Red Lady Papaya Flowers

alys_esmond(9b Orlando)August 27, 2012


I can't go out and check my plant cuz it's raining too hard...

Bought this RL Papaya plant at Lowes for $7.99 (the 20+ plants they had for sale were all in Walmart planters with pictures of blackberries on them) and the tag (also a Walmart tag) said that no cross-pollinator is needed. So we bought only the one.

I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of flowers to see if the plant is the hermaphrodite the label promised (because one can 100% rely on the big box stores' care labels, right?)

Yesterday, my DH arrived from his daily round of checking the garden and announced that the papaya has grown so much since we got it and that the stem is THIS THICK! Off I wandered for my morning tour, and found flower buds!!!! Woo hoo! Typical man, more concerned with girth than performance :-)

So, wadda y'all think? Is the the hermaphroditic plant I was promised? Or a female?

And, if it is a female, are the neighbours' papayas 5-6 houses down close enough for pollination?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Alys

You probably have the red lady papaya because I see it for sale in a lot of stores being a hybrid and kind of dwarf.

I planted a couple of years ago and here is how it look in July.

And I just went to check on my Know You variety that is 2 years old and is still holding with the winds and rains

This season I have seedlings of red queen and red royale and I will be planting them in the spring.


Here is a link that might be useful: papaya flowers

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Alys, I live in Tampa and this is my Red Lady papaya today, which I purchased this year from Wal-mart. It is 8 or 9 ft tall now. I dug a big hole and added top soil, fertilizer and water absorber crystals. I watered it daily until the rains started and then only as needed. It has grown like gang busters!!

Maybe you planted later than I did? I planted around April? Or maybe did not fertilize or water as much?

I posted earlier threads panicked that I would not get Papayas. Three months ago the flowers came and fell off. Then about 2 months ago it started producing flowers that did turn to fruit.

I failed to head the warnings on here and one day saw that ALL of my fruit had one or two tiny little scabs - that when touched would fall off and streams of white fluid ran out.

Dang ! The fly (it looks like a wasp that is 1/2 inch long) was seen and it got my fruit.

NOW I have covered all of my fruit with either bags or knee-hi nylons folded back and forth as a trial.

But the fruit is already damaged. Except for maybe the two biggest ones. I did not have the heart to pull the big ones off - hoping they can be saved since they were gotten late in development. But the small ones I am now pulling off.

It is so frustrating because i just pulled one off only 1 1/2 inches long and it was already bitten!!!!

I am afraid to bag too soon before they are pollinated. Is this correct? Or should I bag immediately and hope one of the other two flowers will do the work?

I only have one tree and none around it. I am very careful when I do pull fruit off to bring it in the house and bag it so that more flys do not develop from the larva in the fruit I pulled.

Wish I could bag it soon enough!!!!!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 4:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Alys, I would not worry. I have been buying the dwarf Red Lady Papay plants from Lowes now for 3 1/2 years. Every one has produced fruit, fruit that I did not have to cover because of rotting. My latest purchase was a two stemmed plant that I planted in the raised bed garden last March as a 2 1/2 ft tall specimen. It is now a full 8 ft tall and already chock full of dark green fruit a bit larger than a ripe grapefruit. Along with the other two remaining trees, I should have a plethora of luscious papayas in 2, 3 months.
Luckily I have not had the insect problems some have experienced. However, I do put out an old glass pickle jar ( approx 3/4 qt size ) with about 5 - 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar inside and the metal cap with 6 - 8 small holes punched in it for the fruit flies to fly in and drown.
Started this as a successful defense against those pesky flies on my mango trees. However, I also find more than a few flies in the jars I now have around my papayas as well.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's a hermaphroditic flower.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 1:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That looks like a 'lady' flower to me, the 'male' has a multiple-flower head w/smaller blooms and does produce a non-edible frruit... watch they don't get wet-feet, too much water will cause foot-rot and good-bye... also, not all those 'bug holes' will cause maggots in the fruit, sometimes when they ripen there is a callus where the fly tried and the fruit callused it over and you just cut that hard piece out and eat the rest, which is OK... so you don't need to toss the fruit just because it looks like the bug got in, you can still cover it w/bags or socks and see what happens...sally

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jofus(9b/10a Englewood, Fl)

Hey, maybe I'm in an area with a low number of flies, but this works for me. Never had to cover a fruit.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jofus, I love your idea and intend to try it myself. :o)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Unless the bud will start to get thicker at the end attached to the stem, it's a hermaphrodite. They do look like a torpedo, are more uniform thick. The female flowers are thicker at the end attached to the stem, looking like an ice cream waffle head over heals.
Here's a useful link with pics of all 3 different flowers in close up:

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 9:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
alys_esmond(9b Orlando)


This picture is of the plant's private parts today :-)
And now I'm more confused than ever.
The flowers are definitely female and the three that have opened seem to be developing fruit. Though, I don't know how long until an unfertilized ovary will fall off.
But, there are more flower buds developing on the flower stems. I thought this was the male flower's development?

It sure seems that anytime I'm bored I can wander out to the garden and find myself a mystery, puzzle or surprise!


    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 11:52AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Pics of recycle pipe and my garden
Hello to all of my gardening friends! This past year...
Get this...
My mother was talking to her Snowbird neighbor last...
Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake, F
wanted: perlite & peat moss wholesaler in miami, fl
Hi, I'm thrilled to come across this site. So many...
Anyone have a azalea (coronado red)?
I picked up a couple at Home Depot yesterday (yes...
Landscaping shady 2' square area at front entry
I live in zone 9 and need help landscaping a very shady...
Desirae Kristen
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™