You rarely see papayas in the supermarket. One more reason to grow a plant from the seeds themselves. The potted plants are definitely an exotic eye-catcher.
If you want to plant papaya seeds, the papaya must be ripe. Because only then are the seeds contained in it germinable. The chances of growing a papaya plant successfully are good if the fruit is already yellow when you buy it and gives way slightly to pressure.
Planting papaya seeds: the preparation
If you cut the papaya lengthways, you can see numerous black seeds in the fruiting body. They can be easily fished out with a spoon and placed in a sieve so that you can rinse off the flesh stuck to them under running water. It is a little more difficult to get the gelatinous shell that surrounds the papaya seeds off. To do this, you have to rub a little – this is done quickly with a tea towel or kitchen paper. But you should make the effort because the cover contains germ-inhibiting substances. Then let the seeds dry for a few hours and then sow them as quickly as possible because the seeds quickly lose their ability to germinate!
The kernels of the papaya must be cleaned and freed from their gelatinous shell before planting
Planting papaya – step by step
To grow papaya, you use a peat soaking pot or fill an eight-centimeter pot up to about two centimeters below the rim with nutrient-poor potting soil. Better to stick several seeds in at once, because not all of them will open. It is enough to cover the seeds with soil only about half a centimeter thick.
And please only put one seed in each pot: Otherwise, it will be difficult to untangle the roots later if the plants have to be separated. And the young papayas react very indignantly to the loss of roots. After the seeds have been inserted, the substrate is slightly moistened with the sprayer.
A temperature of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius is ideal for the papaya seeds to germinate; there is usually a suitable place on a warm window sill. If you want to start growing in winter, you should carefully check the temperature at the window: it is often drafty here or temperature fluctuations occur again and again.
To ensure that the humidity is evenly high, it is best to cover the seed container with the papaya seeds with a transparent plastic cover or glass plate or place the pot in a mini greenhouse. Don’t forget to ventilate, at least once a day! Otherwise, mold may develop. It takes a little tact to ensure that the substrate is moist, but not wet.
Pulling papaya yourself: so it goes on
You have to wait about two weeks for the first tender shoots of the papaya plant to appear. The young plant thrives best in a bright, but not sun-exposed place. Give her a gentle shower with the plant sprayer again and again. This prevents the leaf tips from drying out.
When the first real leaves appear, the seedling is put into good potting soil. This should be nutritious and loose so that there is no water build-up in the subsurface. If you want to mix yourself: The experts recommend potting soil with up to 20 percent sand added.
A pH value of around 6 is ideal. Repotting should be done very carefully because the roots of the papaya plant are extremely sensitive. No fertilization is required in the first two months after germination, the seeds provide the young papaya with food.
With the right care, the papaya plant also thrives in the tub and can be cultivated successfully in our part of the world
Caring for papaya plants properly
The young papaya thrives best when it is bright, warm, and with high humidity. From a height of 15 centimeters, it can get a place in the sun. Wherever she is comfortable, you can literally watch her grow.
Anyone who shoots up so quickly must of course get plenty of “food” – it is best to fertilize the papaya plant every two weeks, a liquid fertilizer for leafy plants is suitable for this. Initially, only a third of the specified amount should be administered. According to the manufacturer, fertilization can be used from the second year, from May to September.
The papaya will soon be too big for the windowsill, better a place in the heated winter garden. She can spend the summer in a sunny, sheltered place outdoors. You can overwinter them at 12 to 15 degrees Celsius in a bright location, but it can also be a little warmer. The amount of watering can be reduced a little in this dormant vegetation.
Kathryn S. Crane is a retired teacher. A freelance writer for Crown-Times, her subjects of interest are biology and art. Even before retirement, she was involved in phenological observations of the growth stages of plants. She enjoys following the activity of birds, bees, and bumblebees in her garden. However, she does not want to call herself an ornithologist.