How to Grow Papaya - Planting & Caring

By Sharon & Team   /   Shrubs Category   /   2023

Papaya, or Carica papaya, is a tropical fruit that is native to Mexico and Central America. The papaya plant is a small tree that can grow to be about 20 feet tall. The tree has large, lobed leaves and its stem is hollow. The papaya fruit is large and pear-shaped. It has a thick, green skin and orange flesh. The fruit is also full of seeds.

How to Grow Papaya - Planting & Caring

Growing Easiness

Is it easy to grow Papaya plant? Sometimes, people think that tropical fruits are difficult to grow and care for. However, this is not the case with papaya plants. They are actually quite easy to care for, as long as you provide them with the proper environment. They need full sun and well-drained soil. They are also quite drought tolerant. When it comes to watering, you should only water them when the soil is dry. As for fertilizing, you can use a balanced fertilizer every other month.

Plant Size

How big can it be? When fully grown, a papaya tree can be as tall as 20 feet (6 meters). However, when grown in a pot at home, it is unlikely to exceed 8 feet (2.5 meters).

Growth Rate

How fast is the growth? known that in nature it can reach a height of 3-6 m. But at home it is difficult to grow more than 2-2.5 m.

Papaya Basic Knowledge

Plant Form Shrub
Family Caricaceae
Origin The native land of papaya is Central America, southern Mexico. Its name comes from the Caribbean word “ababai”.

Lifespan, Perennial or Annuals

How long is the lifespan? While in the wild, papaya trees can live up to 20 years, they only last around 4 years when grown indoors. This is due to a number of reasons, such as the lack of certain nutrients in indoor soil, and not enough sunlight.

Ideal Temperature

What is the ideal temperature? The average room temperature is usually about 64.4-75.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Papaya plant transfers heat easily, however it needs intensive spraying. The minimum temperature for Papaya plants is +60.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Papaya plants are extremely intolerant to lower temperatures, especially when it comes to watering and wet soil at low temperatures.


What about the humidity? Since papaya is a tropical plant, it requires a very high level of humidity. Dry air can cause the leaves to dry out and even kill the plant, especially in winter when the heater is on. To keep the plant healthy, it is necessary to use all methods of increasing humidity: frequent spraying, and placing the plant in a bowl with wet claydite (water should not touch the roots).

Light Requirement

What amount of light this plant needed? While the Papaya plant does best with bright light from a south or south-west window, it's important to rotate the plant a quarter turn every week or so. This ensures that the plant gets evenly lit and that it bends towards the light source. If there isn't enough natural light, then artificial illumination using lamps is necessary, especially in winter.

Soil Composition

What is good soil for Papaya? Although papaya plants can grow in a wide range of soils, they prefer loose, fertile soil with good drainage and a hole in the bottom of the pot. The ideal pH for papaya plants is 6-6.5.

Watering Time

How much I must water Papaya? Because of the high water content in the papaya leaves, the plant quickly loses moisture in the hot summer days. It is necessary to water the papaya often, every 3-4 days, not allowing the complete drying of the soil. Only the upper layer should dry between moisturizing. Excessive watering is also harmful, since it threatens to decay the root system. Use soft water at room temperature.

Fertilizing and Nutritient

About fertilizer. Common ly, the plant is fed at least once a month, from spring to autumn. For best growth, use complex balanced fertilizers, only during the flowering period, increase the dose of phosphorus and potassium. Also, papaya responds well to fertilizing with organic fertilizers.


How to reproduce Papaya? When it comes to papaya plant reproduction, the most common way to do it is by using seeds. You can get the seeds from fresh fruits that you purchase from the store. It's best if the seeds are as fresh as possible. Rinse off the pulp and dry the seeds for 24 hours on a piece of paper. Then, immediately sow the seeds in a loose mixture of peat and sand or peat with perlite. The depth should be 2 cm. Lightly moisturize and cover with polyethylene. Make sure to ventilate for about an hour every day. Germinate at a temperature of 75.2-77°F. If you purchased ready seeds from the store, you will need to soak them for a day. These seeds are characterized by a high germination rate. If they are fresh, the germination can reach up to 90-100%. The germination process can last from 2 weeks to 2 months. Usually, the strongest sprouts are planted for further cultivation. The shoots should be transplanted once and immediately into a fairly large pot. According to different data, the plant grown from the seed can bloom after six months to 3 years, depending on care. The best time to carry out seed reproduction is in early spring so the plant has time to grow and get stronger during the growing season. Vegetative reproduction is more complex. You will need to take an adult stem (with a trunk thickness of not less than 1.5 cm) and cut it into several pieces that are 10-15 cm long. Dry the sections for 2-3 days and then plant the cuttings in moist sand or another loose soil mixture. You can also pre-treat the cuts with a root.


Why Papaya won't bloom? Although it blooms in summer, the flower is small only up to 2.5 cm. with 5 petals of yellow, white, or cream colors. It is dioecious which means on one plant, it can be either male or female flowers. It is difficult to pollinate at home unless it is a commercial variety. For example, the Carica papaya Solo where both sexes develop on a single tree. To transfer the pollen from one flower to another, use a brush.

Transfer or Repotting

How much I must water Papaya? The best time for this is in early spring. If the pot is too small, the roots will quickly fill it, and the plant will begin to hurt. It is better to take a fairly heavy pot to avoid overturning it. For an adult 1.5-meter plant, the pot volume should be about 50 liters. However, the pots should be wide, but not very deep, as the papaya has a superficial root system.

Caring The Papaya

How to care the plant? The reason you don't need to prune this plant is because it takes care of that itself by removing old and damaged branches. It's also sensitive to drafts and temperature changes, so find a stable place for it indoors or outdoors. If you're keeping it outdoors in the summer, make sure it gets some sun but not too much - young growth should be in the shade of larger specimens. When the fruits are ripe, they'll change color from green to yellow. You can tell they're ready to eat when they're completely yellow and slightly soft. And finally, a fun fact - the fruits of papaya contain the digestive enzyme papain.

Pests & Challenges

What is the challenge when caring Papaya plant? known as the "fruit of the angels", the papaya is actually a large berry that grows on a tree-like plant. The papaya plant is native to Mexico and Central America but is now grown in tropical regions around the world. The papaya tree grows to be about 20 feet tall and has a single stem with a crown of large, deeply lobed leaves. The papaya fruit is oval or pear-shaped and can be as large as 18 inches long and weigh up to 10 pounds. The papaya's skin is thin and smooth and its flesh is a deep yellow-orange color with a soft, buttery texture. The papaya fruit is rich in vitamins A and C and also contains papain, an enzyme that aids in digestion.

Toxic & Poisonous Type

Are Papaya poisonous? When unripe, the flesh of the papaya fruit is full of a milky latex that can cause irritation to the skin and digestive issues if consumed. The latex is also present in the papaya leaves, stem, and seeds. If the papaya is unripe, the latex can be a mild irritant to the skin. If the papaya is consumed when unripe, the latex can cause irritation to the digestive system.