Anyway to grow Papaya indoors?

Papaya grows like weed in Hawaii, Costa Rica, India, other warm places. I have managed to keep one alive in zone 9b (San Jose CA) for the last few years but no fruits.

I am wondering - Would it be possible to grow one indoors (the smaller Hawaiian variety )? I don’t want it as an ornamental tree. I only want it if it will produce plenty of fruit.

  • The house temps are maintained at 70
  • I can pollinate by hand and ensure I get a female/hermaphrodite tree
    Will grow lights be enough to replace the sun? Will this work or is this a bad idea?

If indoors is not an option - Is green house an alternative?

Thank you!

I’ve seen it first hand grown in greenhouses for more reliable control of fruit quality in tropical areas.

You probably need high side temps like 80ish with 70-80 RH. I’d expect this would be case with anything tropical though. Humid and warm would be key.

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We have one in a pot. We put it in our sun room in the winter. We have harvested one fruit so far and it has more fruit on it now. This is a picture I took last year.


I would say a greenhouse would be the way to go. Even up here in Wisconsin i’ve seen them growing in greenhouses and fruiting…same for bananas, citrus, etc…


I live in Central Alabama and have a starfruit, papaya and a mango all growing in large pots. They all produce well and actually too well. During the coldest days of winter, I roll the pots onto a covered back porch and set up heaters to keep them from freezing. The papaya and star fruit will lose most of the leaves but leafed out fine once again.

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I’m curious how tall is you mango tree? How much fruit have you gotten? And how big are your pots? I have attached a photo I took this morning of my Papaya tree.


Very nice looking papaya tree! How old is the tree?

It’s four years old. I got it as a TC plant from Wellspring.


@mvfd801, @snowdude WOW!!!
I would really appreciate some more details on your potted papaya.

  • What are the months when you keep the papaya in the sun room / back porch?
  • What is the temperature for your sun room / back porch?
  • Do you lose leaves when you bring it in for the winter?
  • Do you leave it outdoors day and night rest of the year or do you bring it in at nights?
  • How many years to bear fruit? Is it ripe/sweet? How many fruits do you get in a year from 1 potted papaya?

You may want to check out Logee’s catalog. It sells a lot of tropical. A reputable nursery.

Dwarf Papaya Red Lady (Carica papaya): 4: Pot: Logee's?


Thank you @mamuang
I grew Red Lady, Sunred, Rainbow and Strawberry Papaya from seed 2 summers ago. I started them in the summer and they all grew to 3-4 feet in height in a few months but died in the last 2 winters. I have 2 that have lived but no fruits/flowers yet.

Papaya is an OK fruit for me. They grow effortlessly in the tropic. Not on my list of favorite tropical fruit. In fact, I prefer eating shreded green papaya salad (spicy) to ripe papaya :smile:


I’m here in zone 6b. I keep it outdoors as long as the nights don’t go below 40 degrees, which means it’s usually out from the last of April through October. My sun room is usually around 70 degrees. It does lose a few leaves but as you can see it’s still got a fair amount. One winter we had it setting on a cold concrete floor and then it lost almost all of it’s leaves, but since we remedied that it hasn’t done bad. I do put two 60 watt led lights on it for a good portion of the winter. I bought this one exactly 4 years ago as a tiny tissue culture plant. We got our first fruit last year. As you can see it has two good sized fruits on it now and it has two smaller ones that are mostly hidden in the picture, so I expect to get four fruits this year. It did have several more fruits on it but we removed them because we were concerned that it wouldn’t be able to support them with our small pot. The taste was good but I have had better ones in the tropics. The variety I have is TR Hovey.


@mvfd801 - Thank you!

Even though there are plenty of better tasting fruits out there, Papaya somehow is one of my favorites. Love it cold in the summer with a squeeze of lime. Enjoy a good Som Tam as well :slight_smile: One variety I have never tasted is the Red Lady - do you think it tastes better than the Hawaiian types?

I’m growing 2 here in Bixby ok in pots. Started them from seed fall of '17. They grow super fast. I over wintered them in the greenhouse where I keep it above 55. They just sort of sat there. I just pulled them out a few weeks ago and they started growing again. I kept them moist but not wet all winter. I started a few more from seed last fall as backups but I don’t think I’ll need them. I need to put them in bigger pots already


@mksmth - wow looks amazing! Any fruits/flowers yet? What variety do you have?

I wonder if I can put it under a grow light in my garage during the winter (I have 4 months with < 40 nights here)? Garage is temp controlled 60-70 always but no sunlight. Saves me the cost of building a green house.

They were sold as “strawberry” papaya at a local grocery store. I tried to grow Solo last year but never got any seeds to grow. No flowers yet. It looked like it might last fall but didn’t. That temp is probably just fine. About what I run. Wouldn’t hurt you to try.

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i will measure them tomorrow and reply. I am at our place outside the city where we have our Orchard of everything that will grow in zone 8.

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The papaya is just leafing out again. The mango has lots of new fruit and the star fruit is about a week from blooming. I showed a closeup of the star fruit about to bloom.