Native pawpaw or other varieties

I have a 12" Shenandoah and Susquehanna that barely grew this year and I cant find a large tree other than native or seedling pawpaw. Do the native pawpaw taste good or should I just be patient with the Shenandoah and Susquehanna?

Patience is in short supply these days…but the grafts probably do fine in 5 years or so. Seedlings are all over…some 4 or 5 or more feet in 3 years, some still small as in 15 inches.

I’ve never tasted a pawpaw before, are the native seedlings good tasting? I just don’t want to wait around for these shenandoahs if there’s not much different in taste when I can go out and buy native 6 ft now

My Shenandoah is by far my most runty. I find them all to be relatively slow growing. But I’m not sure it’s cultivar related. I tend to believe it’s site specific. My Shenandoah was planted the same time as my Wabash. Both flowered last year but Wabash is more bushy and pushing 8 feet tall. My Shenandoah is about 4.5 feet tall and narrow topiary shaped. One night a couple years ago wind had lifted up one of my makeshift rabbit barriers and slammed it into Shenandoah almost uprooting it. Although I believe Shenandoah to be slower in general, that wind accident set it back significantly. It’s still trying to recover.

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There is a 20 acre stand of native paw paw not far from where I live. I find them to be very hit or miss. Usually miss.

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I don’t like a lot of things that other people do…I have no idea if you’ll like this fruit, if you’ve never tasted it. And some like one better than another.

Definitely not my favorite…but I am growing several seedlings.

It depends on where the seeds came from. Seeds from a good named variety are likely going to turn out to have good fruit, seeds from wild trees can be a real crapshoot. Most wild trees in my area give undesirable fruit that are small, seedy, and bitter. Some areas have trees that give all fairly good fruit though.

Pawpaws just require patience. No way around that. They usually do start off pretty slow their first year or 2 while the roots are getting established. Shenandoah and Susquehanna are fantastic varieties so just focus on treating them well and you will reap the rewards eventually. Mulch and fertilize them well and water regularly if the weather turns dry in the growing season.


The fact that I can’t find a lot of videos on native seedlings taste tells me they probably don’t taste nearly as good as the store-bought varieties. I guess if you found one in the woods you really liked I could see doing it however I don’t have any native ones around to try. I wouldn’t waste my time growing root stocks for their fruit so I guess I don’t see a reason to buy one of these at this time I’ll just be patient with the two I’ve got. I dug a large hole when I planted them but I really didn’t add anything to the soil I thought about digging them up when they go dormant and adding compost to the hole. All my other trees I did this to last spring flourished.

I would not dig them up again. They don’t handle root disturbance as well as other fruit trees, so that could set them back in growth. Just add the compost on top of the soil around the tree and put mulch on top. It will quickly break down and improve the soil. That’s what I always do, I don’t amend the hole when I plant(unless it’s full of rocks).


Hmmmm…if that reasoning is valid, then the six or so varieties of apples that walmart
are good varieties…
and the 8,000
other ones are all bad?

@figerama if you are interested in just tasting the fruit, check inaturalist for the patches closest to you and check them next year. If you want the most vigorous cultivars, I’ve heard reports of Chapell, Mango, Regulus, Sunflower, and Nyomi’s Delicious growing quickly. I’m sure others will too.


With not named varieties of any tree you are taking chances. That is why people buy grafted.

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Yeah, I agree I’m going to stick with the the grafted store-bought ones don’t want to waste time with a seedling just to find out it doesn’t taste good.

Just for fun I bury all of my avocado seeds near the wood line so far I’ve got 20 coming up I’m going to see how many make it through the winter just for fun, “life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you’re going to get”


Yeah, I need to start looking for fresh fruit believe it or not even though I live in Florida I’ve never tasted a persimmon although I planted three different kinds I guess I should have tasted one before I wasted time planting three trees. They never have them in the stores I go I guess I need to start hitting up farmers markets. I’m going to start looking for different fresh winter hardy avocados to try like Mexicola, Winter Mexican and Poncho.

Granted I don’t know a lot about root stocks but from what I’ve read most of them are used for their growing traits and not necessarily their taste like crabapple, native pear and in this instance native pawpaw and since they’re not grafted you don’t know what they taste like so I’m better off buying store-bought pawpaws trees that are grafted. A lot of store are selling seedling pawpaws and I was trying to find out if they all would taste the same but if their taste can different from seedling to seedling I don’t want to take the chance I rather have a grafted one. I don’t mind being patient for a better tasting pawpaw.

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I’m surrounded by wild pawpaw. Some of them are excellent, but most are not. Stick with the grafted named varieties. Grafted will get you fruit faster as well. Some seedlings have been known to take 10 years or more to fruit.

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An argument could be made for growing seedlings trees from quality parents. A seedling tree will live much longer than a grafted tree. If a graft fails or declines you are left with rootstock anyways. I think it’s a good idea to grow both of you have the space. I’ve hunted wild pawpaw for about five years and my experience has been that most taste really good and a few not so much. You never know what you are going to stumble on to in the wild I’ve even found fruits approaching 1 pound that are delicious. After all the genetics of the cultivars that we enjoy were once growing in the wild.

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Many of the pawpaw patches we think of as wild were originally planted and and maintained by native Americans.


Yes very true or planted from the guts of mastodons.

And I have one that is under 3 feet and has not fruited in 19 years…but the average if planted in good fertile soils is about 6 years.

Or, stated comparatively, as soon as an apple tree on M111 rootstock.

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