Biannual papaya

Do any of you have experience growing papaya as a biannual, or with overwintering papaya in general?

My growing season isn’t quite long or hot enough to fruit papaya in one year, best I can tell, and even if I did they’d of ripen a few fruits in the fall, not ideal for good brix or flavor. I’m going to be starting some dwarf varieties during the summer, letting them put on some size, keep them indoors over the winter, and then set them out in ground to finish growing and fruit next summer. I doubt I’d be able to bring them indoors after that since they’ll be pretty big even if kept in pots, but I am hoping I’ll get enough off of them to make the care worthwhile.

I’m using Waimanalo, since they’re pretty short and supposed to be very sweet.

Thoughts, recommendations?

I grow a bunch of fruits in containers as you describe, though never papaya. I’ve been tempted but figure it’s probably not very well adapted to staying dormant for 5 months of the year. Maybe though. I’ve had great luck with Tamarillo, though, which i didn’t expect to do all that well. I’ve had the same one going for 8 or 9 years and it makes a couple quarts of fruit every year. I figure papaya is after warm temps and bright light though, and until I build a heated attached greenhouse with some lights, I’ll probably stick to subtropicals.

ECHO in Ft. Myers sells seeds of a dwarf papaya. And Logee’s in CT sells plants, fyi

Good luck though and let us know if you have success!

They set fruit in the North American fall and (attempt to) ripen in April.

That very trait has been the downfall of some of my other attempts. Loquat, for example, seemed very adaptable to pot culture. I raised seedlings and grafted a couple of cultivars to them. But every year they’d flower in December and make tiny little fruits that were (sort of) ripe about the time I’d set them out again in May. I wound up tossing them, and learned to pay more attention to flowering time.

1 Like