How To Grow Papaya From Seeds

Papaya is one of the easiest fruit trees to grow, if you provide them with the right conditions. Here in North East Florida we are in growing zone 9, and while papaya prefer warmer winters than we have here, we have still had great success.

papaya tree with papayas

Eat a papaya, grow a papaya.

We got the idea to grow papaya from seeds, when one of our children began suffering from constipation. The pediatrician suggested that we added papaya to the diet, because papaya is a diuretic. However, papaya can be expensive often costing $5 for a single fruit, and sometimes papaya can be hard to find at the store. For a frugal family of seven, this means papaya is a luxury, so we now make sure to have papaya trees of all sizes planted around the house.


papaya growing from flower

Each papaya fruit has a myriad of seeds, and they are so easy to start. Papaya does not like to be transplanted, although we have been able to do so with varying degrees of success, so plant the papaya directly in the soil outside. If you are in zone 10+, you should not have any problem overwintering papaya outside, but here in zone 9 we take a few precautions.


papaya on tree

If you plant your papaya in zone 9a or 9b, try to plant them within a foot or two of your southern wall, and the best thing is if it is away from harsh, cold winds. The papaya tree might show sign of distress, when the nights are cold, but in our experience most of the trees will start growing new leaves, once they've acclimated to the colder nights.

Another way to protect your papaya trees is by planting them in clusters and in between other plants and trees such as bananas, Mexican sunflower etc.

If your papaya tree suffers frost damage, you can cut it down to where it is still good, and it will likely grow back.

papaya fruit with seeds

How To Grow Papaya From Seeds:

  1. Eat the papaya and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Plant the seeds directly in the soil about 1 inch deep. No need to clean the seeds, they're not fuzzy.
  3. Make sure to plant bundles together, as papaya needs both a male and female tree to get proper pollination, and they can be either male, female or bisexual, and you won't know which it is until it flowers.
  4. The male papayas usually flower first with long, thin stalks and small flowers.
  5. The female papayas have bigger, single blooms closer to the stalk.
  6. You can get rid of most of the male plants, as you only need about 1 male plant for each 10 female papaya plant for optimal pollination.
  7. If you're having problems getting your papaya flowers pollinated, hand-pollinate them yourself by brushing the pollen from a male flower with a small paintbrush, and then brushing female flowers.
  8. If you need to transplant papaya seedlings, make sure to do so if there's rain in the forecast, as this seems to increase the likelihood of seedling survival. 
  9. If you grow your papaya in zone 9a or b, you will get the best result by planting the papaya close to your house at a southern-facing wall, but we have still had some plants survive away from the house. 
  10. If you are in an area with colder winters, keep papayas in a large pot that can winter inside.
  11. While papayas aren't picky, you will get best results with good, healthy soil, lots of compost and adding chicken manure is also a great benefit.
  12. Papayas usually start producing fruit within 10 - 12 months.
  13. Most papaya trees do not produce more well for more than a few years, so around here we plant new papaya seeds every 3 - 6 months to have a constant harvest.
  14. Papaya freeze well, so we cut them up and freeze them to have them ready for smoothies, whenever we do not have fresh papaya.



papaya in a pot

As you can see below, papaya roots are not very big, so they have a tendency to topple over if you do not provide them with support.


papaya root

Our general rule around here is that if you eat a papaya, you need to grow a papaya. This means that we have papaya trees growing everywhere, but they have such a nice tropical look to them, and our food forest on the southern side of the house looks fantastic between the grape vines, orange trees, banana trees and papaya trees. 

papaya seed

Papaya trees are extremely efficient. Not only do they provide you with fruit within two years of planting from seeds, but they also grow fast, and we are now growing them in front of our southern facing windows to provide some shade from the hot Florida sun.

We recently visited a nursery, where they were selling 4ft tall papaya trees for $35 a piece. We just looked at each other, and then we started calculating how much our papaya trees were worth....we figure we have more than $1000 worth of papaya trees growing around the house.


If you have any questions on how to grow papaya from seeds, let us now below. We'd also love to hear from you if you have any papaya growing tips.


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