It just ain't so! :)

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

I'd always been told that when a papaya falls you gotta kiss it goodbye.
This is a pic of my two little trees after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, 3 weeks apart in 2004. This picture looks towards my neighbor. Our joint fence was demolished. My papaya babies withstood the storms.

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Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

My babies after minor Hurricane Wilma in 2005. I was heartbroken to remember that once they fall it's all over.

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Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

I left them lay dreading the chore to chop my babies up and throw them away. About a week later I noticed their tops were turning up towards the sky. They were still very much alive. So my brother helped me to cut off the fruits and prop them up.

They grew beautifully!

Unfortunately ... lol .... Feb 2006 brought two surprise nights of 31 degrees. Turned my babies to mush nearly to the ground.
The good news is from the old stump there is a multitude of new trunks. They're about 5 feet tall now. And if I ever mow my grass I will share without shame a picture of my new litter ... ha! :)

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Citra, FL

Thats a papaya tree? What a wonderful story, and I want one!! What a pretty tree.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

That is so cool Vee! I love Hawaii you can have fruit 9 months from germinating the seed and growing it out. Does it produce fruit that fast there where you live?

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

I germinated a gabillion seeds but I didn't take care of them and they went to papaya heaven. So I have no experience as to how long it takes to get fruit from seed.
I originally bought my babies early 2004 from a local nursery. They were about a foot tall, 2 in a pot. They grow incredibly fast!
To me there is no other plant that equals the tropical look of papaya trees. And the flower scent is intoxicating much like gardenia, asian lily and jasmine.

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Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)


Congratulations on the papayas. I have three groupings of papayas in our yard and three dwarfs growing in earth boxes. I have a Hawaiian papaya that is about 20 feet tall. The leaves are 2 feet across and the stalk/branch is 3 feet long. The trunk is about 12 inches around. The fruit are round, the size of a softball or a little larger and very sweet. The fruit in Florida is not the prettiest but very sweet. The tree is very attractive. I grew this from a seed a couple of years ago.


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New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

i've gotta have one! they are so tropical looking. you both have such beautiful trees. any recommendations on where to get seeds? how do they do over the winter? i see we are in similar zones.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

So beautiful DW! I don't have a clue as to what variety I grow. I don't remember that mine were tagged with anything other than Papaya. I do know they taste yummy and I'm not a papaya fruit lover. :)
This pic is one of the fruits. They get huge.

Ashley I'll just betcha that as the summer progresses one of us will be able to supply you with more seeds than you wish you had lol!. Hang in there honey! Or if you want to get started sooner maybe you could check out ebay or do a net search or put a request in on the seed exchange here at DG.
In my zone 9b we get freezes every few years. We had one this past Feb = 2 nights of 31 degrees. My papayas melted like wax. Total mush but left about a one foot stump. Now there's 7 baby trunks growing from the stump not from the ground. I measured them today They are about 4 -4.5 feet tall. 4 of those baby trunks are loaded with flowers. I'm looking at that little cold spell as a blessing now cause I've got a wonderful clump of new trees. When they get as tall as the two original Moms they will look so awsome!

This message was edited Jul 15, 2006 6:15 PM

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New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

the fruit is beautiful too! please save me some seeds if you can. did you mulch or try to protect your tree any over the winter? you will have to post a picture of all your babies together...i bet that is nice.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

No I didn't try to protect it. Freezes are not common here. I didn't expect that it would get so cold. And it was to tall for me to try to cover it even if I did realise the danger it was in.
I'll certainly will let you know when I have seeds. It takes quite awhile for the fruits to grow and ripen.

New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

thanks, Vee8ch!

Springfield, MO(Zone 6a)

Getting seeds couldn't be easier. Go down to the grocery store and buy a Papaya fruit. There are several hundred seeds in each. Ones here come from Mexico. In order to get good germination you need to remove the coverings around the seeds - it will pop like bubble pack. Then wash and dry the seeds. They will stay fertile for quite a while. Germination takes about two weeks in Summer temperatures.The seeds are also edible - sometimes put into salads for the crunch. There are recipes on the net for all kinds of dishes using Papaya. Enjoy.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Excellent excellent idea Dave!

Ashley, I hope you find a nice ripe one that has mature seeds. What's up with all the hard, unripe fruit we find in the markets anymore? Wish we had more side of the road local fruit sellers in our world like in past years.

Fulton, MO

Dwallace, will your dwarf papaya fruit in the container?

Fulton, MO

Vee8ch, the CRFG papaya page states that papaya seedlings have a high mortality rate from damping off. It makes a point to mention sterilizing the soil.

Say, that brings up another question. The same site states that papaya seeds rapidly loose viability in storage. Yet I see papaya seeds for sale online... 5 Tropical Dwarf seeds for $2.50. Given the price, the seed viability problems, and the high mortality from damping off, is propagating plants in this fashion such a good idea?


Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Yes they most definitely do have a high mortality rate. I planted about 50 seeds. All but 3-4 died due to being left in the container outside during our rainy season. I killed all kinds of seedlings due to root rot that year. lol!
The remainder of the pap babies died when I transplanted them. They were too young to be transplanted. I'd read that transplanting was something they do not like and for me it was true.
Next time I'll be more careful to not let them drown. I'll also germinate only 2-3 in gallon pots and let them get more mature before I transplant to the ground.
I have no propagating experience with paps. I only know what the stumps will do ... sends up many shoots. I don't know if the tops root. Maybe someone more experienced than me will pop in and help with your question.

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)


The ‘TR Hovey’ Papaya is a true dwarf. It only grows to about 4-5 feet. Mine have flowered a lot and have fruited. Two of them have papayas on them right now. Even thought the tree is a dwarf the fruit is about the size of a small football.

I have grown many papayas from seed and have not had a problem with seed viability on 6 month old seeds nor have I had a problem with damping off. I start seeds in a soiless mix of 50% sphagnum peat moss & 50% horticultural vermiculite.

I bought my dwarf papaya off eBay as seedlings. When I eat the dwarf papaya in the next month or so I would be glad to send seeds. Just send me a self addressed stamped envelope. I have heard that the dwarf should be propagated using tissue culture but at the price why not give it a try. Please Dmail If you are interested.


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Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

Here is a picture of the fruit on the tree.


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New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

nice papayas! (no sexual harassment intended. LOL) i can't wait to try to grow my own. the trees are so pretty, but i have lots to learn. sorry for all the questions, but i gotta ask: dwallace, why do you grow them in those containers? how old are those trees and what do you do with them in the winter?

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)


I started growing them in containers after we had two weeks of rain and the ground became beyond saturated. I had planted two groups of about 4 per group. They had grown and started to fruit and every one of them drowned and fell over…dead.

We had gone the nursery of the developer of the earth box to buy some vegetable plants and he had some papayas growing in his boxes. So when I replanted I decided to plant some in earthboxes and the dwarf where the only ones that would not out grow the container. I have since replanted them in the ground and now planted them on a mound I created.

Bradenton is on the southwest coast of Florida and has pretty mild winters so I do not cover them. I just make sure they are well water the day before and hope for the best. With my bananas and papayas, what make it make it and those that don’t … I replant.

I do grow some tropical fruit plants/tress that I covered when they were small such as my soursop, mangoes and sugar apple trees. Most of our plants that are established can usually handle our winters since the actual time it stays below freezing is usually under a couple of hours. Even my mango trees do not have problems but I know we will eventually get a bad winter with a hard freeze and I will do what I can.


New Iberia, LA(Zone 9a)

DW, thanks for all the detailed information. I can't say the ground is saturated, but we've had rain everyday for the past two weeks (it's actually been perfect). I will try to build my little guy up just in case. are these pretty fast growers?

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

I just happened onto this thread and have been drooooooling over the pictures! You all are so lucky to have these trees. I eat Papaya for the enzyme for a digestive problem, and I also happen to just love the fruit. The last time I had to buy them at the grocery, they were HUGE and so sweet. Of course imported from S America, so they were $1.29 a pound, and goodness knows they weighed a ton!

So unless I can find some grown locally I'll have to make do with the tablets from the health food store. (sigh)

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I always kill my papaya. I do good with seed propagation and the plants I give away are beautiful and did well. I just don't have good luck- my dog dug one up and killed it, someone backed up in my yard and ran over another one. The exhaust on a bobcat (tractor) burnt one up and now I have one baby left.
I got a papaya last week at the grocery store and plan to try again!

edited for spelling

This message was edited Jul 24, 2006 4:45 PM

Cicero, NY(Zone 5a)

This is too strange ....
When I was at the Walmart supercenter there were papayas that looked like they're on steroilds(the fruit,no plants)
Just what DW said about a small foot ball....I had to giggle,at the checkout the girl said that can't be a papaya....its too big....LOL

I hope its ripe cause I'm going to start the seeds
I usually kill them in the GH over the winter
but I'll try ,try again.......

Dahlonega, GA

i just bought two fruits yesterday , very hard, how do you know when it's ripe ? do i leave it out of frig? bought a big red papaya off ebay,got it yesterday,beautiful.if they grow that fast, how tall will it be in december? want to take it to s. texas to's 24" tall now. help !!! sally

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

I've seen papayas over fifteen feet tall. Logee' sells dwarfs, and their photo is too much for me, check this out! (how do you make a hot link??)

They like a lot of food, and exellent drainage, lots of drainage, zero soggy. They are tap rooted, and short lived. Once they die in two or three years, their main root is like a big carrot. They can damage the foundaition soil of a house when they die and the root rots away leaving a big hole. So don't put them by a building or fence post.

I just bought seed from but right now they're sold out of the large sizes. I'll post about my efforts with the 220 seeds I bought! I do plan to sell/trade, locally, plants. Agriculture folk don't want me shipping plants from here to the Big Island.

I got seed last year from three different papaya tree fruits, and now have twenty seven male plants! Amazing, not one girl!!!

The fancy, named varieties of seed I bought are a high percent of female, and the rest are hermaphrodites.

The rock hard grocery store varieties can be added to soup at servingtime. Big Agriculture is making store bought rocks out of all our fruit and veggie, booooo.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

If you have a male papaya tree, don't give up. My male tree has three fruits growing on different stems of flowers. The tree is three years old. We planted about six trees and they all turned out to be males, so we cut them all down except the strongest one. The fruits are about 3-4 inches long now. The seeds came from a store bought fruit.

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Hum, the Island gardeners tell me the weakest little seedlings are 'woman plants".

The seed I bought from Southern California hasn't sprouted yet, either peat pots or ground. Owell, only $35.

I'm feeling grouchy tonight, can you tell?

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I said some where else.. I have had amazing luck using rabbit dung for fertilizer. My papaya are now doing wonderful. The soil is rich (used to be my pig pen then a goat pen) with added chicken poo but I totally rely on rabbit dung now and my papaya look wonderful. I need to get in there and weed tho- they also flourish in that wonderful soil!

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