pawpaw seed germination hints anyone?

Florence, MS(Zone 7b)

I just got some cold-stratified pawpaw seeds. Should I just plant these in moist soil at outside temperature (warming spring days in Jackson MS) or does anyone have any hints on improving germination?

I was warned to keep slugs away from the seedlings, and I do have a slug problem around here.

Thanks, Susan aka Zonkel

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Hi Susan, I germinated some last spring. I put them in a small amount of damp soil-less mix in the fridge and took them out and left them on the counter. They all germinated, however your idea of putting them in pots first is good.I didn't notice mine had germinated until they had already started growing all awkwardly. Can I ask why they are already cold stratified? I find this odd because I have never received seeds this way. Can you be sure they are? I don't think they will sprout if not - that is why I ask.

Florence, MS(Zone 7b)

Yes, I got them from a man on; he sent them to me for postage, very kind. One is alrerady germinating. They are overleese cross. I have about 28, and will give some to a local fruit tree growers club and a plant swap. I may try to graft some next year, but I'm just learning to graft and I understand pawpaw are hard.

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Wow that is great! Grafting does seem like it would be tricky. I'm glad you are getting germination. : )

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

I want to grow Paw Paw's from seed too! I need some more along our woodland edge for the zebra swallowtails (and I suppose I could make some jam, too!)

Meredith, how are your little seedlings doing?? Do they grow very fast? (are you getting some Zebras??)

I bought 10 plants from Mr. Ritter on e-bay a month ago but they are so tiny I wonder if they will ever grow... I'm thinking I should have just started them from seeds....

I will be interested in your progress, zonkel.

Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Tab My seedlings didn't survive the winter. : (

Florence, MS(Zone 7b)

Tabasco, I did everything wrong.

The seeds produce a long root when they germinate, but the growing shoot does not necessarily emerge from the soil at once. It takes a long time in some cases, and if anything happens to the shoot tip, no other growth happens.

I lost some to an awful drought (no rain at all in June, and we were on vacation in June for a week). Some were lost to slugs tho I thought I had controlled them. A few were lost to sunburn and the majority have yet to emerge; just haven't put up that growing shoot. I still have them in containers and am hopeful, but I may not get any survivors.

The person I got the seeds from said he'd send some more if these didn't make it; I guess he knew I'd be lucky to get much success. I am determined to get some germinating, but I may end up buying a plant or two from the local nursery.

Good luck with the ones from ebay; maybe I'll try that route.


Southeastern, NH(Zone 5b)

Hey Tab I wanted to share an awesome pdf on Paw Paws I found. It has a section about starting seeds. It also talks about how the seedlings need to be partly shaded the first two years of life. Hope it is some help.

Cincinnati (Anderson, OH(Zone 6a)

Thanks, M., Yes, indeedy, they look like a bit of a challenge to germinate. And you have to be patient it seems!

I planted our paw paws along the woodland edge and watered them in. Then I was walking around the woody part of our property and found 2 very nice sized paw paws (about 15 feet tall) so I will watch for fruit and seeds this fall and maybe we can make another go-round with the germination.

I will try to remember to check them this August/September for fruit.

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