How to Plant a Paw Paw Seed


The pawpaw (Asimina triloba), also called "Poor Man's Banana," is a fruit-producing tree that grows well in humid, warm climates. Pawpaw trees grow best in USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 8, with minimum winter temperatures no colder than -15 degrees Fahrenheit. Pawpaw seeds can seem slow to germinate, but that's because the paw paw spends most of its germination time developing its long taproot instead of the shoots. Germination will occur in about two or three weeks, but you won't see the shoot emerge from the soil until about six weeks later.

Step 1

Place the pawpaw seed into a plastic freezer bag with a handful of damp sphagnum peat moss. Store the bag in the refrigerator at 32 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit for three to four months.

Step 2

Sprinkle some water into the bag once every week or two to keep the seed and sphagnum moss moist.

Step 3

Fill a tall planting container with medium to lightweight potting soil mix with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. Ensure that the container is at least 10 inches tall to accommodate the pawpaw's long taproot and has drainage holes in the bottom.

Step 4

Plant the pawpaw seed 1 inch deep into the soil mix. Keep the soil temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 5

Place the container in a shaded area, away from any direct sunlight. Water the soil lightly once every three days to keep the seeds moist at all times.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never allow the pawpaw seed to dry out or freeze because this will kill the seed and prevent it from germinating.

Things You'll Need

  • Pawpaw seed
  • Plastic freezer bag
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Planting container, 10 inches tall minimum
  • Medium to lightweight potting soil mix


  • Kentucky State University Cooperative Extension Program: Pawpaw Planting Guide

Who Can Help

  • Home Orchard Society: Plant a Paw-Paw Patch
  • California Rare Fruit Growers: Pawpaw Fruit Facts
Keywords: plant pawpaw seed, grow paw paw seeds, pawpaw planting

About this Author

Sarah Terry brings 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters, and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.