Paw Paw Tree Propagation

charlieboringJanuary 14, 2014

I have about 10 paw paw seeds of an unknown variety which have been in my refridgerator for about 100 days to allow them to stratisfy. I am going to plant them in water bottle mini-greenhouses. I figure that the water bottle will be deep enough to allow room for the taproot to develop. I intend to plant them at the end of this month. I realy don't have space for additional paw paw trees, but I can probably trade them or use them as gifts. Question: Should I place the bottle mini-greenhouses in the sun inside, in the shade outside, in the sun outside, or in a warm place inside but not in direct sunlight?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

If you put the water bottle in direct sunlight, you'll make an oven. The seeds will germinate just fine in shade/partial-shade. They probably won't sprout above ground for quite some time. Normally, pawpaws grow a substantial taproot before appearing above ground. Many growers use bottomless pots or root-pruning type pots to grow pawpaws. Growing them in a pot with a traditional bottom will result in the necessity for significant root pruning before the trees can be planted out.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 3:35PM
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Young pawpaws are UV sensitive and should not be in full sunlight for the first year or two.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2014 at 6:31PM
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Keep them in a warm location inside and light is not necessary until they emerge. Seeds planted now may not emerge until July. Pawpaws normally emerge stem first like an inverted U and the tops have a slow and difficult time separating from the seed but this is normal. Don't expect to see much growth the first year.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:53AM
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Charlie I don't use the same method as a lot of people but I know what works for me and I have done it a lot. I soak my seeds 24 hours in water and at times add a small amount of vinegar to the water but it's not necessary. I then leave all seeds in the refrigerator in an old glass pickle jar wrapped in a moist paper towel until they sprout which is typically 2-3 months and then I start following the normal growing methods. PawPaws cannot take direct light as mentioned above until they get several years old. PawPaw seeds by what I have observed do not like to ever be dried out. Most seeds do better if kept damp from the day they come out of the fruit in my opinion.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:39PM
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I've grown cherries, apples, persimmons, pawpaws in the above manner and some others probably that I'm not thinking of. The above method for keeping them warm may work better because I have sprouted dates with the seeds wrapped in a moist paper towel in a plastic bag on top of my hot water heater.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I used 2 liter plastic drink bottles with the tops cut off and put them in a big Rubbermade tub with bottom heat,actually a heating blanket or throw wrapped around the tub,with it's own thermostat.The temperature was kept about 80F and most of them popped up in less than two months. Brady

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:56AM
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Brady do you let your seeds dry out? I always have bad results if I let mine get dry. The pawpaws around here don't sprout once they dry out for some reason.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 10:35PM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

Pawpaw seeds are moderately recalcitrant. They'll take some drying, but not as much as orthodox seeds.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 11:02PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

No,I try never to let them dry out at any stage.I think Kentucky State University put out information that the embryo can die and the success rate drops to less than 20%.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 2:03AM
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I'm glad a university tested that because I did not know if that was just pawpaw's here or something to do with my methods but I get few if any sprouts from dry seed so 20% even sounds generous. Every time someone gives me some in an envelope like they were cantaloupe seeds my heart drops. Thanks for the confirmation and I found a link to the article you mentioned

Here is a link that might be useful: Paw Paw seed Propagation

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:32AM
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