How To Grow PawPaws From Seed: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide
Ever admired the luscious pawpaw tree and wished you could have one in your backyard? Or perhaps you simply love the juicy, tropical taste of pawpaws and would like a regular supply? Look no further! This comprehensive guide will lead you step-by-step through the process of growing and nurturing your very own pawpaw tree, right from a seed!
Choosing the Right Pawpaw Seeds
Picking the right seeds is imperative for the successful growth of your pawpaw plant. If you have access to a ripe pawpaw fruit, you can retrieve the seeds directly from the fruit itself. Seeds from especially tasty fruits mean tastier fruits from your tree! If you don’t have direct access, you can always buy them from a reputable online seed store – make sure you check reviews to ascertain the quality and reliability of the seeds.
Once you have your seeds, clean off any remaining pulp then dry them – be sure not to let them completely dry out though, as this can harm the seed’s viability. If you’re not planning on planting them right away, you can store them in a sealed container kept at about 3-5 degrees Celsius – the fridge is perfect for this.
Germinating Your Pawpaw Seeds
Now that you have your seeds ready, your next step is germination. Start by soaking your seeds in warm water for about 48 hours. Next, place the soaked seeds on a damp paper towel then fold it over. Place this in a sealed plastic bag and store in your fridge for up to 3 months. Make sure to check your seeds regularly for signs of sprouting.
Once you notice a radicle (the beginning of a root) emerging from your seed, it’s time to move to the next step. It’s important to note that pawpaw seeds need a period of cold stratification to successfully germinate, hence the time spent in the fridge.
Planting Your Germinated Seeds
Now that your seeds have germinated, it’s time to plant them. Your best bet is a deep pot since Pawpaws have long taproots. Fill the pot with a mix of good quality potting soil and compost. Push your germinated seed about 1” into the soil, and then lightly cover it with more soil.
While pawpaws love the sun, young seedlings can be sensitive so it’s recommended you start them in a shaded area. Pay attention to your seedling and ensure it gets consistent water – not too dry, but not waterlogged.
Caring For Your Growing Pawpaw Tree
As your plant grows, you will need to provide it with additional care. Pawpaws dislike overly dry or overly wet conditions, so ensure you’re watering your plant regularly but not overdoing it – the soil should be moist, but not waterlogged.
The love for the sun kicks in as your tree grows – once your tree is sturdy, you can move it into sunnier areas. After a year or so, when the plant is about 1 foot tall, you can transplant it to the ground, if so desired.
Harvesting Your Pawpaw Fruits
Patience is key – it may take several years for your pawpaw tree to start bearing fruit, but the wait is well worth it! The sweet, tropical taste of a homegrown pawpaw is unparalleled. The fruits are ready to harvest when they become slightly soft to the touch and change color from green to yellow.
It’s important to harvest gently to avoid bruising the fruits. Overripe fruits can also be collected from the ground. Once harvested, pawpaws have a short shelf-life so enjoy them fresh, or swiftly utilize them in a mouth-watering recipe!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: How long does it take for a pawpaw tree to bear fruit?
A1: It normally takes anywhere from 4 to 8 years from seed for a pawpaw tree to bear fruit. This is highly dependent on the conditions it’s grown in and the care provided.
Q2: How much water does a pawpaw tree need?
A2: Pawpaw trees prefer consistent moisture, but their roots should never be waterlogged. Once established, they are moderately drought tolerant, but will produce better fruit with regular watering.
Q3: Do I need two pawpaw trees to produce fruit?
A3: Yes. Although the pawpaw tree is self-fertile, cross-pollination between two genetically different pawpaw trees often results in better fruit production.