Growing pawpaws from seed - questions

Hello! I have long been a fan of pawpaws and I finally decided to order some seeds online to begin my very own little pawpaw patch. According to the seller (purchased via eBay), the seeds have been stratified and are ready to be planted, so I’ve already ordered some small 10-inch deep tree pots to plant them in. I am planning on keeping the seedlings potted over the next year or two, as I likely will be moving from my current location within this time span.

I am concerned that the prolonged time spent in the tree pots will negative affect root health. I’m worried they will become rootbound and that this will affect their viability once I am able to transplant them outside.

I’m also not sure where best to keep a potted seedling during the winter time. I’m located in Southeastern PA. According to a quick google search, I’m in zone 7a.

So my questions are:

  1. Will the seedlings be okay in tree pots for 1-2 years?

  2. Do I simply bring the seedlings indoors and continue to care for them? Should they be kept outside? Or in a shed or unheated garage?

As I’m sure some of you may be able to tell, I’m fairly new to this fruit tree stuff!



Hello and welcome to the forum. There’s a lot of good info in this thread. Also a lot of others if you search for pawpaw seedling in the search bar.

I have kept pawpaw trees that I started from seed in a 32 oz cup for about 1.5 years with no issues at all. In the summer I kept them outside in a tote to hold them upright/together under my apple trees, they like a lot of shade at this age. When they went dormant I dug a hole and buried the roots up to the top of the cup. I don’t know if it was necessary to bury the roots but I didn’t want them to freeze. Anyway it worked for me and I am in zone 6B

They should be ok in pots for that long. Is it ideal? Probably not, but you’ll be fine I suspect.

Once the trees lose their leaves in the fall, move them to a cool area, between 32 and 40 degrees if you can. Though the roots can tolerate short subfreezing temps, if exposed all winter they will probably die. (Burying the pots is a common practice as mentioned above.) An Unheated basement or a crawl space would be Ideal as they have some level of geothermal heat to keep temps constant.
A garage or shed likely gets too cold in your zone.

Water them well before storing them, and they probably will need no additional water over winter, believe it or not.


Over 90 percent of my 2019 pawpaw seedlings made it through the wwinter outdoors in 1 gallon pots…no protection. Some years the percent might be only 50 or 70…

But, they’ll recover from root bound situation…I kept some in one gallon pots 5 years or more, and they grew like crazy when I did finally find them a home.

It wwas a bit wwindy when I did weed killer spray last week, and a few of mine look a little curled.

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Ah didn’t see that. Thank you!

Hm I have an attached garage that may work for overwintering. Gets cold enough in the winter that I can see my own breath, but I don’t believe it gets down to freezing. Will try that when the time comes. Thank you!