The pawpaw is a tropical flavored fruit that grows on trees in the eastern United States in lowland river and creek plains. It is a smaller tree that typically grows only to 20 or 30 feet high and yet is relatively unknown. Although it is the largest fruit native to the eastern seaboard, most of the millions of people from the area have never even tasted one. If you can get your hands on one, you can save the seeds and start your own tree with little effort.
Slice open the pawpaw to reveal the kidney bean-shaped seeds. Place them in a bowl of water and rub them between your fingers to remove the fruity pulp around them. They should sink to the bottom of the bowl so you can pour off the liquid with the debris.
Place the wet seeds into the center of a damp paper towel. You do not want them to dry out during the whole process of removing them from the fruit and starting their stratification. Fold the paper towel in half about four times so that they are well wrapped in the moisture.
Slide the moist but not wet paper towel into a plastic bag and seal it shut. The pawpaw needs 100 days of cold temperatures ranging from 34 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. A consistent spot for this would be the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
Make a label for the bag that includes the date you placed it in the refrigerator, the date you expect to remove it, along with the name of the seeds. A lot can happen in 100 days and you don't want to forget what you were working with.
Prepare some plant pots by filling them with potting soil and watering them. Allow the water to drain from the bottom and then make an indentation about 1 inch or 3 cm deep. Place the pots in a tray to collect the drained water.
Pull the bag out of the refrigerator after the 100 days and unwrap the seeds. Some might show sprouts already but take all of them and place them into the prepared pots. Push the soil around the seeds and water lightly.
Place the planted pawpaw seeds in a warm and sunny spot. You won't see any growth for almost nine weeks, but during that time, the seed will be developing a root system under the soil. Continue to let the plant grow until it has a few leaves.
Transplant the pawpaw plant into a 2-gallon pot so that the roots have room to stretch out. You will want to plant them outside during spring when the rest of the trees are starting to bud out. Keep it well watered for the first year and weeds clear three feet from the base.