Carica papaya, or as people normally call it, the papaya plant is a tropical fruit plant that originated in South America and Mexico. However, it is now grown in every part of the world. Papaya is an exotic fruit that possesses a lot of health benefits. If you know how to grow a papaya plant, it can be grown very quickly. The papaya plant is a top pick among numerous gardeners. If you are also someone with interest in growing papayas and are wondering how big do papaya trees get, you are at the right place. Continue reading to find out the answers to all your questions related to growing Papaya.
How Tall Can Papaya Trees Grow?
Getting straight to the point, the size of Papaya differs based on the conditions it is grown in and the amount of care and attention it is given. On average, the height of a papaya tree is somewhere between 8-15 feet tall. However, the trees which receive the suitable climate and maintenance can also go up to 30 feet in height.
Papaya plant thrives in tropical and subtropical areas, but if you are someone who lives in coastal areas, you can still grow Papaya by providing it good supervision.
It is often observed that papayas are grown in partial sunshine, locations that are windy or drought-prone regions are stunted. Their growth becomes hindered by the conditions not suitable for it.
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Suitable Climatic Conditions for Growing Papaya
- Tropical or Equatorial regions
- Sub-tropical regions
- Access to sunlight
- Kept away from moisture
A papaya plant, also called pawpaw, grows satisfactorily in subtropical or tropical regions. Papaya plants need good exposure to sunlight. They prosper in warmer temperatures. The presence of moisture can negatively impact your papaya fruit plant’s health. Therefore, always make sure to plant your herb in an area that receives sunlight in abundance and is not moist.
Fertilization Required for Growing Papaya
- Regular fertilization required
- Frequently add compost
- Soil high in organic content
The papaya plant grows at a great pace. When provided the right climatic conditions, you can expect fruit from your plant within 6-12 months of planting it. It is important to note that the young papaya plants are more productive, and as the plant ages, its productivity falls down.
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Before planting a papaya fruit plant:
- Take out a small quantity of soil from the land where you want to grow your plant.
- Check if the soil has all the necessary contents required for the healthy growth of the plant.
- If you notice any deficiencies in the soil, add fertilizers to make up for the shortcomings.
- Or you can also re-think about the location where you want to have your plant.
A papaya fruit plant needs regular fertilization to grow. Also, add compost to the soil regularly. Sandy soil is considered suitable for growing Papaya, but since these soils can’t hold water, the plant will require frequent watering. Similarly, clayey soils are capable of holding water for long durations. Thus you need to be careful with watering your plants, as the chances of overwatering your plant are high.
If the soil has a lot of moisture, the roots of the plant get rotten. So keep a regular check on the moisture level of the soil.
Water Requirements of the Papaya Fruit Plant
- Regular watering
- Avoid overwatering
Papaya plant grows up to the height of 30 feet and possibly because of their huge size, people confuse them with being trees. Although, in reality, Papaya is not a tree, it is a very tall, fast-growing herb. It is important to note that the growth of the Papaya can be hampered if you do not water it appropriately.
The papaya plant has large leaves, and the stem of the plant is also soft. The plant evaporates great amounts of water during the daytime. Hence, the water requirement of the papaya plant is above average.
If your plant is grown in sandy soil, the requirement for water will be more. Sandy soils cannot hold water for long durations, and hence, a continuous supply of water needs to be ensured to avoid drying of your plant.
If your papaya fruit plant is grown in clayey soil, you need to avoid over-watering your plant. Clayey soils can clench water for longer durations, and hence you should not go over water your plant.
Moreover, since papaya plants are usually grown in areas receiving adequate sunlight, the plant’s requirement for water is bound to be high.
However, one vital point to mention here is that the papaya plant cannot withstand wet conditions. Thus you must ensure proper drainage facilities in the area where your plant is grown. The overwatering or extra moisture can cause root rot, and hence it is advisable to have a good drainage system in place to ensure the healthy growth of your plant.
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Pollination of Papaya Fruit Plant
There are three types of papaya fruit plants-
- Male papaya fruit plants
- Female papaya fruit plants
- Bisexual papaya fruit plants
Only the female and bisexual papaya fruit plants carry fruits. Males do not carry fruits. While the bisexual plant does not require any external agent for pollination, the female papaya plant pollinates through the transfer of particles through wind or by carrying agents such as butterflies.
If you are planting a papaya plant in your garden, make sure you plant more than just one plant. If one of the females, it would only carry fruits if the other one is a male plant or a bisexual plant.
Once the fruits develop, make sure you give extra attention to the plant as its nutrient requirements would shoot up. If proper attention is not given, the whole plant will dry out, and thus you won’t be able to enjoy the papaya fruits from your garden. To avoid such disappointments, make sure that you pay more attention to your plant once it has pollinated.
Life Span of a Papaya Fruit Plant
The life span of the Carica papaya or papaya fruit plant varies depending upon the conditions in which it is grown. For example, the papaya plants grown in tropical or subtropical regions have a longer life span as compared to those grown in coastal areas.
Similarly, the papaya plants grown in drought-prone areas die early as compared to those plants which receive regular watering.
Usually, papaya fruit plants are short-lived. They can start drying out as early as their 2nd or 3rd year of plantation and can also stay in good health for as long as 7-8 years. Although these are not absolute figures, some papaya fruit plants can also stay healthy for more than 10-15 years. However, it must also be noted that once the plants reach a mature age, they become more susceptible to diseases and damages.
With proper care and favorable climatic conditions, you can enjoy papaya fruits from your plant for longer durations. However, if you live in an area that gets hit by strong winds, the plant cannot survive. Strong winds are extremely adverse for papaya fruit plants because the stem or trunk of the plant is soft and delicate. Strong winds can severely damage your plant and can also lead to its breakage from the top.
The life span of the papaya plant is also affected by several other factors such as the amount of exposure to the sun, how well the plant is watered, does the area where it is planted has a proper drainage facility, and so on.
Adverse conditions can affect your plant’s health significantly. Let us have a look at a list of the conditions that you need to avoid.
While it is crucial for you to water your papaya fruit plant at regular intervals, the water requirements of the plant are high. It is equally important to ensure that you do not over-water your plant.
Overwatering can cause the roots of the papaya fruit plant to rot, and thus it will affect the overall health of your plant substantially.
Do not overwater your plant, and at the same time, do not let it stay without water for too long hours. Learn to make a balance between the two.
#2 Irregular Fertilization
Adding fertilizers to the soil ensures that your plant receives the necessary nutrients for it to survive. Nutrients are crucial for the growth of your plant. Lack of proper nutrients can cause deficiencies in the plant. Such deficiencies could impact your plant negatively and can also lead to the plant’s death.
Make sure that you add fertilizers to the soil regularly. Papaya plants need lots of nutrients and food to stay healthy. The younger plants require more food and nutrients as compared to the older ones.
Add fertilizers once every 14 days when the plant is young. After it reaches a certain age, you should add fertilizers after every 30 days.
Moreover, also make sure that you add compost regularly to the soil. Compost is good for the papaya fruit plant’s health.
#3 Lack of Sunlight
Exposure to sunlight is vital for the growth of the papaya fruit plant. The plant is tropical in nature and requires access to direct sunlight to be able to grow.
If you live in an area that does not receive sunlight in abundance, the health of your plant will be negatively impacted. It is also often noticed that the papaya plants grown in such areas remain stunted.
Exposure to sunlight is also detrimental to the survival of your plant. So make sure that the place where you decide to grow your plant has good exposure to sunlight.
#4 Natural Calamities
Natural calamities such as floods or droughts degrade the health of the papaya fruit plant. As we discussed earlier, the papaya plant requires water in the right amount to be able to grow, the lack of water could lead to the drying out of the plant, and an excess supply of the same could lead to rotting of the roots.
There is nothing you can do to avoid natural catastrophes. They are bound to occur at nature’s whim. If you live in areas that are prone to droughts or floods, you can be sure that your plant will not remain healthy for a long time.
Papaya is an exotic fruit laced with many health benefits. The fruit is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C and is also known for improving the digestive system of the people who consume it. Papaya also strengthens the immune system of the consumer. With such great health benefits, it is a great choice for gardeners to grow. The plant is simple to grow, and if you know the requirements of the plant, you will not have much difficulty in growing it, even if you are just a beginners in the field of gardening.