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Pawpaw or papaya (Carica papaya), whichever name you choose to call it, will still smell as sweet and taste just as good! Eat fresh or grated into a salad (Thai paw paw salad!), you will find many ways to enjoy this glorious fruit. In the garden, paw paw trees thrive in tropical and subtropical zones, however, will also grow in warm-temperate frost-free areas. Make sure you give them plenty of room to grow, as trees can reach heights between 2-5m.

You can buy them as male, female or bisexual (both male and female) flowering trees. Look for trees with both male and female and that way, you’ll only need one in your yard. 


How to grow paw paws in a garden

  1. Choose a sunny spot with well drained soil. Enrich the soil with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. If the soil is clay based, add gypsum and fork in well. Mound the soil to improve drainage, if necessary.
  2. Dig the planting hole twice as wide and to the same depth as the root-ball. Remove the shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with soil, gently firming down. Form a raised or doughnut shaped ring of soil around the outer edge of the plant's root zone. This helps keep water where it's needed.  Always water in well after planting to settle the soil around the roots and keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new plant establishes.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water regularly and deeply as the plant grows – once a week for most the year should be sufficient. During the warmer or drier months, you may need to water twice a week. Deep watering is preferred to shallowing watering every other day. 
  6. Feed with a complete fertiliser, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser in spring and autumn. For an added nutrient boost, feed with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food weekly during the flowering season.
  7. To harvest, pick fruit when it is fully coloured or two-thirds golden and allow to ripen indoors.

     
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How to grow paw paws in a pot

  1. Choose a pot at least 600mm wide and deep. Position in full sun and protect from strong winds. 
  2. Fill pot with quality mix, such as Yates Potting Mix with Dynamic Lifter, making a hole in the centre. Remove shrub from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  3. Position in hole and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water well.
  4. Mulch around the base with organic mulch like bark chips, sugarcane or pea straw, keeping it away from the trunk.
  5. Water regularly and deeply as the plant grows – once a week for most the year should be sufficient. During the warmer or drier months, you may need to water twice a week. Deep watering is preferred to shallowing watering every other day. 
  6. Feed with a complete fertiliser, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser in spring and autumn. For an added nutrient boost, feed with Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food weekly during the flowering season.
  7. To harvest, pick fruit when it is fully coloured or two-thirds golden and allow to ripen indoors.

How to grow paw paw from seed

You can grow a pawpaw tree from seeds from fruit of female trees. They generally don’t like to be transplanted, so it’s best to plant them where you intend to leave them. 

  1. Choose a spot in full sun and enrich the soil with organic matter, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser.
  2. Sprinkle the seeds over the top and lightly cover with soil. Water in well and lightly mulch. You cannot tell whether the seeds are male or female, so it’s ideal to plant 4-5 plants – odds are you will have at least 1 male tree for pollination. 
  3. Water regularly as the seedlings grow. Remove any weak plants and discard.
  4. Feed with a complete fertiliser, such as Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser in spring and autumn.
  5. Once they start flowering, take note of the flower shapes - keep one male plant (flowers are borne on long, thin stalks) and discard the rest. Keep any female plants (flowers are single blooms and held closer to the trunk). If you have any bisexual plants, lucky you!

Growing tips

  • Most pawpaws have male and female flowers on separate trees, but there are bisexual trees available. Male flowers are borne on long, thin stalks and there are usually multiple blooms. Female flowers are usually single blooms that are held closely to the tree. In the tropics, fruit can grow almost all year round. 
  • Most pawpaws have bright-yellow or orange flesh, but you can find varieties with red flesh. Look for ‘Southern Red’ or ‘Dwarf Papaya Torpedo’.
  • Trees will fruit well for at least 5 years, so it is best to stagger planting of trees to ensure you have a fruitful harvest for many years to come.

  • Flowering takes place over several weeks so fruit at different stages of development will appear on the tree at the one time.

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