Article from the
Tropical Fruit News magazine of the Miami Rare Fruit Council
by Ed Self
Possible in Florida
triloba, or pawpaw is a very difficult plant to get
established in the
South. I have tried plants from just about every Northeastern nursery
that sold pawpaws for over five years, with the same results; they all
One reason is that most of these plants had very
poor-quality root systems. Usually the long taproot would be missing
altogether. I have found, from sprouting my own seed, that a six to
eight inch plant could have up to a two foot long taproot! Also, if
these plants did live the first season, they did not want to break
dormancy the second season. I finally got pawpaw trees established in
my yard by sprouting seed that I located in the Southeast.
trying to establish pawpaws, they need for the first two or three years
to be grown in the shade, or at least all afternoon shade. The first
couple of years after transplanting, the trees just seem to set there
without much active growth. Do not give up; usually, if they survive to
the third year, they start growing fairly rapidly. After about three
years, they seem to be able to take full sun.
transplant better when they are in active growth. Pawpaws respond well
to regular watering and being mulched with an organic material.
recommend to anyone in Florida who is interested in trying to grow
pawpaws, to try planting seeds first. Avoid low quality bareroot plants
from Northern nurseries. To get the best plants growing quickly, it is
best to plant the seeds in their permanent location. I usually plant
several seeds where I want a tree, and then remove all of the plants
but the very best one. Also, if enough people in Florida will plant
pawpaw seeds, we should be able to come up with some very good
cultivars fro the Deep South. I have had very good luck growing both
Southern and Northern seeds. It seems that if you plant enough seeds, a
few of them will adapt to the Florida climate.
I am sure that a
few people have had different experiences growing pawpaws but this is
what has worked for me. This year I had lots of blooms and fruit.
Anyone who wants to contact me about pawpaws is invited to do so.
Pawpaw Seeds and Growing Trees
1. Store seeds in the refrigerator in slightly damp peat moss or
similar material until April or early May.
Check stored seed often for mold. If they are too damp, they will mold
and rot. If mold does occur, just clean seed and replace peat moss with
fresh. Moisten slightly and return to storage.
Soak seeds for 20 minutes in full strength hydrogen peroxide. Then soak
in 50 water/50 hydrogen peroxide for 24 to 72 hours before planting.
Plant seeds in deep pots or plant in the permanent location which gives
best results. Mulch planted seed with oak leaves or pine straw. seeds
usually do not start sprouting until June or July.
3. Young pawpaw
seedlings do not tolerate full sun. They need at least afternoon, if
not all day shade for the first two years. Pawpaw trees normally occur
as understory trees in the wild. They grow very well in medium to heavy
4. Once the seedlings start growing, they need regular
watering for best growth. Also, lightly fertilize with 8-8-8 or a
This is what works for me
I know there are always exceptions.