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Question on sex of papaya flowers

Posted by petite_orange z9LA (My Page) on
Thu, May 3, 12 at 18:29

I can't believe I don't know this: are the actual plants of one or the other sex, or can the same plant produce male and female flowers? Either at the same time or in different seasons? I had thought they were either/or, but my friend was very distressed last year by her flowers, which were male, and this year she has a couple of fruits, so there must have been female flowers...
Sex - what a mystery!
Thanks - Nancy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Question on sex of papaya flowers

my understanding is that there are 3 types of trees. male only, female only and those that are self fertile.

female flowers are usually attached to the trunk, just above where the stem is. my family and i have had female trees that were self fertile, with no male trees around and they produced a lot of fruit hanging off the trunk, but most of the time we dont get to eat them ripe, b/c it gets too cold here.

a male tree will send out a long inflo with multiple flowers. a few of these flowers can turn into fruit. seems the case with your friend's tree.


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RE: Question on sex of papaya flowers

All you need to know about Papaya sex, but were afraid to ask.

As Houston said Papaya can be Male, Female or (Herm)aphrodite.

If you plant seeds from a supermarket fruit, your tree could come up male. but there is a way to increase your chances of getting a female, or herm tree. use seeds from the elongated fruit type and not the rounder fruits.

round fruits usually come from Female trees, that may have been pollinated by a male or a herm. tree, but the elongated fruit come from herm. trees. and are more likely to have been pollinated by another herm. tree.

the trend with most commercial papaya farmers, is to plant 3 or 4 trees in a spot, then cut out all but the healthiest herm. tree once sex can be determined, reason? because herm trees, produce those elongated fruits, which weigh more by volume, are preferred by buyers, and the trees produce more fruit.

I always recommend just buying seeds from a supplier like Aloha seeds, because you know what your getting.

A hermaphrodite fruit pollinated by another herm, or self, will have a
seeds, with 66% chance of being herm, and 33% female, with NO males chance.

A fruit from a female tree ( rounder shape ) pollinated by a herm. will have a 50/50 chance female, to herm.

Hermaphrodite fruit pollinated by a male tree, will have seeds with 33:33:33% chance of coming up male, female or herm.

and finally, a female tree pollinated by a male tree, will give you a 50/50 male/female chance.

How to perform a sex change operation on a papaya.

Lets say you have beautiful Papaya tree, but it came up male, its possible to give it a sex change, the technique is to hammer some nails in the trunk of the tree, the stress has a chance to force the tree into producing some female flowers. these trees look weird with fruits on them because they hang down on long stems.

I believe some of the older varieties, are only male / female types.

the newer hybrids ( which are not GMO by the way, stay away from those ) the Hybrids, are compact, productive and very sweet, like Red Lady, for example, and certified seeds will give you only female and herm, plants.

good luck


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RE: Question on sex of papaya flowers

My friend brought me seeds from Hawaiian papaya. I raised about 50 plants which I gave away...One plant that I know off gave delicious fruit and the one (the strongest) that I kept for myself, has grown to 6ft. produced some white flowers (I assume because they never opened) and fell off. It has been at least 6 mo and there is no sign of any blooms. I have fertilized it but nothing is happening. I now have 25 plants from the original fruit and they are about a foot tall and I don't know how to tell the difference between male and female and what if I choose again the wrong sex? Help me please!! Thanks


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RE: Question on sex of papaya flowers

I find the fastest seedlings are usually male and I remove them. Even if you only have females, pollinators can carry pollen from plants that are a long way off. I've never had trouble getting fruit set from all female plants in my garden. Of course, if you're in a climate where they normally don't grow or are marginal then there just may not be any males anywhere, so no fruit.


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