Growing papaya

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Growing papaya

Post by Bamboo Conne'isseur »

Papaya is a fruit tree like plant that grows in the tropics. It is very beautiful, with some types having purple and red leaves. It loves the hot, humid environment, and thrives in areas that don't go much lower than thirty degrees F.
Papaya is rich in papain, which is a protein enzyme. This plant, besides producing some great fruit, is an excellent meat tenderizer. It aids the digestion of meats, and other proteins, and is used specifically for that purpose; as the papain is added to other enzymes to produce an after meal supplement for those with poor digestion.

Papaya is easy to grow once you understand a few things about it. To start, it needs a well draining soil, as the roots will rot fast, if they are not receiving enough oxygen. Soils that are compacted will eventually destroy the roots of the papaya plant. They love lots of water, but do not like to stand in it at all. It is recommended to plant papaya slightly raised up in the soil. You never want to plant papaya in an area that could possibly flood, or where water from the rest of the garden drains. Papaya will start to experience root rot in as little as 48 hours of submersion.

Papaya is a plant that requires both a male, and a female in order to produce fruit. While that is the norm, the hawaiian solo types are self pollinating, as this type contains both male, and female flowers.
For the most part papaya is a heavy feeder, but can be easily burned if to much chemical ferts. are used.
Papaya needs plenty of sunlight, especially if fruit is desired. It can take full sun; actually it prefers it, as long as it is well watered. Some papaya's leaves remain fully erect in the hottest part of the day, while others naturally fold down. It can easily be confused with water stress, but it is indeed quite natural for some.
Papaya for the most part needs to be sheltered from strong winds, as it like only enough wind for a light breeze. Too much wind can batter the soft stems, although it takes quite a lot to do any damage.
More on papaya soon....


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RE: Growing papaya

Post by JakeK »

Last spring I bought a huge papaya from Belize. I saved some seeds and in mid May I just threw them on the ground near my bananas.

The one that germinated furthest from my bananas is still growing. It has gone from seedling to 5 feet tall since mid May. This is definitely my fastest growing plant all around. Bamboo shoots grow quicker, but shoot growth and rhizome growth are only noticeable for a short period each year. This papaya just has no quit at all, flushing 3 or 4 leaves a week. The base of the trunk is 2 inches thick, thicker than my largest vivax culm.

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Re: RE: Growing papaya

Post by Bamboo Conne'isseur »

JakeK wrote:Last spring I bought a huge papaya from Belize. I saved some seeds and in mid May I just threw them on the ground near my bananas.

The one that germinated furthest from my bananas is still growing. It has gone from seedling to 5 feet tall since mid May. This is definitely my fastest growing plant all around. Bamboo shoots grow quicker, but shoot growth and rhizome growth are only noticeable for a short period each year. This papaya just has no quit at all, flushing 3 or 4 leaves a week. The base of the trunk is 2 inches thick, thicker than my largest vivax culm.

Jake
Hello Jake
That is some pretty damn good growth. You are right, papaya is a fast growing plant, although I am surprised to see it growing so well in your climate. Sounds like you have a real keeper, although you will have to dig it up in time for the first frost.
I am curious, is there any coloration in the leaves? Do they stand fully erect in the hot sun, or do they fold down?


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RE: Growing papaya

Post by needmore »

Rick, a May 2003 container grown seedling in Indiana flowered and set fruit in October 2004 and the fruit ripened in April 2005. More fruit started to set in October 2005, ripening in March 2006 and then the tree was dead in May due to my inattentive overwatering.

This was a 'Sunrise' seedling I brought back from Hawai'i - da best in my opinion, red sweet flesh without that strong 'papaya' flavor. Although the fruits were small, they had that Sunrise flavor. We now have 3 more going in Indiana to hopefully get the cycle going again. I just finished one a few minutes ago (in Hawai'i, not Indiana) :D
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Rick???

Post by Bamboo Conne'isseur »

needmore wrote:Rick, a May 2003 container grown seedling in Indiana flowered and set fruit in October 2004 and the fruit ripened in April 2005. More fruit started to set in October 2005, ripening in March 2006 and then the tree was dead in May due to my inattentive overwatering.

This was a 'Sunrise' seedling I brought back from Hawai'i - da best in my opinion, red sweet flesh without that strong 'papaya' flavor. Although the fruits were small, they had that Sunrise flavor. We now have 3 more going in Indiana to hopefully get the cycle going again. I just finished one a few minutes ago (in Hawai'i, not Indiana) :D
I agree, the solo types are the best tasting, even if the fruits are small.

I almost forgot that there are some types that come from mountainous regions that are a little cold hardy. Most of those would be the red types, although there are other mexican types that can handle some cold. I am surprised that the one you grew was a solo type, as the self pollinating types usually can not take low temps.
Did I read that correctly, you are in Hawaii, and just finished eating one of those? Wish I was there....
Have a good time man.

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Re: Rick???

Post by needmore »

Canna'isseur wrote:
I agree, the solo types are the best tasting, even if the fruits are small.

Canna'isseur
Mine are not Solo types, the Sunrise are different in shape, color, flavor. Hawai'i is the only place I've seen this type of papaya and it really has a different flavor much sweeter and a hint of licorice. It is also not cold hardy at all, mine grow in containers and never are exposed to frost so this is an indoor tree from October to May.

Yes, today I am in transit - currently in Hawai'i eating papaya, soon to be in Indiana eating tomatoes.
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Re: RE: Growing papaya

Post by JakeK »

Canna'isseur wrote:
JakeK wrote:Last spring I bought a huge papaya from Belize. I saved some seeds and in mid May I just threw them on the ground near my bananas.

The one that germinated furthest from my bananas is still growing. It has gone from seedling to 5 feet tall since mid May. This is definitely my fastest growing plant all around. Bamboo shoots grow quicker, but shoot growth and rhizome growth are only noticeable for a short period each year. This papaya just has no quit at all, flushing 3 or 4 leaves a week. The base of the trunk is 2 inches thick, thicker than my largest vivax culm.

Jake
Hello Jake
That is some pretty damn good growth. You are right, papaya is a fast growing plant, although I am surprised to see it growing so well in your climate. Sounds like you have a real keeper, although you will have to dig it up in time for the first frost.
I am curious, is there any coloration in the leaves? Do they stand fully erect in the hot sun, or do they fold down?


Canna'isseur
No digging. I am growing it as an annual. I am actually in the process of getting rid of most everything I have since I cannot keep anything at my parents place anymore.

It seems to hold up to the heat just fine, but the leaves do not seem to have any variation in them, just green. I will post a picture this weekend.

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Re: Rick???

Post by JakeK »

needmore wrote:
Canna'isseur wrote:
I agree, the solo types are the best tasting, even if the fruits are small.

Canna'isseur
Mine are not Solo types, the Sunrise are different in shape, color, flavor. Hawai'i is the only place I've seen this type of papaya and it really has a different flavor much sweeter and a hint of licorice. It is also not cold hardy at all, mine grow in containers and never are exposed to frost so this is an indoor tree from October to May.

Yes, today I am in transit - currently in Hawai'i eating papaya, soon to be in Indiana eating tomatoes.
Brad, so you are telling me the papayas you had in Nicaragua weren't as good as the Hawaiians? Most regular grocery stores here only carry the Hawaiian papayas, but the Indian and Chinese grocery stores have papayas from Belize and various other places in Central America.

I must say that I do not like the solo varieties nor the Hawaiian varieties at all after gorging myself on fresh papaya in Costa Rica. I was even given a free mango from a local farmer that was the size of a medium watermelon when I was waiting for a bus on a hot dusty road in Orotina. One mango fed 11 people that day!

...I might need to bring back some seed from my upcoming trip...
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RE: Growing papaya

Post by needmore »

Jake, if you are finding Hawaiian papayas in Cincy they will have been hot water treated before the long trip and that may impact the flavor. To me the central amercian varieties were not up to snuff...same on the bananas, mangoes...I've turned into a tropical fruit snob...
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Re: Rick???

Post by Bamboo Conne'isseur »

[quote="needmore"[mine are not Solo types, the Sunrise are different in shape, color, flavor. [/quote]

Actually the sunrise and the strawberry sunrise are solo varieties that came from the University of Hawaii. The term "solo" as they are referred to, are because they do not need more than one plant to produce fruit, as the plant contains both sexes. The many different solo varieties come from Hawaii, and many have been made to be both disease resistant, amongst other qualities, not limited to just taste, color.
http://health.msn.com/dietfitness/artic ... =100139200
Got to go to Hawaii myself one of these days...

Jake, good luck with those.

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Re: Rick???

Post by needmore »

Canna'isseur wrote:
Actually the sunrise and the strawberry sunrise are solo varieties that came from the University of Hawaii. The term "solo" as they are referred to, are because they do not need more than one plant to produce fruit, as the plant contains both sexes. The many different solo varieties come from Hawaii, and many have been made to be both disease resistant, amongst other qualities, not limited to just taste, color.

Canna'isseur
Could be, the state ag inspector at the quarantine station who inspected mine told me I was lucky the earlier one had set fruit as the Sunrise have males & females and I must have gotten a female. Locals distinguish between the 2 in the groceries and you learn that a Solo means yellow flesh, a more rounded, less flavorful fruit than the more torpedo shaped Sunrise. I hope you get the chance to eat some fresh ones yourself. There is a local hybrid, perhaps GMO, the 'X77' that can be eaten when still quite firm and somehwat green - don't bother.....
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RE: Growing papaya

Post by boonut »

The best tasting Papaya I have grown to date is one that was imported from Thailand. We called it Sweet Sue. The flesh is very tasty and LARGE. You can see my pics at: http://boonut.com/ipw-web/gallery/sweetsuepapaya That is my dad in the picture. He is a little over 6 feet. That same tree is now about 25 feet tall. I can't figure out how to get the fruit anymore. You have to watch out when they fall.

BTW, my dad lives in Brandenburg, Kentucky just west of Louisville. He grows papaya, bananas and other tropical trees. He even plants them in the ground and then digs them up for the winter before replanting in the spring. Most of his papaya came from Sweet Sue seed.
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RE: Growing papaya

Post by BooKing »

Sort of what we do for figs here...
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RE: Growing papaya

Post by ocimum_nate »

Mine is about 2 feet tall. I thought that it would get bigger than that this summer. My last one grew to about 4 feet. Oh well.
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RE: Growing papaya

Post by Bamboo Conne'isseur »

Needmore, I guess the locals get the good stuff... did you have the strawberry papaya over there? I have never tried it, but have heard it is one of the most delicious...
Boonut, I have heard of the sweet sue before, but have never tried it. Is it an heirloom variety perhaps? :thumbup: Those are some nice looking plants you got there.
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