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Growing Carica Papaya Trees - How to grow Papaya Fruit Seeds

Updated on December 3, 2012
shop bought papaya fruit with seeds
shop bought papaya fruit with seeds | Source

If you've ever thought about growing carica papaya trees and wondered how to grow papaya fruit from their seeds, then read on.

It is actually remarkably easy to grow carica papaya, and you don't need to order special papaya seeds from a specialist grower. Just buy a papaya fruit from the shops and strip out the seeds.

If you've ever eaten a papaya fruit, you will be aware that there are a large number of big round black seeds inside the fruit.

Everybody who grows papaya from seed uses a slightly different method, but in my experience the best way to get the seed to germinate is to clean all the fruit off them and dry them out first.

They are encapsulated within a liquid sac, so gently squeeze each seed and the seed within will burst forth.

If you've ever played Minesweeper, that annoying little game that comes bundled with Microsoft Windows, you will instantly recognise your dried seeds as mini-mines, with the same jagged surface.

Let them dry for a few days, then you are ready to plant your carica papaya seeds, and hopefully they will start growing into beautiful papaya trees.

Some people put all their seeds into one big pot, and thin out all but the strongest looking seedlings that grow.

Commercial growers plant 3 or 4 seeds in holes made in drills, about 3 feet apart, and thin out all but the strongest seedling.

I put each seed into an individual compost filled pot, the bigger the better.

Carica papaya trees hate being transplanted. The slightest damage to their roots and they just curl up and die. If you start them off in small pots, it is possible to transplant them into bigger pots as they grow, so long as you handle them with extreme care.

If you live in a tropical or subtropical climate it is possible to grow carica papaya trees outside, by planting their seeds directly into the soil.

Growing carica papaya from seed

a very young papaya seedling
a very young papaya seedling | Source

Keep the pot in a warm and sunny place, and your papaya seedling should appear within weeks. Being tropical, they like plenty of water but don't let their pots sit in water, as they don't like getting their feet wet.

Give them all the sunshine and warmth you can. A sunny conservatory is perfect in cooler climates.

Papaya trees are quick growing, and under ideal growing can reach a height of 10' - 12' within 18 months. Obviously if this is too high for your conservatory you can cut it back and it will shoot from the base.

3 month old carica papaya tree seedling
3 month old carica papaya tree seedling

Carica papaya trees normally flower and fruit in their second year, which is exceptionally fast for any fruit type grown from seed.

The majority of your seedlings are likely to be female.

You will need a male plant to fertilize the flowers and produce fruit.

One male plant can fertilize up to 12 females, but you will not know what sex of plant you have until it flowers.

If you are growing carica papaya in a conservatory in cooler climates you will maybe just be growing papaya trees for decorative purposes, and need not worry about producing fruit.

Carica papaya are beautiful and exotic looking trees and well worth growing just for the enjoyment of it, if you are a keen gardener.

Your carica papaya tree is extremely tender. Cold winds can kill it, never mind frost. They can also be grown inside your house so long as it is positioned in a sunny position well away from drafts.

Carica papaya trees are not normally long-lived trees because they are susceptible to root rot and a whole host of tree infections. Their stems are hollow and high winds frequently knock them over, killing them.

While they love water, it is probably safest to give them less water in cooler climates, to avoid root rot.

They are also extremely hungry plants and require frequent feeding of nitrogen-rich compounds. If grown in the ground outside, prepare the ground well by digging a big hole and filling with compost and mulch.

In a pot, use the best compost you can buy when growing carica papaya trees. This should keep them well-fed for most of their lives.

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