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papaya seedlings

Fulton, MO

Hello everyone. Through the generosity of a fellow DGer, I am fortunate to be the proud papa of a dozen papaya seedlings. I have read that papaya seedlings do not like transplanting very much. This leads me to think that I should move them up into larger containers than I would normally use for other seedlings...maybe even up into the final container.

At what point do you transplant, and into what size container? How large a container is needed for a mature "dwarf" papaya?

Thank you. SB

Springfield, MO(Zone 6a)

My Papaya seedlings are all of two inches tall. I started them in a 6" community Azalea pot and transplanted them very carefully into 4" and 5" standard pots. They did not seem to mind the move as I was very careful to not disturb the roots. I have read that Papaya seedlings are easily burned and should be shaded for a while so I've kept them out of the hot west sun. (?)

I too am no expert. This is my second try, the first having failed many years ago. I dug out an old book "The After-Dinner Gardening Book" by Richard Langer. I bought it probably 30 years ago. It's a funny well-written saga of a New York Apartment dweller's adventures growing all kinds of tropical fruit from seed.

Dave.

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

SB, usually when something is considered "hard to transplant-or finicky" its the first transplant I think. So if you transplant them as soon as you can-when they are showing their first true leaves, and carefully raise your finger up under the moist ( not soaking wet) dirt and get all, or most of the roots-thats the best that you can do, and its usually enough. After that, if you move up the plant into a larger container when its rooted and not tear up the roots, its not going to shock, and you can keep moving it up all you want. I would at least use a 15-25 gallon container for the end result.

Fulton, MO

TL, ugh! I don't have room in the greenhouse for 12 15-25 gal containers. Maybe I can use 2-3 gal containers and get through the winter that way, then pot them up again in the spring.

Digital Dave, I need to check my seedlings...I moved them out of their shady germination spot today...hopefully the 50% shade cloth on the GH will prevent burn.

Man, 15-25 gal pots...I can't get over that for a papaya that flowers at 2.5-3' and fruits at 4-5'...especially when I can't "sex" the seedlings until they flower!

Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

I think your timing in germinating the seeds is off....in a few months your greenhouse will be at 50 at night-just when the papaya needs more warmth because it will be starting to pump. At any rate-just move them up to the size pot that you can manage and see how they do....

I think if this doesn't work for you ( and maybe it will), I would start the seeds again in the late winter, and by the time they start to really grow and need a bigger cont, you can move them outside. They need full sun.

SB-take what I say with a grain of salt....I have never grown papayas in a temperate zone before, let alone dwarf papayas. In Hawaii, I never thought about it-they grew like weeds.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I have bad luck with papaya. They either get run over by a car, flooded out or dug up by a dog.
I have regular and dwarf papya started now- I hope I have better luck.

Yes, they don't transplant well. The dwarf papaya seeds came from a fried who I had given the tree to last year but I found that sometimes when you buy what you think is a dwarf papaya at the grocery store, might be a big one, picked young. I've done that too!!!

Fulton, MO

Thanks, cyberageous.

I've moved up 8 of the seedlings to 1 gal containers and they didn't miss a beat. The rest were moved up to smaller containers. Dogs, flooding, and motor vehicle accidents shouldn't be a problem for me! : D

I'm thinking of keeping them on a heat mat during the coldest months, since rot is a big concern, I've heard.

I will keep you posted.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I talked to my neighbor and she says she will give me more dwarf seeds if anyone wants them.

Paxton, FL(Zone 8a)

What kind of soil do I need to transplant my seedlings to? Standard potting mixture okay? Or do they need something less rich, sandier?

Cedar Key, FL(Zone 9a)

I'm sooo
bummed
I started some seeds around the time this thread started,
they germinated,and started growing
I moved them into the GH...

and something ate them.......
the stems are there ....no leaves
do slugs do that?
I saw some slime trails nearby them......

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

I have one dwarf papaya still in a earth box and the other three in the ground. All of them are in bloom now and have set fruit. My other papayas have blooms and fruit on them as well. It has been a very mild winter so far but tonight it may get to 40. I hope no colder.

Dale

Paxton, FL(Zone 8a)

crest, I noticed that two of my seedlings have no leaves, wondered what ate them. Mine are in the gh. Haven't seen any slugs, but then, I'm not in there with a flashlight at night. Maybe I should check on that. I potted up some of them but still have more to do. I think I'll go ahead and put something around them in case it is slugs.

Geez, dwallace, guess DH better plan on that greenhouse for them for sure. An acquaintance over the state line, in Alabama, had three gorgeous trees loaded with fruit back in late fall and didn't know if the fruit would be ripe before the first freeze. He said those trees grew to that size in one year. Do they really grow that fast? And fruit the first year? Maybe he got them as seedlings and were older than he knew?

Miami, FL

Papaya grows VERY fast under favorable conditions. I've fruited them several times from grocery store fruit seeds in about 10 months or so (curiously, none of my seedlings have ever been males). I don't know why I bothered, since I don't like papaya, but I have learned a couple of things about how they perform (at least under South Florida conditions). First, they'll grow reasonably well even on very poor, alkaline soil, but definitely perform better in a richer medium. The plants I raised on a garden soil mix grew faster and stronger than those on the native oolitic limestone, although I was surprised to see how well they performed on the limestone. They don't require much in the way of fertilizer either - I left some of them totally unfertilized on horrible soil (more rock than soil, really) and they still bore heavily. Finally, you can expect the roots from a full-sized, non-dwarf tree to run 2 to three feet deep; I found this out after trying to rip all of my trees out of the ground (I had decided that there was no point in keeping them if I hated the fruit). If you don't get all of the roots, they tend to sucker quite profusely.

Paxton, FL(Zone 8a)

Thanks, eldys. I feel sure the tree will freeze here if not protected. They would this year for sure. 22 last night, 24 the night before. But the roots may not. Our ground doesn't usually freeze.

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

Here is a picture of the papaya in an earthbox.

Dale

Thumbnail by dwallace59
Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

Here is a picture the ones in the ground.
Dale

Thumbnail by dwallace59
Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

And last here is a picture of the fruit.

Dale

Thumbnail by dwallace59
Columbus, OH

Nice pics and nice plants! Very cool. What variety are these? I love the purple stems.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I have lots of papaya seeds to give away! I also have many small seedlings if you want to chance it, up for adaption. I have about 50 in pots and hopefully no one will step on them, eat them or run them down.

Bradenton, FL(Zone 9b)

Ohiojay

The papayas in the picture are dwarf papayas called TR Hovey. They are a couple years old and started fruiting last summer.

Dale

Topanga, CA

cyberageous, do you still have papaya seeds to give away...I'd like to try some. Do you know what variety they are? Or can you describe them?

Regards,

jc
[email protected]

Springfield, MO(Zone 6a)

My cyberageous seed supplied dwarf Papayas are just about two inches tall and can't wait for more light and more warmth. Spring seems to have been delayed this year.
Dave.

KC Metro area, MO(Zone 6a)

Spring was here but it went away for awhile and took all the greenery with it. Now it is slowly trying to recover.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

Hey DDave! How's it going?!!

I gave dwarf papaya seeds to my neighbor that turned out to be a huge fruit. I assume the seeds I had were just from immature papaya. Oh well. I am about to plant a new papaya garden outside my kitchen window. I have many seedlings.

They grow here like weeds. Not for me tho- mine always meet up with accidents (lawnmower, dogs, hurricanes).

Springfield, MO(Zone 6a)

Mine are still growing although they aren't too happy in the cool greenhouse. I have a hard time with spider mites on them since I really can't use neem oil in the greenhouse with all the bromeliads and I don't like to spray any real pesticides on anything edible. It's really surprising the mites can survive in the greenhouse since it is very humid and wet in there, but they do. Fortunately, they don't seem to "like" anything else. I hose them off every week or two, but they are persistent.

I think I gave SB a seedling so there's a good chance Missouri may have at least one survivior! I got some flowers late last fall, but they didn't develop fruits. The largest plant is now about 3' tall. He also gave me several papayas so we are spreading our stock.

Hopefully, we'll see something more productive this coming growing season. My daughter has accepted a permanent position in Winter Haven and she's really got the tropical plant bug. She's also a dog lover so they are likely to have a rural place with plenty of room for bananas, papayas, etc.

Has that mystery banana/plantain (?) done anything for you yet?

Dave.

Fulton, MO

Yes, DD, P. carica 'Cyberageous' is indeed alive and kicking in my GH. Bottom heat seems to help them make it through the winter with less leaf drop.

Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

I got a new dwarf papaya..this time the real deal!...at the veggie flea market. It's fruiting now and is only about 4' tall and very plush. I planted it in my old pig pen and fertilize it with rabbit droppings. They say rabbit poo is a perfect fertilizer. Anyone in my area need it- I literally ave tons for free. Come and get it!

Christiansted, VI(Zone 11)

Cyberageous, How's the Pigpen Papaya doing? All that richness may produce a monster!

The photo was all the work I did yesterday. 43 potted up. I'm trying the plastic bag thingies instead of the more expensive rigid pots. These plants had gotten too dry, so lost a lot of leaves last week, bad me. They had broken through the bottoms of their newspaper pots, and had lots of roots running around the tray.

And looking through the catalogue of a commercial papaya seedsman in LA, (1,000 seeds, anyone?)there are different trees that have different sized fruits. Like you have Cherry tomatoes, and Beefsteak tomatoes.

I wanted the papayas with the biggest fruits, but they were sold out.

How'd everyone do with their Papayas over the summer? We need some reports here!

I've decided that Papayas are 'tri- annuals,, like biennialls, but they live three years. Grow one year, fruit off the main stem the second season, then fruit off sprouted limbs, as well as the top, their season. That's what they do here, anyway.

And I'm thinking about pinching the top out of a 'baby' to see if I get a bush... I'll feel real mean doing that! lol.

Thumbnail by Molamola
Everglades, FL(Zone 10a)

Man, M! That's a whole lotta seedlings!!! My neighbor said each year my papaya fruits, it gets taller and taller. This year, they (the fruit) are about 4' off the ground. The fruit comes in both round and football shaped which surprises me.

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