Currently, papaya is one of the most popular and consumed tropical fruits in the world. The papaya, scientifically named Carica papaya , is a small tree with a short life and very fast growth, which has its origin in Central America.
It is a crop that requires a specific climate and care, but that despite everything is within reach of most warm or temperate climates. If you want to learn how to grow papaya at home to enjoy your own fruits, keep reading this article.
When to plant papaya
The best season to grow papayas is usually in early spring , in the months of March and April. However, this largely depends on the climate of the area, since the important thing with this plant is that we have warm temperatures .
The papaya tree does not tolerate frost or prolonged exposures to low temperatures, so if in your climate the thermometer falls below 15ºC for long periods, it is likely that your papaya will be harmed. It could survive, but its health will probably not be good or its fruits will be small and tasteless. In addition to that, papaya tree care also requires very well-drained soil and good exposure to sunlight.
How to grow papaya in a pot
Although some varieties of the plant can reach considerable heights, papaya can be grown in pots. If we want to carry out this modality of cultivation, a very good option is to plant dwarf papaya in pots , since these produce equally delicious fruits in a smaller plant. Knowing this, then let’s start to know how to sow papaya from seed in a pot :
- To plant papaya you will need a good amount of seeds. You can buy them in a nursery or specialized center if you want to make sure that the crop comes out as well as possible or, if you are simply looking to try, you can plant those of some papaya that you have eaten. Usually, supermarket papayas and supermarkets will give rise to hermaphroditic plants.
- Disinfect the seeds with purchased fungicide or homemade and natural fungicide to improve their chances of survival by avoiding fungal infections.
- The next thing will be to prepare the seedbed . The papaya plant needs very well drained soils, light soils and very rich in organic matter, without being too important the other factors. For this reason, the mixture of seedlings made with a part of peat, another of coconut fiber and a last of worm humus will perfectly meet your needs. Remember that adding some perlite further improves the drainage of the substrate.
- Then prepare the seeds. Let them dry for 24 hours after placing them in a dry place. You can press them lightly and carefully to break their sack before planting them, facilitating germination. Then, plant them in the seedbeds or pots at about 1 cm deep , respecting about 5 cm between them.
- Water frequently , but never water the substrate, and place the container in a sunny spot . About a month after planting, you will be able to select which seedlings are strongest and best to keep. Rotate the pot regularly so that the entire plant receives good natural light.
- Once the seedlings are of a suitable size, you can proceed to transplant the papaya to its final location, with no more than one plant per pot. Be very careful with its roots when transplanting, as they are very delicate.
- Two weeks after this first transplant you will need to start providing fertilizer to your plant.
How to grow papaya in soil or soil
When considering how to sow papaya with seeds directly in the ground or the soil outside, the process is quite similar to that of a pot. Follow these tips:
- The main difference here is that we will leave a meter of space between the seeds if we want to save the transplant or else, we will have to eliminate more seedlings.
- If the soil does not offer good drainage, a raised pile of almost one meter of soil will have to be prepared to avoid puddling at the roots.
- As in the case of the pot, it will be necessary to enrich the soil with organic matter, such as worm castings and compost .
- When the plants have reached a certain size, it will be very beneficial to apply a layer of mulch to the base, which will help protect the plant. Remember to water frequently and without flooding.
How long does it take for a papaya tree to grow?
When it comes to seeing how long it takes a papaya tree to bear fruit , it should be mentioned that this plant can be harvested in only about ten months after being planted, although it does not usually last more than 5 years. Thus, to know when the papaya is harvested we only have to count a little less than a year from its plantation.
Also, in a papaya crop it is important to distinguish between male, female and hermaphroditic papaya . The former are the least convenient, because they do not bear fruit and only serve to pollinate the others. Therefore, the ideal is to get hermaphroditic papayas, which can be self-pollinated and are more practical.