Papaya | Growing & fertilizers tips

papaya
Water color painting of Papaya tree.

Papaya is the fruit of the Carica papaya plant. It originated in Central America and Southern Mexico but is now grown in many other parts of the world. There are approximately 22 accepted species in this Carica family. 

Introduction to Papaya

Come summer and one of the fruits that come to mind to rescue our soul from blistering heat is Papaya. 

Papaya originated in the tropics of Central America probably Mexico. This suggests that they are tropical plants and love warm climate. 

Papaya trees come in 3 sexes male, female and hermaphrodite. As the name suggests male trees bear only male flowers and female ones female flowers they need pollination insects to pollinate the female flowers. But for hermaphrodites, they contain both male and female parts in the same flower and can self pollinate, kind of stand alone trees. Almost all the commercially grown papaya are hermaphrodites.

Commercially grown Papayas can be differentiated in two kind i.e papayas with red skin and the ones with yellow skin.

Soil, climate, watering and soil pH requirements for Papaya

Now we know that where Papaya originated. This knowledge helps us to understand the growing needs for Papaya trees. 

Papaya does well in any soil as long as it is well draining most sandyloamy, and rocky soils help to support the health of the plant’s root system, and are recommended for optimum papaya tree growing. Conversely, salty soils are not well-tolerated.

Although, Papaya does not tolerate standing water, but they should not also be subjected to drought like conditions as it may place them in unnecessary stress affecting the well being of the plant. 

Papaya is a warm weather plant and thrives when the temperature is above 16 Degree Celsius. They appreciate full sun.

Soil pH for optimum growth should be in the range of 5.5 to 6.5.

Growing Papaya from seeds

Papaya Seedling

When you cut open a ripe Papaya fruit the first thing you will notice is lots and lots of black oval seeds. They are viable and can be safely used to grow Papaya. Papaya is a fairly fast growing tree and can bear fruits with in 12 months.

To grow Papaya from Seeds follow simple steps;

  • Check the temperature of your area, if it is above 16 degree Celsius they will do just fine.
  • Soil pH needs to be optimum i.e between 5.5 to 6.5, but in case the general soil pH of your area is above this mark it should be less than 7.5. Papaya can tolerate pH upto 7.5 and in some cases up to 8. But do not sow if it is more  than this range.
  • Sow the seeds in ground or grow bags which ever way you feel comfortable. Seeds need to be sowed 1.25 Inches deep and if the seeds are sown in ground they need to be spaced at least 5 inches apart to allow proper growing space for each seedling.
  • Once the seedlings are 1-1.5 feet high they should be transplanted  
  • Choose a location that receives full sunshine, they love full sunshine.

Growth stages and fertilizer needs

Nutrition needs of plants vary with their growth stages. This concept synchronizes with human needs of nutrition as we age. 

Growth stages of any plant can be divided into 3 main stages (of course with some variations for different plant species) . They are;

Stage-1;  Starts with sowing of seeds till they are mature enough for transplantation. In this stage mild fertilizers are recommended like vermicompost, compost.

Stage-2; Transplantation. This stage needs application of minerals bearing phosphorus while preparing the plantation pit. Once the plant is planted and is stabilized after 15-20 days fertilizers rich in Nitrogen but also bearing considerable amounts of phosphorus, Potassium and other nutrients can be applied starting with small doses like 25 to 30 grams  initially, increasing as the plant grows, interval between two application should be of 30 days. This Stage continues till the tree is mature to bear flowers i.e approximately 8-9 months old.

Stage-3; Starts when the plant/tree is ready for flowering and fruiting. To initiate Flowering and fruiting fertilizer with moderate Nitrogen and but comparatively higher in other nutrients is a good deal. Potassium is helpful in triggering flowering and also helps in fruit retention and filling.

Ecotika's organic range of fertilizers to help in Papaya growth

Rock Phosphate

Phosphorite, phosphate rock or rock phosphate is a non-detrital sedimentary rock which contains high amounts of phosphate minerals is one of the allowed components of organic fertilizer regime. The phosphate content of phosphorite varies greatly, from 4% to 30% phosphorus pentoxide. Marketed phosphate rock is enriched to at least 30%, often more than 30% P₂O₅.  Phosphorus is vital for the development of Good roots, flowers and fruits. Rock phosphate is used when preparing beds for plants or during repoting of plants.

Rock Phosphate is applied while preparing the transplantation pit.

Young Adults

Young adults is a second stage growth fertilizer containing vital primary, secondary and assured supply of micro-nutrients to cater the needs of growing plants and helps them to develop healthy leaves and branches and prepares them for flowering and fruiting. This is a Slow to moderate release fertilizer. This product is meant for use as seed starter mix and is also suitable for plants with low potassium and relatively higher Nitrogen and Phosphorus ratios like rose, Mogra, Chrysanthemum, Brinjal and fruiting plants alike.

Organic Castor Seed Meal | Traditional Fertilizer | Natural pest repellent

Castor Seed meal is Nitrogen rich fertilizer with typical NPK ratio at 4-1-1. Castor seed meal can be used when you want to maintain the pH of the soil. This is a dense source of Nitrogen and can supply 12 times more nitrogen as compared to Cow dung of similar quantity. Good source of food for soil bacteria, Earth worms, etc. Castor seed meal can be combined with other fertilizers to make a custom mix. An Ideal Stage 2 fertilizer

Castor Clay | Sampoorna series | Complete nutrition | Pathogen free

Castor-Clay is a member of Sampoorna series of dual use fertilizer blends that have been based on Oil seed meal fortified with various exotic natural minerals for a holistic approach to plant nutrition. This blend is moderate in Nitrogen but contains abundance in other vital nutrients. Can be safely used for Stage 3 of plant development. To cater to maintaining and promoting soil health, this blend for the first time incorporates a special blend of Montmorillonite clays. They, Boost water holding capacity, increase CEC and thus increase nutrient holding capacity, harbor vital soil bacteria and Fungi that ensures living soil.

Further reading