How to Grow Papayas – A Beginner’s Guide

papayas plant growing in garden
Papayas, which are known botanically as Carica papaya, are a type of fruit that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing papayas as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Papayas

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the papaya seeds plant papaya seeds anytime. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when papayas are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Papayas the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing papayas in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your papayas grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 5.5 to 7.0.

15-20 feet apart in rows 15-20 feet apart. 8-10 feet apart in rows 8-10 feet apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 24-36″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your papaya seedlings plant papayas at least 8-10 feet apart.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Papayas

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your papayas. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your papayas should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Papayas

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your papayas do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your papayas begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Papayas to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your papayas grow.

It takes approximately 14-21 days to germinate, and a total of 9-12 months for fruit production from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Papayas

The best time to harvest your papayas is when papayas are fully colored, slightly soft to the touch, and have a sweet aroma.

Papayas can grow up to about varies by variety, typically 6-18″ length fruit.

What Can Papayas Be Used For?

Food Use: great for snacking, smoothies, and cooking.

Flavor Profile: varies by variety, from sweet to mild and juicy to firm.

Can Papayas Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you can plant dwarf varieties in 24-36″ containers. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your papayas around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Papayas Safe for Bees?

Yes, papayas are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing papayas is bee-friendly.

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