How to Grow a Papaya Fruit Tree


Papayas (Carica papaya L) are a popular tropical fruit that grows well in tropical and sub-tropical regions. The trees have large leaves on a single trunk and produce a fruit that is nutritious eaten ripe or cooked green. They are easy to grow in hot climates and have very few problems with disease or pests. Plant several papaya trees, as both a male and female tree are required for fruit production.

Step 1

Plant papaya seeds in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Late summer is the best time to plant, but papaya can be planted year-round. Choose a location with protection from the wind. You will want to plant at least 3 plants to increase your chances of getting fruit. Trees can be male, female, or bisexual. Male trees do not produce fruit, but are necessary to pollinate female trees.

Step 2

Remove the seeds from several ripe papayas. Wash the seeds and remove the jelly bag that surrounds each seed. Dry the seeds to store them, or plant them immediately. It is best to use seeds from several fruit to avoid a situation where all the plants are male or all female.

Step 3

Start the seeds in a 1-gallon pot for transplanting later. Plant the seeds about 3/4 to 1 inch deep in a grouping of three to five seeds per pot in sterile potting soil.

Step 4

Water the seedlings often, keeping the soil moist but not wet. Place the pots in a warm, sunny location. Allow 2 to 3 weeks for germination.

Step 5

Thin the plants, leaving the strongest plant and removing the others by cutting them off at the soil line. Fertilize the papaya trees with a diluted liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks.

Step 6

Transplant the trees to your chosen location when they have reach approximately 1 foot in height. Dig a hole about twice the size of the pot. Add organic compost and aged manure to the soil, mixing well.

Step 7

Remove the papaya tree from the pot and place in the hole. Backfill the hole, keeping the tree growing at the same depth that it originally grew. Tamp down the soil.

Step 8

Water every 2 weeks during dry spells. Papayas trees do not need a lot of water, but the fruit need water to develop.

Step 9

Fertilize the tree every other month by adding a bucket of aged manure around the base of the tree.

Step 10

Protect the trees during freezing weather. Cover the plant with cloth or plastic until the threat of a freeze is over.

Step 11

Harvest the fruit when the skin starts to turn yellow. Allow the fruit to finish ripening at room temperature.

Tips and Warnings

  • Chicken manure can burn young papaya trees. Do not use chicken manure until the tree is at least 2 to 3 years old.

Things You'll Need

  • Papaya seeds
  • 1-gallon pots
  • Liquid fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Organic compost
  • Aged manure


  • NDA: Growing Papayas
  • Papaya Growing in the Florida Landscape
Keywords: papaya trees, growing papayas, planting papaya seeds

About this Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.