Having a papaya tree in a pot is not difficult at all. Because the seeds are very fast growing, and the tree is small and its life expectancy is not long, there are those who dare to have it, either on the balcony, terrace … placed in a pot. But, to have a potted papaya tree, what care does it need?
If you want to encourage yourself to have your own papaya harvest and enjoy its flavor, you have to first know what the care of the potted papaya tree is. Shall we show you?
The papaya tree
Before talking about how to have this tree at home, you should know a little about its characteristics. We are talking about a tree that does not grow too much (around 5-10 meters planted in the garden, 1-2 if in a pot) and also has a short life. There are different varieties, some more suitable for growing in pots than others.
It is characterized by have a single trunk from which few branches emerge while the leaves only appear at the top. These leaves are quite large, we are talking about 20-40 centimeters in diameter and with a curious shape since they have 7 lobes.
As for its flowers, it has male and female flowers and both differ from each other. While the male stamens are covered by the petals, in the female they have an ovary with five petals. Something striking is that they open at night, and give off a very pleasant sweet smell.
The fruits, that is, papayas are large, because each one can measure between 20 and 35 centimeters. These are consumed in many different ways, from raw to used in desserts, jams, sauces, smoothies, etc.
The Potted Papaya Tree: Care It Needs
Now, you already know what the papaya tree is like and it is time for you to know how to have one at home in a pot. To do this, there are two ways to achieve it: through seeds or by cuttings. Although you could consider that the second option is the best and fastest, we must tell you that the seeds germinate very quickly, and their growth is too. This is the reason why many choose them to plant it, since you do not have to wait long to see the results.
To do this, the first thing to do is choosing a variety of papaya tree that is suitable for growing in a pot. As we have told you before, there are several that can help us for this purpose. In addition, you must have a pot of at least 60 liters and a diameter of 50 cm prepared. Finally, you will need a mixture of soil, substrate and gravel, sand or rock to cover all the needs.
Once you have everything, it’s time to plant it.
Wash the pot with soap and water, both inside and out. Of course, make sure the soap is soft. Why is this done? To try that there is no trace of fungi or parasites that could put the germination of the seed at risk. Once you have it, you can place it in the place where you have decided permanently (more than anything because it will weigh later) and start adding the mixture of soil, substrate and drainage. You have to make sure it has a pH between 4.5 and 8.0.
Drop several seeds into the soil and cover them lightly. In just 2-3 weeks you will see the shoots and you will have to make a selection of the strongest to plant them in other pots (so that there are not several trees in the same).
Lighting and temperature
Although we have told you before that you choose the fixed location of the pot to avoid hurting yourself if you have to move it, the most important thing to choose the place of the potted papaya tree is light. It needs direct sunlight, and at least 6 to 8 hours of it. If you do not have it like that, it is more difficult for it to develop well, or worse still, that it can bear fruit.
With regard to temperature, being a tropical fruit, it requires a warm temperature to be able to offer you its fruits and also take good care of yourself. How much are we talking about? Your ideal would be between 21 and 32 degrees. If you live in an area where the temperature drops below 0, then your tree will suffer and you will have to protect it from frost and cold during that time (with plastics, placing it in a greenhouse …).
The first watering of the potted papaya tree has to be abundant so that all the earth is wet, not soaked. Afterwards, you have to water well, enough to leave the soil moist, but not with puddles.
If you have a plate in the bottom, it is advisable that, after 15-20 minutes, remove the excess water. Now, as it is a tropical plant, it is possible that a little humidity will suit it. To do this, it is best to place the pot on some pebbles or rocks, these in a plate or container, to be able to fill it with water, slightly covering those stones in order to create artificial humidity.
One of the most important potted papaya tree care is compost. It is very important that receive fertilizers to grow and develop fruits. What can they be?
- Organic compost or soil fertilizer.
- NPK fertilizers (Nitrogen, phosphorous-potassium).
An important aspect that not many know is that the flowers of the papaya tree cannot pollinate on their own. If you have it in an area where there are no insects to help with pollination, you will have to do it yourself. And how is it done? Well you have to take pollen from male flowers and place it on female ones.
Now, the tree itself attracts insects such as butterflies, bees, wasps, etc. and they normally take care of this care. But if it is indoors, if you want fruit, you will have to do it yourself.
Picking the fruits
About at 6-9 months (9-11 if you live in a colder area) since you planted it you will have your first fruits to pick up. These should be cut only when they look yellow (they will be green at first).
Plagues and diseases
As for pests and diseases, it suffers from quite a few. The most common are usually the Red spider, fruit fly and whitefly, yellow moth or scales.
Of diseases, the most common have to do with an excess or deficit of water and / or sunlight. It is also affected by nutrient deficiencies.
Do you dare now to have a potted papaya tree and give it its care?