Monday, August 2, 2010
the lovely papaya..
A wonderful plant but not a tree. Papayas usually are a single stocked plant with hollow stems. Leaves don't last long and the result looks more like a palm tree. There are male, female, and bisexual plants. You need 1 male for about 15 females so cull the rest (they don't fruit). I just inherited solo papaya seeds which produce 1 pound fruit. Perfect for a single serving.
The most common problems of papaya plant problems are: frost, overwatering(root rot), shade (which creates a spindly plant that may not fruit), and of course pests and animals.
The easist and cheapest way to grow papaya is through seed. Buy a local grown papaya cut in half scoop out the seeds rinse and set out to grow. About a dozen per bed (you will cull all weak and male plants). You can tell a male plant when they start to flower. Males will have many small flowers, while females have less but larger flowers. Papayas do not like to be transplanted so start the seeds where you plan to keep the plant. May that be in ground or a large pot.
Papayas like super rich fertile soil so if planting in the ground dig a large hole at least 1 1/2 feet wide and the same deep. Fill with your choice mixture of compost and soil.
Have a happy papaya adventure.