Tips on Papaya Tree Care

If you’re lucky enough to live in a tropical or sub-tropical climate, then growing Papaya (Carica papaya) is a great way to have fresh exotic fruit from your own backyard. Although papaya trees don’t require much care, knowing a few tips on papaya maintenance will keep your plants healthy and bursting with fresh fruit.


Protect Papayas from the Cold

Short cold snaps of 33°F (.55°C) to 34°F (1.1°C) shouldn’t harm your papayas, but if the temperature stays low for an extended time, it will cause foliage and flower damage. Papaya leaves, especially the tips are very susceptible to frost. The stems are also cold sensitive but don’t usually have frost damage.

During chilly weather, take care not to flood the area around the tree base because the soil will stay soggy. This can cause root rot, which will kill the tree before it has time to dry out.

If you know your area is about to experience extended cold, follow these steps to keep your papaya warm:

  • Wrap your papaya plant with blankets or burlap.
  • If you expect a prolonged frost, place a 25-watt light bulb under the cover, keeping it several inches away from the stem.
  • For trees over 13 feet tall, put a 100-watt bulb or infrared light under the foliage canopy without a cover.
  • Remember; never put an electric cord or bulb out in rainy weather.

Even if all the foliage dies during a frost, the roots usually survive. This causes the papaya plant to form branches that can bear fruit.

Watering Papaya Plants

Water your papayas frequently during the hot weather. The drainage is the best during the summer months when the soil is at least 70°F (21.1°C). As previously mentioned, during cool weather when the soil remains cold and damp for more than a couple of days, your papayas will get root rot for sure.

When temperatures are from 40°F (4.4°C) to 60°F (15.5°C), your papayas grows very slowly. When this happens, water slightly and only when the soil completely dries out, using a drip line.

If you have temperatures above 90°F (32.2°C), make sure you water your papayas often. Ensure that the water drains deeply into the soil.