Papayas grow in a variety of regions in the world and come in many different shapes and sizes. A soft fleshy fruit produced by small trees, papayas require similar conditions no matter where they grow. In temperate climates with mild winters and warm weather, papayas can be grown outdoors. If you live in a colder climate, however, once the cold weather sets in, papayas will wither and die. Fortunately, the conditions needed to grow healthy papayas plants can be provided indoors. By keeping a few bits of horticultural information in mind you can grow papaya plants as houseplants.
Plant the papaya seed or sapling in a small pot using a loose soil that is rich in composted organic matter. Plant the papayas with a potting soil that provides an abundant supply of nutrients, such as Miracle Grow with time release fertilizer or Whitney Farms Uncle Malcolm’s. Plant the papaya and water thoroughly.
Select a bright location indoors to grow the papayas. Place the potted papayas where they receive as much light and as bright a light intensity as possible. The less light papaya plants receive, the ganglier they will grow and will look. With insufficient light the papaya plants look unattractive and will not fruit.
Place the potted papaya plants near a window or door to provide sufficient circulation. Growing healthy papaya plants requires not only sun, but ample circulation of fresh air. When growing indoors in rooms with insufficient circulation papayas are susceptible to insect infestation and disease which can stunt growth and kill the plants. Placing plants near a door that is used frequently or windows that can be opened occasionally will prevent these problems.
Water the potted papaya plants frequently and thoroughly. Planting with a loose soil allows you to water frequently without over-watering. Water approximately once per week, but check the moisture level in the soil frequently. In proper conditions you could be watering the plants several times a week. If the leaves of the papaya plants are yellowing, decrease watering. If they wilt, keep the soil wetter.
Pollinate papaya flowers by hand when they appear. To produce fruit, papaya plants need to be cross-pollinated with other papaya plants. Always grow at least three papaya plants at the same time if you want the plants to bear fruit. Use a cotton swab on the end of a small stick to pollinate the flowers by gently touching the flowers of each plant with the same swab. Harvest fruit when it begins to turn yellow or orange.