A Cold Winter means no Papayas ... Picture

roselee z8b S.W. TexasOctober 28, 2009

If it is going to be a cold winter as discussed on the Satsuma thread I guess that means the Papaya plants won't have a chance of making it. What do you think? They even have little flower buds.

They are growing in three places in the yard and at first I could not for the life of me figure out what in the world they were. When they were small a friend suggested they looked like that unnamable weed! :-( Since Jolana-apple-seed had been here with her pockets full of poseys I wondered! (giggle ;-) ... but then figured out they were coming up from the seeds of papayas where I had buried kitchen scraps to compost in place.

Since they lend such a nice tropical air to the garden I may just plant some seeds on purpose next year. In front of them are toad lilies.

Does anyone here grow Papaya plants for their foliage, or their fruit?

What do you think this winter's weather will be like?

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I'm hoping for a warm winter but the yard is so overgrown it will probably freeze.
We have a papaya in the front yard, planted after Ike. Hopefully we will have fruit next spring, lots of blooms right now. There were a couple in the backyard with fruit but they were Iked.
Tally HO!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 2:07PM
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texasflip(Nacogdoches, TX z8)

Wow, they look really nice. Maybe wrap the trunk with something after it loses it's leaves? I know they can resprout from their base so I would at least mulch it well. If you get fruits that don't have a chance of ripening by winter, you can cook with them while they're still green. You can use them in place of mirlitons/chayote.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 8:16PM
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Hi, Roselee. I seriously doubt you can get those plants to overwinter in your zone. Good luck, though!


    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Hey Roselee, Kt has one and it withstood 22 degrees, for several hrs, covered .
That was posted a few years ago
It might have lost it's leaves but cameback
That would be so neat if they make it. Were the seeds from a store bought papaya?

    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 8:33PM
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Jo is right. I finally lost the tree last year with the drought and lack of care during Winter months, but planted another in the same spot.

It has a few small papayas on it now, but the one at work has several large fruit, but something happened to the plant...poisoned I guess, it looks really bad now, but otherwise, the fruit would be ripening now if it weren't for that.

They are more cold hardy than most people think, but I would recommend planting them on the south side of your house or other similar building.

I remember reading years ago, that you should plant your papaya in the spot in your yard, where nothing else will grow.

They need as much sun as you can give them 6+ hours, and need to be kept watered well, preferably in well-drained soil.

If you want a plant for next year, buy one now and over-winter it in a greenhouse, or bring it inside on colder nights. You can even buy a papaya at the grocery store, which are the Hawaiian variety, and let the seeds dry out for a few days.

Plant them in pots and keep watered well. Don't give the young plants too much direct sunlight. By next Spring, they will be several inches tall and ready for outdoor planting.

They grow really fast, reaching 8 feet or more in their first season, with a trunk diameter of up to ten inches.

To ensure fruit on an outside tree in it's first season, I would keep the tree in a large pot for one full Summer outdoors in a shady area, then after the last frost, immediately plant outdoors and fertilize once a week or so with a water soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro.

Blab-blab-blab...am I talking too much?

See, bamboo is not my only passion.


    Bookmark   October 28, 2009 at 9:51PM
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Sheila (from the swap) grows Papaya for fruit. Would you like me to email you contact info for her?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 11:19AM
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They produce fruit easily. Getting them to ripen before the first cold spell is the challenge.

A well established plant in a pot planted early in the Spring will give you ripe football sized fruit by late October.

Give the tree protection in Winter...a couple feet of mulch/leaves and wrap the trunk with a blanket.

The leaves will always freeze off, but the trunk will resprout beautifully the next Spring and once again produce fruit.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 2:24PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Thanks everybody for all the good tips!!!! Kt, I'm wondering if there are varieties that are more cold tolerant than others. Home grown papayas sure like a fun to grow fruit. How do you get your starts?

Jolana, these came up from regular grocery store papayas. They certainly have very eager to grow seeds since they were just dumped in a hole along with potato peelings, apple cores, carrot pulp from juicing, and whatever else found its way into the gallon bucket. Guess all that stuff gave them a good start!

    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 2:36PM
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The Carica papayas are the most cold tolerant that I know of, and can grow to 30 feet with small watermelon sized fruit.

The store bought papayas are mostly Hawaiian papayas because they are grown there.

It is difficult to get seeds from a Carica because thay are not readily grown in the USA. They are form South America.

I ordered some Carica seeds online but only a couple survived, which both turned out to be male plants...which is another thing about Hawaiian papayas, the trees have both male and female flowers whereas the Carica can have both, but can also be either male or female, at least that is what I was told.


    Bookmark   October 29, 2009 at 11:19PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Ken, thank you SO MUCH for the education on papayas. And no, you certainly do NOT talk too much! I had no doubt that your interests extended past bamboos, but it is good that some of us seem to specialize in certain areas so that those of us who dabble in them can benefit from their knowledge.

When a freeze is predicted I'm going to throw a blanket over one clump of papayas, and dig up one of the other clumps to put in the overwintering house to separate and replant in the spring. We'll see what happens :-)

Thanks again to everybody!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2009 at 12:22PM
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OK That does it!! I'm buying papayas today (if I can find some) and drying the seeds.

I don't care if they fruit or not. I like the foliage. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Ah, protected mine and it froze.
Tally Ho!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:02PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Mel, believe it would have to be a container plant for us.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 1:15PM
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yes container plant .... or an annual. :)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:14PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

I wrapped the papayas with sheets and towels before the last freezes, but of course since it got down to 14 degrees the tops froze back anyway. However, I just went and looked and the very bottoms are still green so maybe they will sprout from the roots and I can enjoy their foliage again next summer. :-) If they don't I'll plant seeds from the fruit I always buy anyway.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 3:18PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Roselee, you are an enabler .............LOL>

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Don't ya love it? :) Hugs to Roselee!!

In my extensive reading today, I found where one guy cuts his down to about 4 ft and wraps it.
Another had the top damaged and cut it, then put a tin can over the top and wrapped it. It was enough to keep out the cold and preserve the trunk.
Others build little green houses around them, wrap them and drop a light bulb inside during cold snaps.

These are pretty short lived plants anyway... usually 4 to 5 years where you have to protect them during the winter.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 5:33PM
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I just got a plant in October from a local vender, at the farmers market. I wrapped a towel around it and securing it with rubber bands. I got up the next morning it was 26 degrees, the top had unwarpped. I wrapped it up again, I hope that it will come back. It was so hard to keep things covered, the wind just kept uncovering my plants. I kept putting covers back on them, I was exhausted when I got home. I have not been back since, so I have no idea what did and did not survive. I went to buy some Superthrive, so I can put on my plants when I go back, it has gone up almost $3 a bottle at Home Dept and Lowes, since last year.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2010 at 3:31PM
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smittee(central florida)

HERES MY INPUT ON THAT SUBJECT. Four years ago I bought a little papaya tree.YEAR ONE... it froze to the ground
got mushy and dissapeared.
YEAR TWO...it came back from nothing and grew to 3'had 15 flowers, one fruit that didnt get any bigger then a dill pickle
YEAR THREE..it froze to the ground got mushy and dissapeared. it came back from nothing and produced 45 wonderfruit non that were less then 10" long .(if you type in papaya in the search bar it will bring up picture of last years crop.)
YEAR FOUR..2010 it froze, got mushy, fell apart and dissapeared.. May 1, 2 leaves appeared at ground level. June 1, the 2 leaves are now a cluster 3 feet wide and about 18" tall. This is the tree I sent seeds from to several people. I did not plant the seeds I saved. I have had surgery followed by a stroke and week later a seizure and now i have blood clots on my lungs so my gardening this year is confined to my own adaptation of bucket gardening that is doing fairly well concidering, it was unattended for 3 different periods while i was hospitalized.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 3:48PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Smittee, thanks for passing along your experience! Wow, it took a while, but you finally got a big bunch of fruit.

Sometimes it the same with the health problems. You just have to hang in there for a bit before you see results. Keep gardening anyway you can in the meantime. We wish you well!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:52PM
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Hello out there! I have few papayas from seed, 2 are called strwberry papaya(baby papaya to me) 3 are maradol papaya, I have them growing in pots hoping to get some fruit but if not I really like their leaves, I also have 2 CHIRIMOYA seedlings one has 2 leaves the other is just sprouting, even that I placed 6 seeds in a ziplox bag at the same time, I will keep the other 4 seeds in there in hopes of them sprouting.They will be protected this winter even if its a mild one.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 12:00AM
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Anyone know anything about Sweet red papayas? My hubby got them for me from Australia thinking they were Paw Paw seeds that I've been wanting. Found out papayas are called paw paws there. I'm very excited about the papayas though! They are supposed to be a hybrid but I'm not sure what the flowers will be (male, female, both). Sounds like an adventure.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:05AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Marcie and Kel, thanks for letting us in on your adventures with tropical fruits. Keep us posted.

I deliberately planted the seeds of a papaya bought at a grocery store early this spring. It looks like I lucked out and got a self fertile variety. The best tree is growing in a raised bed I made for veggies. It's about five ft. tall. My trees last year didn't make it through the winter and although they bloomed it seems they were not self fertile trees as no fruit formed.

This is the flower on this year's tree Aug. 7 ...

And the fruit Aug. 18 ...

I googled 'self fertile papaya' and came up with several hits including a thread with an interesting link or two about papaya varieties. Kel, if you google the name of your variety you might get some information on it.

Here's hoping we all get some fruit. I'm not getting my hopes up too high, but anybody know how long the fruit takes to mature? I am watering, fertilizing and trying to take very good care of this little 'tree' :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Papaya: Sex of Flowers or Tree -- GW Tropicals Forum

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 9:36AM
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Fantastic pictures! Our soil has so much clay in it I've been considering planting in a raised bed. How deep is yours Roselee?

I found a blog on the Houston Chronicle website and the author grows papayas in my area. ItÂs encouraging to hear of others having success. I'm going to start mine now in pots so I can overwinter them inside and plant them out in the spring. Just have to figure out where to put themÂthatÂs always the dilemma. Maybe there's a chance I can get ripe papayas by the time it freezes next winter!

I've tried to google the name, but not being tremendously familiar with papaya varieties itÂs hard for me to figure out if all Sweet Red Papayas are created equal. So far all of them ones IÂve found have been self fertile. Fingers crossed.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 5:13PM
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I have two very small ones, may have come up from the veggie scrap. They are just about 1ft. Hope they survive. I was planning on moving them to a different location. All my beds are raised. We had so much of Papaya in our home back in India. The weather is tropical and I don't recall my mom giving it more than water and an ocassional splash of manure.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 9:33AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Kelgalon, I kept forgetting to measure the height of the bed when I went outside ... lol. It's 16 in tall with very good soil. I made it to grow veggies in.

Indu, how nice to have Papaya growing in your yard in India with so little care :-)

The papaya is still making more little fruits. I'm wondering if it's worth building a structure around it for when the weather turns cold. Will the fruit continue to grow and perhaps ripen in cold weather? Or maybe they will ripen before January when the cold weather here usually starts, and that's four months from now.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 9:36PM
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Roselee, I thought my papaya froze, I pulled it up and took it to the dump. Now, plants that I thought froze, but I did not dig up, are just now coming back from the roots. Now, I wonder if I had left it alone would it have come back. I guess I will never know. If you would like to trade one of your plants at the swap, let me know. Barbra,

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 9:54AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Sure Barbra. I will pot up one or two of the papayas plants for you to try at the coast.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 10:02AM
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I think my best bet is to plant them in a bed I built for roses (then foolishly transplated the roses out of it after we built a privacy fence thinking they wouldn't get enough sun....wrong!) We dug up all the soil a couple feet down when we built the bed and replaced it with good garden soil. I think I can also build up the soil in a mound so it can get even a little more. The seeds haven't sprouted yet. Sounds like it can take a month or so?

I also (hopefully) have some fruiting banana plants coming! I can't imagine what I'll do if I ever get all these fruit trees to produce (put in meyer lemon, ruby red grapefruit, finger lime, fig and navel orange tree this year)!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 2:54PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

"I can't imagine what I'll do if I ever get all these fruit trees to produce ..." Have a fruit cocktail fun party! Yum. LOL

Sorry, I don't remember how long it took for the papaya seeds to sprout.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 3:22PM
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