Papaya fruit is an extremely healthy plant that contains fiber as well as vitamin C, and vitamin B. It is also free from cholesterol and rich in antioxidants. Papaya originates from Central and North America, thus, it requires a hot climate. Learning how to grow papaya is easy as long as you have an adequate climate.
This highly productive and beautiful plant requires a hot climate to grow and thrive. It is a subtropical plant that thrives best in a warm climate. Papaya could also grow in a cold climate, but, it will produce less fruit.
Besides being a delicious healthy food, papaya is popular because it ripes and fruits quickly all year round. Its fruits have a high nutritional value and they are used as ingredients in many medicines. Additionally, you could make soft drinks, juices, pickles, jams, and curries with papaya fruits.
Growing papaya is easy but keeping it alive might be tricky. To learn how to grow papaya and keep it alive, you should follow the following tips.
Papaya is demanding when it comes to soil. It requires a good quality soil. The best soil to use for papaya be well-draining, rich in high organic matter, fertile and deep and most of loose and moist. It also prefers a neutral pH that ranges between 6.0 and 7.0.
If you want a maximum growth and yield, you should opt for a loamy rich in organic matter soil that drains well and retains moisture well. Avid compact soil. A deep soil is also a crucial factor. The deeper the soil is, the better the seeds germinate. Make sure that you clean your soil from debris and rocks before you start planting.
Drainage is also essential for papaya to grow. You should use a sandy soil rather than clay soil. The latter slows water movement leading to rot root. It can also hinder your plants’ growth and results in many deficiencies including Zinc, iron, and other micro-element deficiencies. Sandy soil drains better. However, don’t choose too sandy soil as it is not effective in water retention.
2. how to grow papaya from seeds
There are two ways to grow papaya, either from seeds or from seedlings. For seeds, before planting, you should wash them well and soak them in a tray full of water for at least four days. You should change the water twice a day, empty the water and refill the tray with fresh water. Every couple of days, you will notice floating seeds, throw them away and leave only the ones that sink down.
Keep removing every seed that floats. This way, you ensure that you will keep only the viable seeds. It is also recommended that you add fungicides to water on the last day.
Once you are left only with viable seeds, put them on a cotton cloth for 3 days to keep them wet. When you start to notice a white dots in them, then you can start sowing. Sow the seeds 1/2 deep under the soil surface and leave a distance of at least 8 feet between each seed.
You could sow the seeds directly in your garden or you could sow them in containers. If you are planting papaya in containers, you should choose a dwarf variety as the normal varieties may grow up to 30 feet tall. Considering the fact that papaya does not like transplanting, you better choose a big container.
An at least 15-gallon container is needed to grow papaya. The container should also be 22 inches in diameter and 15 inches deep. Drainage holes are also necessary for growing papaya. For best results, it advisable that use one of these effective self-watering containers.
3. How to grow papaya from seedlings
Planting papaya from seedlings is nor recommended. However, if you opt for this option, you need to follow the following instructions. First of all, make a hole in the soil twice deep and wide as the rootball of the plant. Before you plant papaya in the hole, apply some slow release 16-48-0, 18-46-0 or balanced 15-15-15 fertilizer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Once you are done fertilizing fill the hole with a layer of soil so the plants won’t come in direct contact with the soil as it is not healthy for them. You should also apply a fungicide. It will protect your plant from root rot.
4. How to grow papaya in a cold climate
As we mentioned above, papaya is a subtropical fruit that likes hot climate. However, you can plant papaya in a temperate climate. For a cold climate, it is recommended to plant papaya in pots so you could move them indoors to protect them from winter and excessive cold waves.
Temperature is an important factor that contributes to the growth of your papaya. Papaya can grow and thrive easily in temperature degrees ranging between 68 and 68 F. If the temperature falls below 30F, it may kill your plant. Frost is deadly to papaya.
You should also keep in mind that low-temperature degrees will definitely hinder the growth of papaya and slow the germination rate of the seeds. You should make sure that you live in an area where the temperature does not fall below 32F. Papaya is also sensitive to high-temperature degrees and heat waves, they also prevent the plant’s growth.
6. The best location for growing papaya
Learning how to grow papaya is also learning how to choose an adequate location to grow it. Papaya does not tolerate transplanting well, hence, choose a permanent spot for the plant. Papaya is distinguished by its high photosynthetic activity, therefore, a sunny warm spot is compulsory for the growth of the plant.
This plant does not like shades. As a matter of fact, shades are a fatal factor to papaya. The best spot for papaya is a sunny spot where it can receive a lot of sunlight. You should also try to protect it from winds as its stem is very delicate and may get broken easily.
7. Watering Papaya
The plant is made of 85% of water. There is no need to say that water is crucial for the growth of papaya. During the first few months of planting, water regularly to help the plant germinate and grow. However, don’t over water. Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Watering should be done regularly every 2 or 3 days. Before you water, poke your finger into the soil and see if it is dry and needs water.
8. Fertilizing and mulching
Papaya is q heavy feeder and needs to be fertilized once every couple of weeks. The best fertilizers to use are manure and compost. Complete fertilizers such as 15-15-15 are also recommended. You should keep fertilizing till the plant grows up to 12 inches. That should take about six months.
Mulching is essential to help the soil keep moisture. Mulching with organic matters is an excellent idea to improve the growth of papaya. Pine bark and wood chips are highly recommended. They will make the plant retain water better.
9. Pests and diseases
Knowing how to grow papaya is not enough to guarantee that your plant survives, you will also need to know to protect it from pests and diseases. There are a lot of pests and diseases that threaten this delicate fruit. The most common pests that may attack your plants are fruit flies, mites, black vine weevil, aphids, leafhoppers, and whitefly.
For diseases, you should be careful of soil fungi, powdery mildew, fruit rot, papaya ringspot virus, and nematodes. Therefore you should check your plants regularly for pests and diseases and if you ever find black spots on some leaves, remove the infected leaves immediately.
10. Harvesting papaya
You should be able to harvest papaya fruits within 10 to 12 months after planting. You should harvest the fruits as soon as they ripe because they are extremely sensitive to sunlight and they may get burnt. When you are about to harvest the fruits, wear gloves and cut them carefully with a sharp knife.
You will know which fruits are ripe through their colors. Completely ripe fruits should have yellow to orange color. You should harvest them first and keep them away from sunlight. Since the papaya fruits continue to ripe even after cutting them, you can also harvest the green fruits and store them till they ripen.
These ten steps will ensure that you grow papaya successfully. Follow the above instructions and your plant will survive for three years producing heavy yield. There are a lot of plants that you can easily grow and enjoy their delicious taste and healthy effect. Among these plants, the most popular are sugar apple, dragon fruit, and pinto beans.
Enjoy the process of growing papaya and share with us your experience.