Pawpaw seed germination

Bradybb(wa8)March 29, 2012

I planted some Pawpaw seeds in individual treepots on February 20th.The pots are inside a plastic tub that is being heated at an average temperature of 80F.I checked for growth about the 18th day and several days afterwards.Some seeds have started to send down a root and some not.Is it safe to conclude that by now if there is no germination,then it's not going to happen? Thanks,Brady

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No, after only 5 weeks, you need to wait a lot longer. They are slow and erratic.

I have seedlings sprout up from windfalls or the ones the deer have eaten and spit out the seeds. I've seen seedlings emerge in May and I've seen seedlings emerge in early August.

Give them the benefit of the doubt. As long as the seed isn't mushy or moldy, I'd wait, at least another 4-6 weeks anyway, if not longer.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Yeah, these things germinate and grow at an extremely slow rate to start with. General rule of thumb is that after you plant the seed you won't see so much as a sprout for around 9 weeks.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 1:06PM
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I've had some, planted in late March, after spending the winter in the fridge, that didn't push any above-ground growth until almost October - and some that didn't germinate until the following spring(but not many of those.)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Are we talking about sending a shoot up through the soil or the taproot down?A number have already very good roots going on.I've read that it takes about 18-24 days for the root to break out of the seed and about 60 days to send up a shoot.I'm wondering if I can take some of the ones that haven't done anything out of the heated tub,as I need the space to start some others. Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 4:43PM
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You can take the seeds that haven't germinated out of their pots and put them all in a plastic bag with some slightly moistened peat moss at 80F and check them after 3 - 4 more weeks. Under those conditions most of the viable seeds should germinate by then.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:12PM
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Thanks,that's a great idea. Brady

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:17PM
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I've grown probably a couple hundred pawpaws from seed. I remember hardly any not germinating. But they not rarely were well into summer when they came up, after late winter planting. All of spring had passed if I recall correctly.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 7:18PM
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I'm trying to germinate pawpaw seeds for the first time this spring. I read that 80 degrees was the optimal germination temperature, but I don't think I have any practical way to maintain that kind of temperature. In any case, I've left one set of seeds in a cold frame that surely reaches 80 degrees (or better) most days during the day but drops well below at night, and I've left two other sets of seeds in our now mostly unheated house (probably high 60's mostly.) Will I have any success at these less than optimal temperatures? Surely outdoor soil temperatures where pawpaws naturally germinate aren't anywhere near 80 degrees, right?

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 9:12PM
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Here are some pictures of my setup.It's a heated throw or blanket taped to two 18 gallon tubs,inside a somewhat heated room.I lined the inside with that insulation that is bubblewrap sandwiched between foil.The blanket keeps the temperature usually about 20 degrees warmer than room temperature.It has a variable thermostat.
These pictures were taken today,March 30th.I was surprised to see when the top was opened,some are already sending up a shoot.It's only been 35 days since planting!
Your seeds will most likely grow,but 75-85F is best.Like stated above it will take longer.Brady

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 12:30AM
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I and many other growers go to almost no special troubles at all. Decent soil, partial shade, outside, late-winter planting of stratified seeds, water when needed. The stratifying in the refrigerator was simply convenient and I'd bet that fall planting would be fine too if total freezing of the narrow treepots could be prevented.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:57AM
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I'm not sure where your location is,but here in greater Seattle area,if the highs in the summer approach 80F,that is the exception.These plants are rarely grown here,probably because the low temperatures and lack of humidity.But there are some that have made it to adulthood and produce fruit.So,all the help they can get is a plus. Brady

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 4:58PM
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I'm in central SC where the daily highs in summer approach 100, and often exceed it, and the relative humidity is tempered simply because the high temperature would allow more water to be evaporated. The absolute humidity would be very high. Where the pawpaws grow naturally here, as an understory, the relative humidity will be near 100% and the highs merely in the mid- to high 90s because of the shade. Still, my first pawpaw seeds were from the grand old man of modern pawpaws, Corwin Davis in Michigan, and his instructions included no special requirements beyond normal sowing. The bottom heat can't hurt though I would guess.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 6:35PM
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Oh okay,I'd like to have that kind of heat here,if I could live with it.:)That's a much better climate for Pawpaw.
Speaking of Corwin Davis,some of the seeds that are growing now are from a guy named Bill Merrill in Fremont,CA,whose tree is a cross between Corwin Davis and a local San Jose grower.I had two fruit,which were delicious and saved them.
I may visit your area one day,as a sister moved to Myrtle Beach recently. Brady

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:21PM
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Thanks, everyone, for the advice and the photos.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 12:54PM
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I know little about the Myrtle Beach area but if perchance you get near central SC (which unfortunately is not close to MB) you can see hundreds of pawpaes growing naturally in Congaree National Park simply aside the trails and with no off-trail wandering (or thousands or tens of thousands with off-trail wandering of just a hundred yards or so. They are OK but not outstanding in eating quality (more the whitish type rather than yellow fleshed) and do not fruit abundantly for some reason. There is also a wild patch in a ravine along a trail in Riverbanks Zoo that I have never seen fruiting. Perhaps it is all from rootsuckers of one genotype.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Where's a good place to get quality pawpaw seeds od plants?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 10:44PM
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England's Nursery has some interesting Pawpaw plants. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: England's Orchard and Nursery

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:17PM
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