Paw Paws in containers?

cheyjohnApril 8, 2004

Are there any types of Paw Paw that can be planted in a container? I am new to this type of gardening, and recently found out that I can grow a fig tree this way (yay!). I would love a Paw Paw, but it would have to be in a container. Thanks!


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chills71(Zone 6b Mi)

PawPaws have taproots which I would think would prevent container growing (unless your container was Very Very deep)

I've read that pawpaws put down a taproot 6-10" before they even break the surface to develop leaves (which I find hard to believe, but who knows...)


    Bookmark   April 8, 2004 at 4:47PM
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swvirginiadave(z6 VA)

Paw Paw seedlings can indeed put down roots that long before they put anything above ground. I've grown seedlings in pots for 2 years, but have never tried to grow them in a really large pot. I don't think the taproot would be the problem, they really don't have to have a big taproot. However, there are no dwarf pawpaws to my knowledge. They usually get to be six feet or more before they start flowering. Also you'd need two for pollination. It might be fun to try if you're patient and have some big pots.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2004 at 1:44PM
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Thanks so much for the help! What I am concerned about is the fall/winter care of these trees. I have heard that they need to be "buried" during the cold months. That is why I thought of trying them in a container. Are there any varieties that you can just leave in the ground with no special care during the winter?


    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 2:18PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)


I have read that pawpaws are hardy down to -25 degrees/USDA Zone 5. I've never heard of anybody "burying" them during the winter to protect them from the cold. (Maybe folks do that in the far, far north.) So if you're able to put plants in the ground I think you should just do so, and drop the idea of planting them in containers.

If you had no choice (e.g. if you had a balcony garden) growing containerized plants might be an interesting experiment. But, as others have pointed out, pawpaws are not ideally suited to containter culture -- so don't do it if you can avoid it.

I suggest you look at the Kentucky State University pawpaw information site, if you haven't already. There's loads of great inforation there on pawpaw cultural requirements.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 3:00PM
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Wow, I really thought they had to be buried to protect them. I remember reading this years ago, and figured I couldn't grow them. This is awesome! I haven't read alot of the Ky site yet, but definitely will. Any suggestions as to what type of tree I should get for my zone? Oh wait, I will need 2 right? Oh, and I do have a back yard, though it's somewhat small and already has a large maple tree in the center. But I have a space for a Paw Paw and the peach that I will be planting. Have to have a Peach tree! Had one at my previous house. Store bought peaches are terrible (unless you pay the price for tree-ripened and even then there is no comparison to growing your own! :) Thanks for all the help. I am so excited!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 4:53PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

I have no argument on the peaches -- store-bought peaches are picked too soon and *are* terrible. By the way, save your sunniest, best spot for the peach tree. Pawpaws are able to tolerate some shade.

As for which cultivar(s) to purchase for your climate zone:

I'm not an expert here, but I know that there has been some debate on whether given pawpaw cultivars are best adapted to certain zones. I'm not sure that there's any consensus on whether specific cultivars are most suited to discrete regions of the country.

However, since it is at least an open question, the KSU pawpaw information site has an extensive list of cultivars that includes information on where the cultivars originated. So you might be able to identify cultivars originated in Indiana rather than, say, Kentucky.

The one problem is that finding a commercial source for some of the more obscure cultivars may take some effort. The KSU site has a list of nurseries that you could call.

My feeling here is that you probably shouldn't worry too much about this, but others who know more about pawpaws may have better informed opinions. You might want to post a question on this point on the "Fruit and Orchards" forum -- there are some folks who post there who know a lot more about pawpaws than I do.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 6:10PM
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Thank you. I will make another post and hopefully get time this evening to do more reading at the Ky site.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2004 at 8:10PM
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I grow pawpaws in 25 gallon containers on a patio and eat fruit. Eventually they will need to go in the ground or a 50 gallon container. The top of the pawpaw is fully hardy. The roots don't like freezing solid (nursery stock gets shallowly buried for winter in colder climates to prevent this). My big pots take high teens alright with no apparent damage, but I would bury them in leaves if we were to have a long and very cold spell.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 5:11PM
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visit the bonsai forum. i posted this same question there, and got many good suggestions. i ahve yet to try it, though.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 7:03PM
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gloriavictoria(z9 CA)

I have a paw paw growing in a 20 inch very deep pot in Sacramento, California. It's on my deck, partially shaded from the hot summer sun. It is deciduous, but comes back beautifully every year. It's a gorgeous tree. They do not like a lot of hot sun. No room to put it in my garden so it may never grow fruit.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 12:05AM
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socal_ann(z10 CA)

Here's what i found on google about paw paws - a little plant humor about half way down about pollination and 'unenthusiastic species' - I think someone was having a bit of fun while writing ....

Here is a link that might be useful: California Rare Fruit Growers, Inc.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 12:34AM
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    Bookmark   February 24, 2009 at 7:54AM
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Ooops noticed that link was broken

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:11AM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

Pawpaw do have a long root that will not do well in the container. however I've seen a potted pawpaw that did set one fruit.
There are dwarf pawpaw in the wild also known as the dwarf flowering pawpaw. These dwarf pawpaw get to about 6 ft in the wild.
I got one that I'll be evaluating. I will be grafting a large fruiting pawpaw into the dwarf pawpaw. Wondering how it will do.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:40PM
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