape.

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Table 2. 

Fertilizer recommendations for papaya production in the home landscape.

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Table 3. 

Nutrient content of ripe papaya (100 g or 3.5 oz).z

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How Big Do Papaya Trees Get?

Carica papaya, or as people normally call it, the papaya plant is a tropical fruit plant that originated in South America and Mexico. However, it is now grown in every part of the world. Papaya is an exotic fruit that possesses a lot of health benefits. If you know how to grow a papaya plant, it can be grown very quickly. The papaya plant is a top pick among numerous gardeners. If you are also someone with interest in growing papayas and are wondering how big do papaya trees get, you are at the right place. Continue reading to find out the answers to all your questions related to growing Papaya.

How Tall Can Papaya Trees Grow?

Getting straight to the point, the size of Papaya differs based on the conditions it is grown in and the amount of care and attention it is given. On average, the height of a papaya tree is somewhere between 8-15 feet tall. However, the trees which receive the suitable climate and maintenance can also go up to 30 feet in height.

Papaya plant thrives in tropical and subtropical areas, but if you are someone who lives in coastal areas, you can still grow Papaya by providing it good supervision.

It is often observed that papayas are grown in partial sunshine, locations that are windy or drought-prone regions are stunted. Their growth becomes hindered by the conditions not suitable for it.

Also Read: How to: Growing Perpetual Spinach?

Suitable Climatic Conditions for Growing Papaya

  • Tropical or Equatorial regions
  • Sub-tropical regions
  • Access to sunlight
  • Kept away from moisture

A papaya plant, also called pawpaw, grows satisfactorily in subtropical or tropical regions. Papaya plants need good exposure to sunlight. They prosper in warmer temperatures. The presence of moisture can negatively impact your papaya fruit plant’s health. Therefore, always make sure to plant your herb in an area that receives sunlight in abundance and is not moist.

Fertilization Required for Growing Papaya

  • Regular fertilization required
  • Frequently add compost
  • Soil high in organic content

The papaya plant grows at a great pace. When provided the right climatic conditions, you can expect fruit from your plant within 6-12 months of planting it. It is important to note that the young papaya plants are more productive, and as the plant ages, its productivity falls down.

Also Read: Why Are Bottom of Tomatoes Turning Black?

Before planting a papaya fruit plant:

  1. Take out a small quantity of soil from the land where you want to grow your plant.
  2. Check if the soil has all the necessary contents required for the healthy growth of the plant.
  3. If you notice any deficiencies in the soil, add fertilizers to make up for the shortcomings.
  4. Or you can also re-think about the location where you want to have your plant.

A papaya fruit plant needs regular fertilization to grow. Also, add compost to the soil regularly. Sandy soil is considered suitable for growing Papaya, but since these soils can’t hold water, the plant will require frequent watering. Similarly, clayey soils are capable of holding water for long durations. Thus you need to be careful with watering your plants, as the chances of overwatering your plant are high.

If the soil has a lot of moisture, the roots of the plant get rotten. So keep a regular check on the moisture level of the soil.

Water Requirements of the Papaya Fruit Plant

  • Regular watering
  • Avoid overwatering

Papaya plant grows up to the height of 30 feet and possibly because of their huge size, people confuse them with being trees. Although, in reality, Papaya is not a tree, it is a very tall, fast-growing herb. It is important to note that the growth of the Papaya can be hampered if you do not water it appropriately.

The papaya plant has large leaves, and the stem of the plant is also soft. The plant evaporates great amounts of water during the daytime. Hence, the water requirement of the papaya plant is above average.

If your plant is grown in sandy soil, the requirement for water will be more. Sandy soils cannot hold water for long durations, and hence, a continuous supply of water needs to be ensured to avoid drying of your plant.

If your papaya fruit plant is grown in clayey soil, you need to avoid over-watering your plant. Clayey soils can clench water for longer durations, and hence you should not go over water your plant.

Moreover, since papaya plants are usually grown in areas receiving adequate sunlight, the plant’s requirement for water is bound to be high.

However, one vital point to mention here is that the papaya plant cannot withstand wet conditions. Thus you must ensure proper drainage facilities in the area where your plant is grown. The overwatering or extra moisture can cause root rot, and hence it is advisable to have a good drainage system in place to ensure the healthy growth of your plant.

Also Read: Why Are Eggshells Good for Tomato Plants?

Pollination of Papaya Fruit Plant

There are three types of papaya fruit plants-

  • Male papaya fruit plants
  • Female papaya fruit plants
  • Bisexual papaya fruit plants

Only the female and bisexual papaya fruit plants carry fruits. Males do not carry fruits. While the bisexual plant does not require any external agent for pollination, the female papaya plant pollinates through the transfer of particles through wind or by carrying agents such as butterflies.

If you are planting a papaya plant in your garden, make sure you plant more than just one plant. If one of the females, it would only carry fruits if the other one is a male plant or a bisexual plant.

Once the fruits develop, make sure you give extra attention to the plant as its nutrient requirements would shoot up. If proper attention is not given, the whole plant will dry out, and thus you won’t be able to enjoy the papaya fruits from your garden. To avoid such disappointments, make sure that you pay more attention to your plant once it has pollinated.

Life Span of a Papaya Fruit Plant

The life span of the Carica papaya or papaya fruit plant varies depending upon the conditions in which it is grown. For example, the papaya plants grown in tropical or subtropical regions have a longer life span as compared to those grown in coastal areas.

Similarly, the papaya plants grown in drought-prone areas die early as compared to those plants which receive regular watering.

Usually, papaya fruit plants are short-lived. They can start drying out as early as their 2nd or 3rd year of plantation and can also stay in good health for as long as 7-8 years. Although these are not absolute figures, some papaya fruit plants can also stay healthy for more than 10-15 years. However, it must also be noted that once the plants reach a mature age, they become more susceptible to diseases and damages.

With proper care and favorable climatic conditions, you can enjoy papaya fruits from your plant for longer durations. However, if you live in an area that gets hit by strong winds, the plant cannot survive. Strong winds are extremely adverse for papaya fruit plants because the stem or trunk of the plant is soft and delicate. Strong winds can severely damage your plant and can also lead to its breakage from the top.

The life span of the papaya plant is also affected by several other factors such as the amount of exposure to the sun, how well the plant is watered, does the area where it is planted has a proper drainage facility, and so on.

Adverse conditions can affect your plant’s health significantly. Let us have a look at a list of the conditions that you need to avoid.

#1 Overwatering

While it is crucial for you to water your papaya fruit plant at regular intervals, the water requirements of the plant are high. It is equally important to ensure that you do not over-water your plant.

Overwatering can cause the roots of the papaya fruit plant to rot, and thus it will affect the overall health of your plant substantially.

Do not overwater your plant, and at the same time, do not let it stay without water for too long hours. Learn to make a balance between the two.

#2 Irregular Fertilization

Adding fertilizers to the soil ensures that your plant receives the necessary nutrients for it to survive. Nutrients are crucial for the growth of your plant. Lack of proper nutrients can cause deficiencies in the plant. Such deficiencies could impact your plant negatively and can also lead to the plant’s death.

Make sure that you add fertilizers to the soil regularly. Papaya plants need lots of nutrients and food to stay healthy. The younger plants require more food and nutrients as compared to the older ones.

Add fertilizers once every 14 days when the plant is young. After it reaches a certain age, you should add fertilizers after every 30 days.

Moreover, also make sure that you add compost regularly to the soil. Compost is good for the papaya fruit plant’s health.

#3 Lack of Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight is vital for the growth of the papaya fruit plant. The plant is tropical in nature and requires access to direct sunlight to be able to grow.

If you live in an area that does not receive sunlight in abundance, the health of your plant will be negatively impacted. It is also often noticed that the papaya plants grown in such areas remain stunted.

Exposure to sunlight is also detrimental to the survival of your plant. So make sure that the place where you decide to grow your plant has good exposure to sunlight.

#4 Natural Calamities

Natural calamities such as floods or droughts degrade the health of the papaya fruit plant. As we discussed earlier, the papaya plant requires water in the right amount to be able to grow, the lack of water could lead to the drying out of the plant, and an excess supply of the same could lead to rotting of the roots.

There is nothing you can do to avoid natural catastrophes. They are bound to occur at nature’s whim. If you live in areas that are prone to droughts or floods, you can be sure that your plant will not remain healthy for a long time.

Conclusion

Papaya is an exotic fruit laced with many health benefits. The fruit is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and is also known for improving the digestive system of the people who consume it. Papaya also strengthens the immune system of the consumer. With such great health benefits, it is a great choice for gardeners to grow. The plant is simple to grow, and if you know the requirements of the plant, you will not have much difficulty in growing it, even if you are just a beginners in the field of gardening.

How papaya grows - tree and fruit papaya how it grows

Papaya, or melon tree, grows like a palm tree, but is a woody plant. The papaya is native to Mexico and Central America.

This plant is severely restricted in climatic conditions suitable for active growth and fruiting. Even short exposure to frost will damage the papaya tree, while prolonged exposure to frost will destroy it. Papaya grows well in artificial containers and greenhouses with moderate soil moisture and temperature.

Papaya is not long-lived, but rather grows like a large grass, reaching a height of 15 meters. Side branches do not grow from the central trunk, except in cases of any damage. All parts of the plant contain latex. The papaya trunk is hollow inside, green or dark purple, straight with traces of scars from already fallen leaves. The stem diameter at the base reaches 30 cm.0 cm long. The leaf surface is divided into several, up to 9 pieces, segments with yellowish ribs and veins. The leaf life is 4 to 6 months.

On the trunk, at the base of the leaves, on short petioles, fleshy flowers with five petals and a slight aroma are formed. On some plants, only female or only male flowers grow, sometimes bisexual specimens are found. Sex change of the papaya tree can occur throughout the year during high summer temperatures. A male or bisexual plant can become female after losing the top. How papaya is pollinated is not exactly known. Presumably the pollinators are wind or moths. Usually, artificial pollination is necessary to obtain good yields.

Types of papaya

There are two types of papaya: Hawaiian and Mexican. In supermarkets, you can usually see exactly the Hawaiian varieties. Their fruits are pear-shaped, grow up to 0.5 kg, with yellow skin when ripe. The flesh of the fruit is bright orange or pinkish in color, with small black seeds in the center. Hawaiian varieties are easier to harvest because papaya trees rarely grow taller than 2. 5 meters.

Mexican papayas are much larger, their fruits can weigh up to 5 kg. Their flesh can be yellow, orange or pink, depending on the variety. Their taste is less intense than that of their Hawaiian relatives, but still quite pleasant. A papaya fruit is considered ripe if it is juicy, sweetish and has a melon-like aroma. The fruits and leaves contain papain, which aids digestion and is used to tenderize meat. Papaya seeds are edible and have a spicy flavor somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.

How papaya is grown

Papaya prefers to grow in warm, sunny and the hottest places. It is desirable to protect trees from constant winds and excessively wet areas where rainwater accumulates. Papaya grows in warm, well-drained soils. Excess moisture will quickly destroy the plant. The soil should be moist in hot weather and dry in cold weather. Salt water or soil Melon tree does not tolerate.

Watering is the most important aspect of papaya cultivation. Plants should be kept on the dry side to avoid root rot. But at the same time, a sufficient amount of water is needed to maintain large leaves. A tree damaged earlier by frost is most susceptible to root rot.

Papaya is a fast growing plant and therefore requires regular nitrogen fertilization. Concentrated organic fertilizers such as bird droppings are often used. The tree does not need pruning, although some growers pinch seedlings to encourage the development of multiple shoots instead of a central one.

Papaya needs summer warmth and a frost-free climate for healthy growth and fruiting. Such conditions can be provided artificially by creating frames with covering materials around the plant and organizing additional heat sources. Prolonged cold, even without negative temperatures, negatively affects growth and fruiting. Mexican papayas are more hardy than the Hawaiian varieties.

How papaya is propagated

Papaya is usually propagated from seeds. They are germinated in a purified form in sterile soil and then planted in open ground. Under ideal conditions, seeds germinate in about two weeks, but this process can take three to five weeks. Seedlings usually begin to bloom at the age of 9-12 months.

Papaya trees are very sensitive to transplanting and do not tolerate root damage. Therefore, they are transplanted only once, when transferred to a permanent place in the open field, while the earthen lump must be kept intact. It can also be propagated by cuttings, but this process is more laborious, although such a papaya grows as a genetic copy of the parent plant and begins to bear fruit earlier.

Papaya fruit can be harvested when most of the skin of the fruit turns yellowish. After a few days of ripening at room temperature, the fruit is almost completely yellow and slightly soft to the touch. If a dark green fruit is plucked from a tree, then it will be impossible to achieve its proper ripening and, accordingly, its taste will suffer. Ripe fruits can be stored at 7 degrees Celsius for up to three weeks. Green papaya fruits cannot be eaten raw due to their latex content, and are often boiled like vegetables when they are.

Papaya - growing and caring for the plant at home - What Flower?

Content

  • 1 General description
  • 2 Papai varieties
  • 3 Care for Papaya
    • 3.1 Temperature and Lighting
    • 3.2 Air moisture and Watering
    • 3.3 Fertilization
    • 3.4 PRIVE 9004 3.4 3 fruiting
    • 3.6 Pruning
  • 4 Papaya propagation
    • 4.1 Seed propagation
    • 4.2 Propagation by cuttings
  • 5 Pests, diseases and problems

Papaya (Carica papaya) is a species of woody plant belonging to the genus Carica from the Caricaceae family. It is often called the melon tree because of the tasty and healthy melon-like fruits. Papaya originates from Central America, where it is a valuable food product. But the absolute leader in the export of papaya is India, where the plant has taken root perfectly.

Papaya - palm tree-like plant with carved leaves

General description

Papaya usually grows to a height of 5-10 meters and resembles a palm tree in appearance. It grows in one trunk devoid of branches and at the top forms a lush crown of huge, palmately dissected leaves reaching 50-70 cm in diameter, located on long petioles. Despite the fact that the papaya grows tall and its trunk becomes woody, from a botanical point of view, it is a herbaceous plant, like a banana.

Papaya flowers are located in the leaf axils. Fruits in a mature state grow up to 15-45 cm in length with a diameter of 10-30 cm. Green fruits are poisonous, but are used in the pharmaceutical industry, mature ones are yellow in color and are a valuable food product, tasty and healthy.

Papaya fruit and flower

All parts of papaya contain a milky sap that causes skin reactions.

Varieties of papaya

There are no species of papaya, since it is a species itself, and there are a huge number of varieties, they were divided into three varieties for convenience:

  • Rose-red papaya pulp and very high palatability.
  • Papaya Green small - has small fruits with a greenish peel and rich orange sweet flesh.
  • Papaya Red embossed - has embossed fruits and red flesh. It is considered the most delicious.

Caring for papaya

Temperature and light

The plant tolerates the best temperature of 23-27 degrees. It is not recommended to keep it at temperatures above 29-31 or below 15. Papaya does not like sudden temperature fluctuations and drafts.

Papaya with fruits

The biggest problem with keeping the plant indoors is to give it enough light. Since it grows quite quickly, it becomes problematic to keep papaya at the age of several years on the south window. Additional lighting will be needed, including in winter.

Air humidity and watering

Papaya should be watered regularly, but moderately, the topsoil should dry slightly. Moisture stagnation at the roots is absolutely unacceptable, as well as the shortest drying of the substrate.

The air humidity must be constantly high, especially in hot summer or winter when the heaters are turned on. Papaya is sprayed daily and the air humidity is increased by any means. It is impossible only that the pot comes into contact with water .

Both watering and spraying the plant should only be done with settled water with a temperature slightly higher than the temperature in the room.

Fertilizer and top dressing

Apply organic or mineral fertilizer every two weeks. During active growth - for decorative deciduous plants, and the period of flowering and fruiting is best to use fertilizers for citrus fruits, alternating with organic matter.

Soil and Transplanting

Ready-made citrus soil is suitable for papaya. The pot should be massive, wide and not very high, preferably clay, with holes at the bottom and a good layer of drainage.

Young plants are transplanted annually, adults - every few years. Please note that for a one and a half meter plant you need a pot with a volume of 50 liters.

Flowering and fruiting

Papaya can bear fruit even in a pot

Fruits well in greenhouses and winter greenhouses, but not indoors. Papaya is a dioecious plant, and it is difficult to keep several large light-loving plants in an apartment. Today there is one exception - the variety "Carica papaya Solo", which contains both female and male flowers. You need to pollinate it with a brush.

If you are lucky, the papaya has blossomed and is preparing to bear fruit, remember that you cannot pick them green. Wait for the fruits to turn yellow on the tree and become slightly soft.

Pruning

Papaya can be trimmed to limit its growth. Pruning does not always cause branching.

Propagation of papaya

Papaya is easily propagated from fresh seeds and very difficult from cuttings.

Fresh papaya seed is easy to propagate

Seed propagation

Papaya can be easily propagated by seeds taken from a ripe fruit, slightly dried and sown in a sand-peat mixture to a depth of about 2 cm.


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