The papaya (Carica papaya L.) is not actually a tree, according to Purdue University's Center for New Plants and Crop Products; it is an herb that can grow to 30 feet in height (Purdue). Papaya thrives in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and will die if temperatures drop below 31 degrees. In fact, any temperature drops below 59 degrees may inhibit the plant from setting fruit. It is important, therefore, to provide your papaya plant with warmth and protection from winds. Choosing an appropriate planting site is one way of achieving this.
Determine where you will plant the papaya plant. The location needs to be in the warmest part of the garden with lots of sunshine. Planting it next to the house, where it will receive reflected heat, is ideal, according to the experts at California Rare Fruit Growers.
Prepare the planting site by amending the soil. Dig into the site to a depth of 12 inches. Place the removed soil into a wheelbarrow and add 3 inches of compost and 2 inches of sand to it. Mix well with a gardening fork and pour it back onto the planting site.
Dig a hole the same depth and three times the width of the planting pot. Use a gardening fork to scrape the sides of the hole. This will make it easier for the papaya's roots to penetrate the surrounding soil.
Remove the papaya plant from the pot, being careful not to disturb the root ball, and place the roots into the hole. Backfill the hole halfway and then fill it with water. Allow the water to drain and then finish filling the hole with soil. Use your hands or feet to press the soil firmly around the base of the papaya plant.
Water the papaya plant until the water puddles at the base. When the water drains, pour a 3-inch thick layer of mulch onto the soil and spread it 1 1/2 feet in all directions, but not allowing the mulch to touch the bark.