Red Lady papaya photos

happy_fl_gardenerNovember 15, 2008

A couple of months ago ill_mannered_ache posted a picture of my most prolific of my 4 fruiting papayas. So, I took a picture of the plant today for an update. I picked one ripe fruit last week. This week will be especially good!


Couple of month ago:


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Questions,Why the bags? For bug protection or to help in ripening?
Also,What do you do to protect them from freezing and frost?
They looks soo good.Congratulations!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2008 at 9:36PM
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Did the bags work to keep the fruit fly away? I haven't grown papayas for this reason. They look beautiful, hope they tasted as good as they looked.:o)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:38AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Christine

You have some beautiful papayas growing.
Is the Red Lady the best fruiting papaya for Central Florida?
I got some seeds for Waimanalo and a Brazilian papaya. Do you any experience with them?
Hopefully I can plant them in Spring.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 7:16AM
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Felix---The paper bags and newspapers are to prevent the fruit flies from laying their eggs inside the papaya when they are young. It doesn't aid ripening that's why I recently took the coverings off.

As for winter protection, they are just too tender to hope that they will survive since they are not in a micro-climate area of my yard. I replant in the spring. I suppose that I could protect them but I have so many other things to protect that it is just easier to replant. (I start next year's plants on the first day of fall and keep them in pots until March.)

Katkin---Yes, the bags absolutely work. Use newspapers when the fruits get too big for the lunch bags.

Willy---As I have mentioned, I have been a long time member of the Tropical Fruit Club that meets in Orlando. What I have learned about papayas come from my fellow members. They have taught me well.

There are 3 types of papaya plants; male, female, and self-fertile. After growing other unnamed papayas, I am quite satisfied with the Red Lady. (I buy the seeds from ECHO, Ft. Myers.) Red Ladys are dwarf. Notice how low to the ground the fruit set is. Also, because they are dwarf they will set (good tasting) fruit sooner. The other reason is because they are self-fertile. When I grew the male/female types, I found that there was a high percentage of males in my seedlings, so some years I didn't get any fruit.

I can't say that this is the best fruiting papaya for everyone in Central Florida, but it works quite well for me. That little plant had at least 24 medium to large fruits on it. I have 3 other Red Ladys. They only have about 8 or so fruits on them, but they ended up growing even larger.

All---Thanks so much for your compliments. I hope that I have encouraged you to grow some next year.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 11:53AM
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I'm glad to see your fruit ripening and hope mine will start to ripen soon! I know that my plants will freeze but I'm going to let them recover and hopefully get more fruit next year. I'm growing 3 varieties now and if they all matured now I'd be giving them away to people driving by! I'm just hopeful to get to eat my first papaya.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 12:46PM
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laural---I expect that yours fruits will be ripening soon too. I picked my first one only last week. I wanted you to know that you don't have to give all of your extra papaya away. I cut up the leftovers and freeze them. I freeze my extra pineapples and persimmons too. They are great mixed with other fruits, some yogurt and a little sweetener to make delicious smoothies. They are an extra special treat on a hot day.

I have a recipe for green papaya candy that I tasted years ago, but I never made it because it is very sweet. I bet there are others out there that may have recipes for green papayas. Ideas anyone?


    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 4:55PM
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whgille(FL 9b)


Green papaya can be used as a vegetable. Cooked, in soups,stir fries. Raw, in salads, relishes.

Vietnamese green papaya salad:

2 fresh hot red chile peppers,minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (you can substitute soy sauce)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium green papaya, peeled, seeded, and very finely shredded (about 5 cups)
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
1/2 cup shredded mint leaves
1/4 cup shredded fresh cilantro leaves
1/3 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts,coarsely ground

1. Whisk together the chiles, garlic, sugar, vinegar, lime juice,fish or soy sauce, oil, and black pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

2. Just before serving, combine the papaya, carrots, onion, mint, and cilantro, and half the ground peanuts in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the dressing over all and toss well.

3. Transfer the salad to a serving platter and sprinkle with the remaining peanuts.

If desired, add shredded poached chicken for a main-course meal.

I hope this can be useful to those out there with green papayas. I know I like it.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 9:27AM
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Wille---The papaya recipe sounds good. I'll give it a try.

I want to let you know that yesterday I served your cranberry salad dressing recipe on salad for supper. Tomatoes and greens from the garden topped off with the homemade dressing--what a treat. The dressing is going to be one of my favorites. Thanks for passing it along.

I have so very many green papayas (about 40) that I do need to learn to cook with them. I hate to see them go to waste.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 3:06PM
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whgille(FL 9b)


When cooked, green papaya has a flavor and texture like kohlrabi, but without the heat.
Try shredded in stir fry with beef.

The cranberry vinaigrette is also good with salad greens, sliced pear, thinly sliced red onion, roasted pecans, crumbled blue cheese and fresh pepper to taste.


    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 3:37PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

I meant to say like kohlrabi, but without the kick.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2008 at 4:50PM
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I gave up on Papaya due to the fruit fly. Too much work.
Every year or two I get a volunteer I eat them anyhow and look past the worms. Just like guava or figs. A little worm
never hurts anbody.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 1:47AM
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i just finished devouring the bigger half of one of christine's head-sized papayas... best darn papaya i've ever had. cantaloupe/peach/coconut. mmmmmmmmmm...

the seeds look and taste just like capers. which makes me wonder what you can do with them. i might try to brine them.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:45AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Lucky you! Fresh papaya, what a treat! Specially for breakfast with a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice.

The seeds are edible and add crunch and a peppery zing when sprinkle in salads sweet or savory.
They are also good for digestion.

I seen in other countries used to tenderize meat (I personally have not tried this)

If you decide to brine them let us know about how they come out. You maybe onto something good!


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 8:12AM
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Glad you liked the papaya Micheal. Yeah, that one was really big. Bigger than it looks in the above picture.

Too bad Willy that you didn't live closer. Michael is lucky enough to live right near where I work so it's not very much out of my way for me to get to his house.

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme, that helps to break down proteins. It is usually the main ingredient in powdered meat tenderizers, such as, Adolphs.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 4:02PM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Here are some recipes for papaya seeds

Papaya Seed Dressing

1 1/2 tbsp. papaya seed
1 c. salad oil
1/2 c. tarragon vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. minced onion

For a pepper substitute, try ground papaya seeds

Another papaya seed dressing

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup raspberry vinegar
1 Tablespoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 small sweet onion, minced
1/4 cup papaya seeds
Place sugar, honey, dry mustard, raspberry vinegar, and salt into a blender. Process until combined.

With blender running, add oil very slowly in a steady stream. Stop blender. Add sweet onions and pulse 3 times.

Pour dressing into a bowl and stir in papaya seeds

Refrigerate any leftovers and shake well before using.

Papaya seed dressing is not only good for green or fruit salads, but also as a marinade for poultry and pork.

Yield: about 3 cups

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 5:36PM
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scents from heaven---Thanks for the recipes. I copied them down so I will have them when I save some seeds. I am interested in trying them as a marinade too. They sound like they would be great with chicken or pork.


    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 8:45PM
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just love that papaya recipe

Green papaya salad is my favourite I have some growing at my place, but just now, tonight I am in Canada. With lots of snow

Monday I a leaving for the big drive down to Fort Myers, for the winter.

Didn't know about putting a bag on the fruit.

I have papaya in my garden, maybe I will be down in time for some fruit.

I like the little ones that come from Dominican Republic, at least at the flea markets and grocery stores.

I suppose there are many varieties have not read about them at all.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:04PM
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I've tried for years to grow papaya but seem to lose them every winter. I was told that they will never make fruit while in the 2foot diameter pots & must be transplanted outside.

The one I have now are almost a year old, about 4 feet tall and even if I bring them inside they still drop leaves. I hesitate to water them while indoors, so I put them out on the deck and the leaves fall off. Obviously, being big pots, it's hard to keep moving them in & out.

What am I doing wrong? I don't know what variety they are - just the polynesian papayas sold at the grocery store. Is there a minmum temperature they can tolerate?

    Bookmark   January 1, 2009 at 4:23PM
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jay-wpb(10 FL)

I have quite a few trees. I end up giving a lot of it away. The fruit fly used to bother me but it seems they have retreated for a while.
We actually curried a papaya and it was great - tasted like the butternut squash.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2009 at 10:57AM
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Randy---First of all you do not mention your location. This makes a difference in what advice people can offer you.

I am the one that started this thread. Read my above comments again and I will get back with you after I know where you are.


    Bookmark   January 3, 2009 at 7:22AM
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Thanks Christine;
I am in Houston Texas where the winters are fortunately short & mild but the summers are ferociously hot.
I'm sure the humidity is good for tropical plants but hellish for me.
We don't have much freeze but it can be unpredictable. Sometimes a freeze is only one night & sometimes it lasts for a week or two. We can have 30 degree nights with 70 degree afternoons.
We got a snow fall on Dec 10 - very rare event.
I have a tile floor inside my patio doors but bringing the trees inside crowds the room and breaks my back.
When I put the papayas in these large pots I noticed they have very small roots. How many trees can I put in one 24 inch pot without crowding them too much?

    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 4:24PM
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Randy---It sounds like you are determined to grow papayas. So, I will do my best to tell you how.

For next year: Your papaya seeds need to be started in the summer and potted up until your freezes are over. The size of young plants would not be so large that you couldn't lift them. For the plant you have now I would use a "hand truck" to save your back. I am a petite built woman and this is what I use for heavy plants.

If you are able to plant the papaya plants in the ground by mid-March, you will be eating papaya starting in November. Keep in mind that they are heavy feeders and like a lot of compost. The compost also helps the plants to not dry out. Papayas thrive in the tropics so your summer heat will not be a problem.

Papayas get a sizable root system so if you put them in a pot that is too small it will stunt the plant. The dropping leaves can be caused by letting the plant get too dry, too cold, or not enough sun from keeping it inside too long. Keep the plant that you have now in a large pot by itself.

As for variety, the plant you have now came from a grocery store fruit which may not grow true to seed. I tried that once and the fruit tasted terrible. It is best to get a named variety such as the Red Lady papaya that I described in an earlier post. Another advantage to the Red Lady is that it is a dwarf and all of the plants are self fertile. That means no male is required so you could grow just one plant if you wanted.

A friend gave me 2 papaya plants recently that are extra dwarf and grow easily in pots. If I get it to fruit and produce seeds next summer, I will post that I have seeds available to give away.

Hope that info helps. Good luck.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2009 at 7:44PM
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Thanks Christine;
Since reading this thread I've been watching the temps more closely. They're inside the patio door now.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2009 at 3:35PM
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Hi Christine,

I with the Tampa Bay RFCI. I would really like to trade for some Red Lady Papaya seeds. Please let me know where I can obtain some seeds. I have a lot of seeds to trade.

Thank you very much!

Charles Novak
Tampa Bay RFCI

    Bookmark   February 4, 2009 at 9:25PM
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I spent many years in Thailand when i was growing up, and our breakfast every day consisted of cut up papaya with lime juice squeezed over it. But my favorite papaya recipe (not Thai) has to be the following:

Pappaya & Black Bean Salsa

8oz ripe papaya, peeled seeded and cut into ½" pieces (2 C)
1C firm, cooked Black beans
1/4C finely chopped red onions
2 jalapenos chilies seeded and minced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
¼ C cilantro leaves
3 tbsp fresh lime juice or to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and gently toss.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 1:35PM
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Have those extra dwarf plants produced fruit? I am curious as to how they do for you.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 2:55PM
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sscantlay---Interesting papaya recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Veronica--- I did have 2 extra dwarf papaya plants that a friend gave me but when planting them the roots broke off of one of them. The one and only remaining papaya plant is doing great. It did start setting fruits low to the ground and earlier than the Red Ladys. I'll take a pic of it in the near future so show you the progress.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 9:03PM
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Glad to know it survived. I am interested in the taste, too.

I pulled my only surviving Solo Sun completely off its roots by snatching it with a rose cutting. This was the lone success from 10 expensive seeds. It was like a bare knob. :-( I stuck it right back in the same pot and it re-rooted. It is now about 5 foot and I am awaiting blooms.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 10:12PM
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I am just now growing a red lady from seed, so about how long before I get fruit? How tall has yours gotten? :o)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 6:16AM
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featherhoof(zone 9)

Mom, I still have your papaya seeds at my house from our trip to ECHO. I'll bring them over next time I come over.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2009 at 9:32PM
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Kathy---Your Red Lady should be ready for fruit next spring, maybe a little sooner since you are in a warmer climate than I am. The plants need to be started the summer the year before getting fruit. Because mine freeze nearly every year, I will start next year's papayas in mid-September. My Red Ladys are about 5 1/2 feet tall now, counting the height of the leaves.

I took some pics of the extra dwarf variety yesterday. The Red Ladys only have 3 fruits on them but this prolific plant has 10 fruits already. The fruit at the very bottom has grown all the way to the bottom of the bag already. It is more liner than round. I sure hope that these fruits are tasty too. If they are, I will surely be saving their seeds.

I use knee high stockings, folded in half, as a protection until the stems of the fruits harden a little more to prevent the bag from snapping the fruit off in a heavy wind.

Here are 2 views of the plant, located in the southwest corner of my veggie garden. The ground cherry plants and banana peppers are crowding it.


    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 9:52PM
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That's a great looking plant. I was wondering if the knee highs would work instead of the paper bags. Seems like they would be easier to work with.

Any input on that idea, anyone?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 10:08PM
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Did your Red Lady's survive thru this winter?...Mine (3 trees) did not?...I have not seen any "good/young/healthy looking" trees in nursury's or at Home-depot/Lowes yet? When should I plant new ones?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2010 at 10:42AM
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Hello folks, regarding the paper bags, how do they hold up under the rain?

how many months from sowing did it take to get the first flowers?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:36AM
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thonotorose and tropicdude and tampacitrusguy ---

I read an article in the newspaper that said that the knee highs would work but while I was placing some of the stockings on the young fruit I watched the fruit flies sting the fruit right through the knee highs. So what I do now is to place the knee highs on the fruit when it is small but I be sure to have the stocking folded in half. That has worked well. Later, when the stem is stronger, I will take off the stocking and replace it with lunch paper bags. They hold up well to the weather. It needs to be in place only until the rind of the fruit gets tough. I take the bags off a month or so before ripening time.

Since I get freezes every winter harvesting papaya can be a challenge. I used to start the seeds the first day of fall but since we seem to be in a cold spell I am going to start the seeds in August this year. All of the plants are grown in pots and kept warm during the winter. Then they are planted. I did protect the bases of the papaya plants this year and I am getting a slow recovery. With a mature root system I am hoping the they will produce fruit again this year even though they are starting from the ground. We'll see.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 8:15PM
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Does anyone have seeds for a dwarf variety? I would love to try them here in Phoenix.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 1:19AM
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Try eBay. I bought a new extra dwarf variety that I have growing this year. Got them started too late for fruit this year. I'll have to keep them potted until next spring.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 9:50AM
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Last year in the Fall I threw some papaya seeds out in the back, and never saw anything grow.... I went out there the other day and they had all sprouted and were 1 foot high!! they wintered-over in the ground, you'd think they would have froze, but there they were ! amazing......on the side of the house, the big plants that had been bearing so good froze down in Jan.,,,, this Spring I cut them way down to green, and put some aluminum-foil over the cut, and they have all sprouted new 'arms' and some have blossoms...... what a plant !! amazing........... sally

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 12:14PM
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I planted several red ladys in the yard and one is beginning to flower. However, none of the other has flowered yet. Do I need more than one to flower at a time to get pollination and hopefully fruit?

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 1:49PM
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rednofl(9b Goldenrod Fl hz 10)

Yes, Papaya trees are male, female, or hermaphrodite
You need both flowers for good fruiting. Usually if you have 3 trees close together you are in good shape. Red ladys should produce more hermaphrodite which is best.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 2:25PM
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I have only one red lady and it has produced amazing fruit. Even my hubby has decided he likes it. :o) I am now trying to grow a few more.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 7:07PM
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I just bought 4 papaya starter plants from eBay today. This is the sellers write up on each of them.

Semi-Dwarf Filipino Papaya. These plants are about 12-15 inches in height. You will receive 2 plants in each container. We are shipping these in a 4 x4 inch pot. These papaya are considered semi-dwarf papaya that grows about 8-10 ft. Has a medium size pear shape yellow-orange color fruit. Very sweet, good tasting papaya.

(Two) Carica papaya ÂTR Hovey A dwarf size papaya that grows only about 3-5 feet tall if planted in a pot and grows about 6-8 feet if in the ground. This papaya has excellent delicious fruit. It bears a medium size fruit about 4-6 inches long and 4-5 inches in diameter. The fruit is yellow in color when it is ripe. Grows better in warm location in a full sun area. This is a starter plant about 4-6 inches tall and will grow fast as soon as planted in a bigger container.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:40PM
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I found & bought these seeds for dwarf papaya on eBay. This is my first attempt at growing papaya in Fla. I will be growing all my papaya in 15 gallon pots outdoors during summer and bring them into a heated greenhouse for winter. Any helpful hints at growing papaya would be appreciated.


The Sunset Papaya is a dwarf papaya variety originating from the University of Hawaii. It is characterized by a short height and sweeter than average papayas that range from 1 to 1 1/2 pounds. The sunset papaya is extremely prolific which makes it appealing to the commercial growers in Hawaii.

The Waimanalo Papaya is a smaller dwarf papaya variety with more compact growth. It is ideal for those growers that want a great tasting papaya yet live in an environment that isn't suitable to growing one outside year round. The Waimanalo papaya starts fruiting when only about 2 1/2 feet tall and doesn't grow nearly as fast as most other papayas. Originating from the University of Hawaii, the fruits average 1 to 2 pounds and are very sweet. The Waimanalo Papaya keeps the best out of all the papaya varieties we sell and makes a great offering at your local farmerÂs market.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:47AM
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Lou, I can't really tell you any tips as this was my first papaya growing in my garden. It gets watered 2x a week and is in full sun. Others here are can tell you more. I am trying some seeds from this one.

The Waimanalo sounds very good too. :o)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 6:38PM
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"Yes, Papaya trees are male, female, or hermaphrodite." Okay, it is with a great deal of trepidation that I ask this, how do you tell male from female? (is the female plant the one with the credit card? is the male plant the one holding the remote?)

Seriously, how do I tell?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 6:08PM
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rednofl(9b Goldenrod Fl hz 10)

Generally the female flower comes out first it is fatter and right between the leaves on a short stalk the male flower is smaller and on a thin stalk. Once you see it it is obvious. I have Red Lady , Waimanalo the long thai type and a noid I had the last 3 years but this last winter did it in. Some are in pots in case we have another bad winter

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:59PM
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What do you think, male, female or both?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 8:07PM
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The plants in the previous post appear to be males. I find them to be very ornamental.

In addition to growing Red Lady and the unknown very dwarf papaya I added Waimanalo this year. (The one just discussed.) I also bought the seeds off of eBay. The (two) plants are about 3 1/2 feet tall with no flower buds. Luckily, the extra dwarf and Red Lady are setting fruits now.

Last year I lost about 40 very large papaya fruits to the freezes. I was wondering if someone might have a recipe for green papaya salad. Last year I got to taste Oriental green papaya salad that was made with the finely shredded papaya and peanuts. It was so delicious.


    Bookmark   July 22, 2010 at 3:09AM
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I have one dwarf red lady. Planted 9/09. Barely survived 1/10-32 degrees in Satellite Beach. Set fruit but-most fruit turns yellow when 2" long, then drops. If it stays green it's OK. Two things, mealy bugs love this thing and horn worms were all over it in 11/10. Mealy bugs, hose and safer soap. Horn worms, pick and leave for the birds. And then came December. First actual freezing I've seen here since 1995 when I came. Plant did OK-young leaves look good. Old leaves ratty. Picked one fair size fruit, 3+ lbs. But too young and probably won't ripen. Questions, why the fruit drop? Normal? And do the seeds yield true dwarfs? Brevard County master gardeners have never seen the dwarfs. Thanx.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2010 at 12:53PM
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    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:29PM
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i have started a small plantation of red lady papaya about 600 seeds which i bought commercially. now im already harvesting the fruits and sell it to the market. now im thinking to expand my plantation to produce more fruits due to demand. the question is can plant the seeds of fruits that i produced? will it be productive as the original seeds did? since that red lady papaya variety was hybrid...

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 10:18AM
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Red Lady is a F1 Hybrid, so planting seeds from the fruit of the trees you already have could be a problem, if they germinate, you will most likely end up with something different.

Red Lady is tolerant to PRSV which is great for commercial growers, you might not want to risk losing that advantage replanting.

I have just been "loaned" a piece of land and I,am planning to also have a micro plantation, around 30-40 trees

I will be planting around 30 Red Maradols, 5 Sun Gold F1 Hybrids, and 5 Kaeg Dahm ( Thailand variety ) the owner a good friend of mine, is planting all the rest of his land with Red Lady, so I'll probably have a few of those. hes not going organic like me, so i will want to have some as controls, to see how my plants do compared to commercial fertilizers and stuff.

This is more of a hobby than a way of making money for now, experimenting with sustainability, using Gliricidia as fertilizing mulch, and inter-cropping with pigeon pea and winged beans etc. all organic.

I am curious about your plantation, ill be sending you an e-mail, i have questions myself :) since its a bit off topic from this thread.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 11:06PM
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I'm excited that last week I got to eat my first ripe papaya fruit of the season. This plant is third generation from the photos I posted on July 24, 2009 (photos located about halfway through this thread). Each year the saved seeds are producing larger plants and larger fruit. The flavor is still very good.

Two of my Red Lady plants are just beginning to show signs of ripening. I buy my Red Lady seeds every year so I can't expand on the recent previous post about what saved seeds from Red Ladys look like.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 9:33PM
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vid_nand(Z 9 CA)

Hi christine,
Will you be able to share some seeds of the extra dwarf unknown variety? It will be great if you can let me know.



    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 1:19PM
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