Papaya Tree

sirach411(Central TX 8)August 3, 2007

Does anyone here have a papaya tree? I am wondering how well it does in our zone? Will I have to keep it in a pot? I was cutting a papaya for breakfast this morning and there were zillions of little sprouts in there......amazing to me as I have never seen that before.....been eating them all my life.... thanks! off to see what I can google :-)

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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

I know some folks in Houston successfully keep them by planting them on southern exposures close to their homes. I've been told they still expect them to go belly up in a hard freeze year and ones that are small enough to be covered in anything below freezing should be!

I'm not sure how "central" TX you are, but I know the orchard coordinator with the Harris County Master Gardeners Office could probably provide more knowledgeable insight. He could give you info on how long 'til production etc.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 5:53PM
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sirach411(Central TX 8)

Thanks. I am in Bell County. I am new to all of this and lol I did not know there was such an office. Awesome!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 10:13PM
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I have one in the ground since Spring of '06. It survived one night of 22F and it was below freezing for over 10 hours. I did cover it that night with a tarp. It lost all of it's leaves but has grown back nicely this year. It is about 9 feet tall.

I recently planted some seeds in 18 three-inch pots, and they are all growing well. I like to keep them in a pot their first season, then plant them in the ground after the threat from frost is gone in the early Spring.

I had almost two dozen fruit on the tree last year. This year it only has about six, so far. I think mine needs to be in more sun, especially with the extra rain we have been receiving this year.

I would recommend planting it on the south side of your house or similar building where it gets full sun, and in well-drained soil. I always heard to plant them where nothing else will grow.

Good Luck


    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:31PM
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sirach411(Central TX 8)

Sorry I am so late in following up this post. Thanks for your advice! I did plant all the seeds in pots...some are doign well, looks as if others have died off. Just keeping the soil moist for now...

    Bookmark   August 10, 2007 at 6:29AM
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patsy_b(z8 Tx)

sirach411, I live near you. Right on the north border of Bell county. I had some in pots for several years but did not get fruit as I think I had all male plants. All the blooms were the same on the plants. I was told that the female plants had a different bloom. I finally got tired of moving them in and out and planted them in the ground. They did not survive. I must say tho that I did not put them in a sheltered setting nor did I cover them.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 6:47AM
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sirach411(Central TX 8)

I think it will be very interesting to see what I get from these. This morning I went out and saw that I had nine little sprouts. I was shocked as I was not expecting that. I thought for sure that I had done some thing wrong....and I guess there are more coming. Will these dies off tou you think? Patsy, did you start yours from seed? This is all very exciting to me as I am new to all of this.....trying not to get carried away but I think I am going to try to plant some guava next. :-)

    Bookmark   August 11, 2007 at 11:36PM
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If you got seeds from a store bought papaya, then the seeds will produce trees with both male and female parts.

The Carica Papaya from South America has the sepaerate male and female trees, amd some have both.

In pots, they generally will not produce fruit, they need to be in the ground. I have only one in a pot that produced fruit, but the others that were planted in the ground, all produced fruit.

"Some plants at certain seasons produce short-stalked male flowers, at other times perfect flowers. This change of sex may occur temporarily during high temperatures in midsummer. Some "all-male" plants occasionally bear, at the tip of the spray, small flowers with perfect pistils and these produce abnormally slender fruits. Male or hermaphrodite plants may change completely to female plants after being beheaded."

"Flowers: The five-petalled flowers are fleshy, waxy and slightly fragrant. Some plants bear only short-stalked female flowers, or bisexual (perfect) flowers also on short stalks, while others may bear only male flowers, clustered on panicles 5 or 6 feet long. Some plants may have both male and female flowers. Others at certain seasons produce short-stalked male flowers, at other times perfect flowers. This change of sex may occur temporarily during high temperatures in midsummer. Male or bisexual plants may change completely to female plants after being beheaded. Certain varieties have a propensity for producing certain types of flowers. For example, the Solo variety has flowers of both sexes 66% of the time, so two out of three plants will produce fruit, even if planted singly. How pollination takes place in papayas is not known with certainty. Wind is probably the main agent, as the pollen is light and abundant, but thrips and moths may assist. Hand pollination is sometimes necessary to get a proper fruit set.

Fruit: There are two types of papayas, Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermarkets. These pear-shaped fruit generally weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small black seeds clustered in the center. Hawaiian papayas are easier to harvest because the plants seldom grow taller than 8 feet. Mexican papayas are much larger the the Hawaiian types and may weigh up to 10 pounds and be more than 15 inches long. The flesh may be yellow, orange or pink. The flavor is less intense than that the Hawaiian papaya but still is delicious and extremely enjoyable. They are slightly easier to grow than Hawaiian papayas. A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweetish and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavor, although musky in some types. The fruit (and leaves) contain papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat. The edible seeds have a spicy flavor somewhat reminiscent of black pepper."


    Bookmark   August 12, 2007 at 3:53PM
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sirach411(Central TX 8)

Thanks for this post I am concerned as I have 25 little sprouts in a 5 gallon pot.....perhaps I can trade some when they are better established. I planted all of then as I read some where that you could plant all the seeds and only get two or three trees. But so far I have seen a new sprout or two everyday for the past two week. Yes I did get them from a store bought papaya. I have been watering every other day as I read they do not like to be watered to much and we have had over 100 degree temps here for a while now. I have noticed that some seeds floated to the top and did not root at all. Oh well, for me, new to gardeing it is all still very exciting. We will see what happens. :-)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 12:05PM
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I am trying my first papaya tree. I put it in the ground on the East side of the house. It gets morning through afternoon sun. I am amazed at how fast it has grown. It has several clusters of sweet smelling flowers below the leaves that extend out on 8 to 10 inch stems. I was wondering when do they bear fruit or if indeed mine will bear frui? A friend talked me into getting it because she said it grew fast and the fruit was so good but she also said hers died in the winter and she had to replant every year. How big do they get?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 2:19PM
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...when do they bear fruit or if indeed mine will bear fruit?

Depends on the variety. Read the exerpt in my earlier post on different varieties.

Mine has small fruit on it now and is still blooming.

How big do they get?

The fruit get up to the size of a football. The tree grows to about 12 feet here, depending on amount of light they get each day.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 4:33PM
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I am very excited to read this. My husband is from Hawaii and always wanted a papaya tree but I didn't think they would grow here. I live in Copperas Cove right next to Bell County. They have a master gardener and agriculture extension office in Belton if you ever need their services. I would love to trade something for a papaya tree if you get them going and have an extra one email me. I'm sure I have something you would be interested in trading for. I had a friend try and grow one here but he left it out in a pot overwinter and it died. I would bring it in the garage and put it under grow lights for the winter the first year Then plant it in the ground. I saw on Central Texas Gardener show on PBS this weekend a lady in Austin had a huge tree full of big fruits but it didn't say if it was in the ground or not. It only showed the tree top with the big fruits.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 5:08PM
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You can take the guess work by getting one at the nursery that already has flowers or fruit. I just got one that was about 4' with small fruit on it for only $12.50. Elongated fruit is hermaphrodite and can keep producing without a 2nd plant around.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 9:21PM
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I have 3 Hawaiian Papaya trees with about 100 papayas on each that got wiped out with the last Corpus Christi freeze. The lower half of each trunk looks like it might survive. Anyone have experiences cutting the trunk back !!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Yes they grow all over houston , no special care outdoors . Our climate is very mild / tropical with short lived cold temps . See attached photo of one such of many examples in houston . Very mature papaya loaded with fruit in downtown area

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 7:31PM
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I have a few in the garden also , the other is a neighbors , there are tons in my hood

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 7:35PM
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I have 2 female trees and they managed to produce fruits. When I cut them open, however, they had no seeds. Thought that was very interesting. One is in a pot and 1 is in the ground on the SE side of the house under trees.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:40PM
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Same thing here Lavernia, I'm a little NW of Houston and I planted some seeds from a papaya hub brought home from the grocery, several sprouted and two grew into trees (I tried transplanting the others but none of those made it).

Both trees produced fruit the second year, seedless fruit but a wonderful, mild flavor. We cut them down last Fall because we didn't really think they'd grow from those seeds and they reached the gutters of the house, too big to be that close. Good fruit though.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 11:53PM
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I've just joined the site and is totally new to it, so I may not be posting at the right site. Pls excuse me if I'm wrong.

Does anyone know where I could get a whole (dwarf) papaya tree near Boston? Any suggestions will be most gratefully appreciated.

Actually, only the fresh papaya leaves are very urgently needed for making a juice for treating dengue - a well-known treatment elsewhere.

Thank you very much.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2014 at 1:57PM
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