I work on a property in Brisbane and was wondering if you could give me any tips on how to grow papaya from seeds. I’ve got a heap of seeds drying out at the moment and have been looking for info on how to go about germinating them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Answer: If you have harvested the seeds, then I will assume you have washed and cleaned the outer coating from the ripe seeds, the darker ones. The drying process should take place in a cool place. Dusting the seeds with a fungicide is recommended, as is planting the seeds as soon as they have dried. Papaya seedlings do not transplant well; it is best to start with a large container so that you will only need to transplant once. Of course, you could just start them outside in the bed to completely avoid the stress of transplanting. Papaya seeds, unfortunately, are also prone to â€˜damping off'; using a light, sterile planting mix is highly recommended. The seeds will take about fourteen days to germinate, so be patient.
As the seedlings develop, remove the weaker ones. Once they begin to flower, you will want to remove the majority of the male plants, just leaving a few to pollinate the flowers on the female plants. How do you tell the difference between male and female? The male plants will flower earlier than the females and you can thin them as they bloom, always keeping the strongest. Their flowers will have long, thin stalks with several smallish blooms, while the female blooms are singular, larger, and closer to the trunk of the tree. One male plant can pollinate approximately fifteen plants.
I hope this helps and that you have a bountiful crop of tasty papayas.