Post on the Garden Web Forum
by Christine

How to Protect your Papaya Fruit from the Papaya Fruit Fly

"There are 3 types of papaya plants; male, female, and self-fertile. After growing other unnamed papayas, I am quite satisfied with the Red Lady. (I buy the seeds from ECHO, Ft. Myers.) Red Ladys are dwarf. Notice how low to the ground the fruit set is. Also, because they are dwarf they will set (good tasting) fruit sooner. The other reason is because they are self-fertile. When I grew the male/female types, I found that there was a high percentage of males in my seedlings, so some years I didn't get any fruit".

"I can't say that this is the best fruiting papaya for everyone in Central Florida, but it works quite well for me. That little plant had at least 24 medium to large fruits on it. I have 3 other Red Ladys. They only have about 8 or so fruits on them, but they ended up growing even larger".

Bagged fruit

"If you look carefully at the photo of the Red Lady, the new small fruits are not covered with paper bags. Those are knee-high nylon stockings folded in half. The reason for using the knee-high stockings in the very beginning is because the weight of the paper bag can snap off the fruit. When the stem gets strong enough then I put on the bag. The reason for folding the knee-high in half is because I witnessed a fruit fly getting through a single layer".

"The paper bags and newspapers are to prevent the fruit flies from laying their eggs inside the papaya when they are young. It doesn't aid ripening that's why I recently took the coverings off. Use newspapers when the fruits get too big for the lunch bags".

"In my area papaya plants are grown as an annual or annual that regenerates from being frozen back. I start my seeds around Labor Day and then keep them potted until mid-March. I plant them in my vegetable garden where the soil has been greatly improved. I plant them in purchased mushroom compost and some potting soil. I mulch them heavily with wood chips. They get watered from the sprinkler system for the garden. They are heavy feeders so I will use liquid fertilizers every few weeks. Of course, they like lots of sun. For winter protection I mound up wood chips on the base of the plant about 3 feet high. When all danger of a frost has past then I will remove it and prune off the dead parts. Then I will let the plant keep one or two branches".

Note: Christine lives in Central Florida. The cultivar 'Red Lady' grows well in South West Florida too. LR

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Christine. "How to Protect your Papaya Fruit from the Papaya Fruit Fly." 15 Nov. 2008. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.

Published 19 Apr. 2014 LR. Last update 31 Dec. 2014 LR
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