Papaya Tree

Some time last year I had a red papaya a friend had grown in his back yard in central Florida. It was a great tropical treat and I saved some of the seeds.

papaya tree 2013I did not remember that I actually planted the seeds, basically I just tossed them in the flower beds and hoped for the best. Then early this spring I noticed a seeding emerge in my raspberry bed.

In a few months this seedling has grown into a magnificent tree filled with papaya. I am looking forward to eating some of this fruit. I will save more seed and maybe do a better job of planting them for next year.

Papaya plants are not tolerant of freezing temperatures and are damaged or killed below 31°F. In central Florida we usually get 1 or 2 frosty nights in the winter. I have this tree on the South side of a large hedge hoping to reduce the damage of a cold night. Fortunately I can plant new seeds in the spring and get fruit before the frost gets them the next winter. I plan to test this in North Florida this spring to see if papaya can be grown as a annual crop at the 40 acre woods.

Papayas originated in the lowlands of Central America and southern Mexico. They are grown all over the tropical world. Papaya plants may be self-pollinating (bisexual plants) or cross pollinated by insects or wind. Pollinators include honey bees, wasps and butterflies. I believe this variety is Red Lady.

 

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