Growing Papaya Tree in Socal...3rd year

tydiggy0628May 27, 2014

hi all, i have been trying to grow a papaya tree for the past 3 years but have been unsuccessful. in the previous years, i was germinate the tree from seeds and have them grown up till 3 to 4 ft then the winter came and conquered. most of the trees died through the cold/rotted. anyways, hopefully this year will be different. i have a few papaya trees that lasted through the winter. i planted them next to my wooden fence and they survived..hurray! the tallest tree now is about 3 1/2 feet and currently have no sign of flowers/fruits. attached is the pic. i do have another one that survived but is still very small.

Does anyone know when i can expect for the tree to flower and produce fruits? additionally, based on the picture, does anyone know which variety this is? any advice is greatly appreciated.

i am hoping that this year i will finally succeed with plant this!

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Wow amazing! Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 4:09AM
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very hard to tell variety like this
i would clear up around the roots,
and give it lots of compost. + mulch
if there is a way to increase sunshine ?
hopefully it will get taller and it will get more sun.

the more sun it gets, the more fruit,
and better they taste.

i add coffee grounds to top-dress.
they bring in lots of worms.
Papaya love worm poo (chicken poo as well)

its the right size to start flowering
it will take several months after the first flower to get fruit.
hopefully it will stay on the tree over winter

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 3:13PM
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Thanks greenman62.

From what i saw, the tree grew almost 1 feet within in the past few (2) months so it is growing quite fast. I took this picture around 4 p.m. so it looks a little shaded. I would say it gets plenty of sunshine throughout the course of the day.

i am really looking forward for it to produce fruits. from what you are saying, after it produces flower, it takes a few more months to produce fruits? wow...i am hoping that i can have some by the end of fall!

i am starting to germinate more seeds and plant it along the long side of the house so hopefully they will last through the next winter and will produce lots of fruits! i am dreaming of course! lets hope i can get at least 1 from this tree here. will post pics for updates.

do you have any pics you can share?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 8:31PM
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Oops...almost forgot, i have another papaya tree that was in a 5 gallon pot and survived this past winter. the tree was planted on the ground for almost 2 months now and is about 2 ft tall. hoping that it will fruit as well.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 1:26AM
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mangodog(palm springs 9B)

Looking good, Ty! My experience so far has been any fruit forming one year, does not ripen till the next year! I've had fruit take 8-9 months to ripen from when they were formed. It's our cold SoCal winters that really slow them down.

Also, some of your winter "losses" may be from getting the trunk at the base of the plant too wet. If nothing else, they HATE cold wet soil where the trunk touches the soil. After losing a bunch of them over the winter for that reason (they just tipped over from rot), I learned to plant them on mounds of raised soil, with a moat-like thing around them for watering to keep that part of the plant as dry as possible. Also, frosts may look like they kill the plant, but quite often there is still a viable growing point at the top which re-emerges in the spring, so be sure you check on that first before giving it the chop! If the papaya have fallen over, that means that the trunks stayed too wet in the winter and rotted....

Huge learning curve with them. And as others mentioned during the growing season YES they are voracious feeders on just about any kind of fertilizer. And LOVE tons of water when they are growing too....

Here's my TR Hovey in Feb. of this year The largest fruit you see, finish ripening in April and was formed on the plant last June.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 5:43PM
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Thanks for the advice. your pic looks great! i am jealous! i am hoping that the tree will produce some fruits this year regardless of how big/when they ripe. if anything, i can always make papaya salad out of it! haha

where in socal are you? i am in the you have any other papaya trees?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 6:46PM
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I am in Palm Springs. Yes, I have a few Mexican papaya, a few Hawaiian Red (or whatever they are called) and one other variety I don't know the name of. Some are doing fine, others are kind of stick like....


    Bookmark   May 28, 2014 at 11:46PM
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The tree looks healthy,but I would remove that ground cover come winter..that's going to add to the chill soils. This past winter was an all time warm one. Two in a row isn't likely and they have been predicting just the opposite- wet and cloudy.

The fence is really helping too btw,you cant get enough reflected heat for Papaya in California. Ok,maybe MANGO DOG could!..

    Bookmark   June 2, 2014 at 3:56PM
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thanks for the advice stanofh. i will try to make sure the soil is not too wet! the bigger papaya tree (1st pic) is really growing. i believe it has grown about 1 ft since this post. i am looking for it to flower and hopefully produces some delicious fruits. the smaller tree (2nd pic) has been growing at a slower rate. it hasnt grown much for the past few months. i just added some coffee grinds to attract worms and to increase drainage.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Here are some pics i just took yesterday (6/9/14). Based on what i am seeing, it looks like the tree is about to set flowers. Can someone confirm this based on the pics below? If they are flowers, are they male/female/hermaprodite? My apology for the horrible pics. Thanks a bunch!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 12:36PM
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Yes, Ty, they are flowers - what kind I'm not really sure ....somewhere I saw a link describing the diff. kinds of papaya flowers....

here it is: (you might have to copy and paste in your browser)

The first pic is Hermaphrodite, second is female, third is male... (I copied this from another post, so this is not my knowledege!)


    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 5:31PM
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i see one flower, bottom left arrow
the rest look like leaves to me.

its real hard to tell until they are large enough
to see the difference.

Male usually hangs down from a stem.
females have a wider bud.
Herm's look like females, but , sometimes a bit more narrow

Mangodog is on spot about them hating cold-wet feet too.
will quickly kill them.

I use chicken poo. its high in nitrogen
sometimes i use a high N fertilizer with micronutes
they respond real good to both.

are you sure that is a TR Hovey ?
The fruit is hanging down on stems
which means it was a male flower.
(supposedly) and now a male fruit.
I looked at other pics of TR hoveys
they are only supposed to get 6-8 ft tall.
mine is only 4ft (but still young)

you might have something different there.

Here is a link that might be useful: TR hovey

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 1:17PM
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here is a quick update of the tree. the tree in the first pic has grown so much in less than a month. the tree is about 5 ft tall now and has produced a few buds now. i cant wait it it flowers and sets fruits.

based on the pictures, does anyone know how long it takes for it to flower and set fruits? i cant wait! haha

    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 1:48AM
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Greenman - well, I don't know. It was sold to me by Aloha seeds asTR Hovey........I have no way to tell....and YES I've heard others say it is supposed to be dwarfish as well, or at least set fruit at a very low level on the plant....

Don't know what to tell you, amigo....


    Bookmark   June 23, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Here is an update on the papaya tree.
Geez...the tree is GROWING! it is now over 6 ft tall and the trunk is more than doubled in size.

Attached is the pic from yesterday. there are 3-4 fruits on there now. i am hoping that they will stick and not drop. what do you guys think?

can anyone identify the variety and the sex of the flower based on the pic? Please advise. thanks


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:28PM
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Ty - I think it is going to hold some fruit, though it will most certainly winter over on the plant. It's either a female or hermaphrodite plant. Either way, you will get fruit. Yeah, they do grow kind of nuts in the heat, don't they????

By the way, did you say Ty, what kind of papaya this is? It kind of looks like a Mexican to me....


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 5:32PM
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thats a very healthy looking tree youve got.
a very thick trunk, and the fence and house will protect it from winter temps
the top is reaching up to grab more sun, which is great,
and even if the top dies off in the winter, the rest of the plant should be good to go
then come back with a vigor in spring.

lets just hop you can keep the fruit.

mine saved, and the first had ripened in Feb i think.
i was scared it would taste bad,
(the tree looked like hell from cold/wind)
but it was excellent.

the fruit on yours have a curious star shape to them.
i dont remember mine looking like that

but then, papaya, sex and varieties are all strange birds

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:23PM
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horrible news! all this time i was so excited and really looking forward to enjoying my hard fruit of labor but only to find out this Thursday, all of my fruits have dropped! =( i am all discourage now. the tree still has a lot of flowers but idk if they will stick.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:31AM
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These flowers formed fruits and dropped. I suppose they are unpollinated female flowers. does anyone have any ideas on how to make the fruit sticks? Thanks

    Bookmark   October 9, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Not that this will make you feel better..but its always recommended to plant them in make sure you get a fertile plant.
You said you have a second one in a 5 gallon..that might be your pollinator next summer...and pick up a couple more at HD around May!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2014 at 6:33PM
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I am very happy with my Red Lady papaya tree it is self pollinating. Bought it on 6/1814 by sept. was loaded with fruit. Been eating them green grated like cole slaw tastes even better than cabbage. Do add pieces to smoothies with other fruit. Will try putting some in a paper bag with an apple to see if they ripen. So far no trouble with animals eating them or birds. The sap does not cause any allergies either. Hopefully it lasts through the winter for me.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2014 at 12:50AM
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