problem with carica papaya seedling survival

marcyoungJanuary 2, 2013

I live in a temperate zone, have a large conservatory, its mid summer now. My papaya seedlings (ex shop fruit)get to 1cm 1/4" high then die. I have tried various soil and sterile soil-less mixes, lately a very sandy/gritty/bio char well draining mix. Tried the range of full sun to full shade, they are warm 20 - 40 C, its humid. Tried bleaching the seeds, natural fungicides to prevent damping-off, keeping some of them dryish and keeping others moist and in-between, Tried adding onion mold to compete with other negative pathogens.
Its been 2 years of experimenting now, just can't get it, which is a shame , cause I love papaya. Kiwi fruit seedlings seem to be going the same way, and they are a good 6" high.
Any ideas welcomed?

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

what is 'ex shop fruit'????

whats the source of the seeds ...

would it be safe to say.. that none survived beyond using the energy contained in the seed itself ..

did they ever actually put down roots ...

have you ever sterilized your media???? see link

thats all i can come up with ...

oh.. one last one.. ever try them outside the conservatory ????


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   January 2, 2013 at 7:55AM
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Thanks Ken
ex shop fruit'.....seeds from supermarket papaya.
though I've recently purchased some other papaya seeds from a couple of seed houses, ones just popping above ground, so I'd really like to figure it out.
90% probably did not survive beyond using the energy contained in the seed itself.
I recently read they should be planted with 1" of manure on top of the seed, didn't say if the manure was old or fresh, so I will try that.
A few that got a few " high would have had roots, but most probably not.
I Tried and generally use sterilized media.
I live in a temperate zone, I did stick one of the larger ones outside last summer, it hanged on for a bit, with no growth. Then went the same way as the others.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 3:45AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no seeds will grow in fresh manure.. too much urea ..

and aged manure is just compost ...

what are you using as a mini greenhouse???

how do you maintain humidity.. moisture.. etc ....

do you put them in sun.. not the best for 1/4 inch/ 1 cm plants ...

any chance at a pic or two of your process????

somehow or another.. you seem to be burning off roots.. before they can mature enough to start functioning.. thats either lack of constant moisture.. humidity .. sunlight..

BTW.. you arent fertilizing at this point are you.. that can also burn off roots if in excess ...


    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 8:39AM
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Hi Ken
The manure recommendation came from papaya growing instructions. I agree with you on the urea, but possibly it has something to do with symbiotic fungi or suppressing pathogenic fungi through competition.
Or they may need a really rich medium, its new to me, but worth a try, generally I don't fertilise seedlings, but I have experimented with a very dilute organic mix, didn't make any difference either way.
They germinate ok in a pot in a zip bag either in the conservatory or on a heat bed, as soon as they emerge the bag is removed and they go into the conservatory in a semi shade position, although again I have experimented with different light and even just putting some in my house in a window to avoid the humidity. The conservatory has loads of plants so a naturally high humidity.
Maybe they lack the symbiotic fungi, I could buy a 1' plant and mix some of the soil into the seed mix, but the $25 1' plant could go the same way as the 1" seedlings.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2013 at 11:43PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

have you ever considered the green manure of the fruit itself ...

why dont you throw a whole fruit out back in the compost pile.. and see if it can feed itself.. one might presume it was engineered to do such ...

you have a conservatory.. ???


    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 8:00AM
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That's not a bad idea, any beneficial fungi should be in the fruit, I'd have to do it in the conservatory, it wouldn't be warm enough outside, temperate zone.
The conservatory is a simple arrangement, 50 sq m hugging the sun, cement plastered straw bale walls on the back (cool side), earthen floor and polycarbonate roof...........winters here get down to - 3 C at night with frost, but the days have blue skies and inside it soon reaches 20 C...........passively heats the house...........and generally maintains about 5 - 9 C at night.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2013 at 11:54PM
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Where are you getting your seeds from? Some papaya fruit are "cloned" by the grower and the papaya seeds will not yield a plant. I have no trouble growing papaya from seeds but the papayas are from the fruit grown in Mexico.

Again, perhaps the seeds you are using are from cloned plants whose seeds will not produce plants.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 8:26PM
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    Bookmark   March 4, 2015 at 1:58PM
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We lived in an are were you can grow papaya outside. We always got our papaya plants from the compost when we threw away the seeds or we chucked them in the garden....

First of all there are male and there are female plants you need both of them and it seems that you are more likely to rip out the female plants (because I think they look weaker).

Second is that papaya seeds must be fresh like most tropical fruit seeds, so you will have a problem with bought seeds.

Third is that papaya sends down a taproot and that might be your problem. If it is in a tiny pot it cannot form a taproot and it does not like to be transplanted either.

Apart from the climate papaya is easy to grow.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 1:22AM
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