The not so popular fruit.

persimmonbob(6b)September 1, 2013

There is not much interest in paw-paw's in this forum,but i am going to add my 2 cents in.Yesterday i picked my last wild paw-paw's from nearby patches,which i do every year to evalueade wild versus nurseries bought fruits. Again this wild one came on top,somuch in fact that i am going to topwork my exsisting ones.Muskmelon/mango ain't bad.
A few of the bigger ones were already fallen of this tree and being hauled-off by you know what.

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Bradybb WA-Zone8

That's pretty neat Bob.
I don't live in an area where they grow naturally,so my only access is named varieties or from seeds that someone has sent me,which I've done.
If it's possible,maybe make it available for others to get seeds from some of your favorites. Thanks,Brady

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Please describe what you like better about this one. It's great if you've made a new find. But sometimes tastes differ. If someone doesn't like all the selections and does like something else, it could be a matter of palate.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 4:35PM
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I grow mainly asian persimmons and with my selections of plenty varieties i can do without most and just keep 3 or 4 kinds,not more. Same with paw-paw's, there are about 20 or so varieties that you can buy and most taste the same.
Don't get me wrong, i like to eat a lot of available varieties,but why should i grow so many kinds. The wild one i picked is a great tasting kind and i have picked of this tree for many years, no bad after taste, even size is good.
To me it is a clear winner.I have given some members sionwood to try for them self.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:25PM
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Wish there was an easy way to try pawpaws for those if us who have no idea if we would like them or not. I live in the historical range of wild pawpaws but even though I have spent a lot of time in the woods and near streams, where they are reportedly commonly found, I have never seen one. No local farmers markets or orchards have them either.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 10:27PM
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A fruit growers show at the chicago botanic gardens had a guy giving samples one year. Unfortunately he wasn't back last year, I'd love to have more.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:52PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Paw paws are a wonderful home orchard fruit. They are too soft to ship, but they have wonderful flavor and they are pest and disease free. If you hand pollinate they will be one of the most productive tree fruits you can grow.
I love them. They are not in native range here but they grow well.
John S

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:47AM
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Murky, the taste is very rich,flesch is buttery. In previous post i discribe it as muskmelon/mango taste. I also mention that i allways want to grow a tropical mango tree,now i don't have to and right here in Arkansas.
For the health consious members Paw-paw's are your next cancer prevention and possible cure, Google it and see where it is already used.
Remember what the doctors are saying: An apple a day....Well that is change to: A paw- paw a day.....

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:16PM
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They are supposed to be native to my area, too. But in all the time I've spent in the woods, I don't recall ever seeing a paw paw tree.

A few nurseries offer "seedling" paw paws which are supposed to be from named varieties. I think Burnt Ridge offers them for just $8.50 each. I may purchase a few. Any idea how long they typically take to fruit?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 12:40PM
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alan haigh

Don't be fooled by PB's good fortune and assume you are as well off with seedlings. People in areas with wild paw paws can choose from scores of trees to find one that is exceptional, but the two I ordered and grew as my fist paw paw foray were not nearly as good as selected varieties I grew later.

Michael, of Edible Landscaping, claims his seedlings are as good as selected varieties so I'm putting one to the test. I should know in a couple more years.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 1:47PM
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R T, it all depend: Soil,moisture content, mulching and care.
Care is a big problem with small tree's. You have to make shade for them or grow them in a shaded woodsey area.
Second:Nursery bought tree's usely have their taproot severed and to me that is criticle in my area (drought),but they grow but slower. I bought 2 small popular Peterson tree's which had very good develop roots( no taproot) 2 years ago and they are still very small.Once they start to grow, they grow fast.So it is hard to say how soon they will produce.Some nurseries sell bareroots tree's that are pretty good size and will produce sooner,4 years.You can buy one tree and graft several varieties to it, if you want to be causiuos.I have six decent size tree's and a few smaller ones, way too much. I will say this i am allways looking forward to paw-paw's season which is short for me and get my fill easely and gladly wait till next year.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 3:13PM
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Thanks for the description. I too would love to grow mangoes. They and peaches can be in a class by themselves and would be hard to describe for those who can't grow them.

I'm not so sure I'd like a muskmelon flavor in a pawpaw though. They look appetizing.

If my trees were a couple more years along I'd likely try and score some scion wood. My most mature tree is still quite small and just trying to make its first fruit.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 3:57PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)


I started several from seed in the late winter/early spring of 2010. I planted 12 of them in the ground in the spring of 2011. All but one of these are between 6 and 9 feet tall, the one runt is 3 feet. At least 3 of them have set flower buds this summer, so with some luck they should produce their first fruit next summer, which will be their 5th growing season. I expect at least most of the rest to set flower buds next summer.

I've done everything I can to coddle these plants and encourage fast growth....a long first growing season, when they were in pots (germinated February.March, inside until November), carefully prepared ground, mulching, and regular feeding.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 4:12PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

eboone, you can order some here:

A little pricey, but the fruit are great quality. Several varieties, all labelled. You need to do order soon!


    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 4:16PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

My seedlings from Georgia are still little, but they are growing great. If they end up not being tasty, I figure I can graft onto them.

I've never even tried a paw paw, lol. But I know people around here talk about a fruit they remember from their childhood, so I'll sell them at the farmers markets if I don't like them. I have mine in a spot that isn't prime real estate in my gardens, and they've been practically no care.

I did see a cicada that hatched on one, so that's a warning for brood years, perhaps. I had very few cicadas this year, so they might like paw paw trees.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 7:33PM
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We had a paw paw behind the house when I was growing up in Arkansas. It was attractive, had a few decent, good sized fruit every year, and I tried them but had no real connection. The texture wasn't quite what I liked- similarly with wild persimmons. There were plenty, but you had to freeze them a little and they were small and "different". I might think differently now.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 9:25PM
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So, after living for 58 years with never seeing or tasting a pawpaw, this past weekend my wife and I drove to visit our daughter in Louisville, KY and to help her put a new back porch roof on the fixer-upper we helped her buy to live in while she is in school there. To my surprise, in her little back yard were two large pawpaw trees (plus a few sapling sized pawpaw trees) with a fair number of remaining fruit on them! So I got to try them and really enjoyed the unique taste. I agree with the faint banana custard flavor reported by others, and the fragrance is very pleasant as well. The pic below is of some of her pawpaws; I picked a few larger specimens off the porch roof and tree once we started working.

Below is her largest tree with the new shiny metal porch roof seen just below - the old one was littered with dropped ripe and rotting pawpaws.

I really thought it was ironic that I had just posted a question in this thread about where to taste pawpaws on Sept 1. Thanks to all for the info about pawpaws!

So, now the question I have is about propagating them from seed. I plan now to get a couple grafted varieties here at home, but would also like to get some planted 'in the wild' in a 200 acre family owned woodlot here in PA. How do you start pawpaws from seeds? I expect to start a bunch of little plants and transplant them if I can.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 12:57PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

The seeds need to be cold stratified for about three months.I put mine in small ziplock baggies along with some damp Peat moss,in the bottom part of a refrigerator,between 35-40F.I usually put them in a 10/1, water/bleach solution first to kill any molds and then rinse.Also,don't let them dry out at any time.
After that I plant the seeds in tall tree pots or 2-3 liter plastic drink bottles with the tops cut off.The mix I use is about 50/50, Perlite/ Peat moss.
I also put all the pots in a big Rubbermaid tub,wrapped with an electric blanket,for quicker germination.This way,most start growing a shoot after a little over a month.80F is about the optimum temperature for them.
The seeds can also be planted outside in containers or the ground and left to germinate,but it may take longer. Brady

This post was edited by Bradybb on Tue, Sep 10, 13 at 14:42

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:38PM
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meredith_e Z7b, Piedmont of NC, 1000' elevation

That is really cool, eboone! Pretty tree.

I'm going to have to keep mine a little bit shorter. I hope they do well like that.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 2:58PM
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John Gordon, who for years operated a nursery in Amherst(IIRC) NY, specializing in fruits/nuts for northern growers had experienced what many of us here have, with regard to transplanting grafted pawpaws - even containerized specimens; very frequently (at least in my experience), 2-3 years after transplanting, they may die back below the graft, leaving the rootstock to resprout.
John opined that if he were starting over at a younger age, that he'd be inclined to direct-seed or plant seedlings of good named selections and select those with the largest leaves and letting them grow to fruiting age, rather than transplanting grafted selections.
Perhaps, if you're able and inclined to baby them along and provide lots of TLC the first few years, you'd get along OK, but after the first year, I'm not gonna be giving anything much in the way of extra care other than a modicum of control of competing weeds/grass.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Lucky, what do you think of the intermediate option of direct seeding and then later grafting those seedlings over to named varieties?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:46PM
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"Also,don't let them dry out at any time."

Even after first cleaning off the pulp? Or dont let them dry after starting the cold stratification? I have 40 or so seeds saved up, cleaned off and sitting dry in a bowl for the past couple days until I finish off the rest of my pawpaws.

Thanks again all, for your help.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Tall pots are good, and some folks still subscribe to the magical taproot theory, but I've grown pawpaw seedlings in containers as small as a 20-oz styrofoam cup, had roots circling in the bottom and exiting the drainage holes I punched in the bottom.
Sometimes I'd try to straighten out the circling roots when I transplanted to a permanent location, or potted up to a larger pot, but usually I just chop off the mass of circling roots - and they never seemed to have suffered any ill effects.
I usually stratify pawpaw seeds in the fridge, as described earlier, and plant in spring. Germination takes a while, and I've had some that didn't pop any above-ground shoot growth until late September - and some that didn't sprout above-ground growth until the following April.
I 'lost' some Asimina parviflora seeds in the refrigerator, once, for about 3 years. Still got well above 50% germination rate when I planted them; planted some A.triloba seeds that had been in the fridge for at least 2 years, this spring, and I believe that every one of 'em sprouted, from the looks of the communal (3 gal) pot that they're in.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 5:10PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Never let the seeds dry out.If Peat moss is not available right away,maybe wrap them in a damp paper towel and keep it that way until getting some. Brady

Here is a link that might be useful: Pawpaw Planting Guide-KSU

This post was edited by Bradybb on Tue, Sep 10, 13 at 19:32

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 7:29PM
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I've done that - have a few named-variety seedlings planted out that I've grafted multiple varieties into. Still have some that decline a year or two out, and die off. Don't know if there's a delayed incompatibility, if the rootstock just wants to push its own growth, or if a more vigorous variety elsewhere on the young tree is assuming dominance.
I've lost any significant desire to eat pawpaws, so I don't really pay much attention to mine anymore other than their place as part of the landscaping.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 9:21PM
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I too grow persimmons and paw paws in my yard here in central Illinois.Is there ANY WAY I could get some seeds from that very large wild paw paw that you like soo much?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:48AM
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pappabell,i don't have any seeds left, but i can get you some sionwood if you like.I will cut some by the end of Jan.
Let me know,Bob,

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 12:24PM
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