I’m looking for grafted paw paw varieties that would do well here in zone 9a, Florida panhandle. I have read they must be kept in shade for a few years. How long can they be kept in pots?
Hi Jamie! There are a few threads here that discuss growing pawpaws in Florida. Some of the information is more helpful and relevant than other bits. Long story short, if you have the right soil, I think it could be done.
I don’t recommend keeping them potted more than a couple of years, and make sure the pot is as deep as possible. My bench grafts are in 14" pots.
For varieties, you may want to read this recent thread "Starter" Pawpaw variety recommendations?
Florida has it’s own breed of pawpaw natural to it. You may find this interesting.
I would definitely go with " mango" pawpaw as it was found in Clifton, Georgia. Being in Florida they probably would do better with some shade. I would plant them in a spot that gets shade during the hottest part of the day say from 4:00 on. I have this exact setup in Kentucky and mine are thriving.
Everything will do well there.
I have never found them to need shade at all. I suspect they do grow faster in the shade because they are seeking more light, but they also produce far less in the shade because they don’t have enough light.
Depending on the size of your pot, 2-3 years should be the max. There is a myth that they have to be grown in deep pots because of their tap root but they don’t. You can use root pruning pots which will basically minimize growth of the tap root and they do just fine.
pick up a copy of ‘Pawpaws: The Complete Growing and Marketing Guide’ for a listing of many cultivars and their strengths/weaknesses. I got the kindle version on amazon. I found it very helpful when making my decision on cultivars.
i have never seen them in nurseries or in the wild here, but i thought about getting the seeds of A. obovata and A. parviflora from trade winds
All of their relatives are tropical. Seems like any pawpaw type should work there. I’d start with regular named varieties and if they strike out , then go to the FL kinds. Or both so not to lose time.
both species i mentioned are the wild types that grow in Florida, i just don’t know how they will taste…and having to wait a long time until it does fruit before i can taste it is the issue…
They may be different there, but here the wild pawpaw usually have a disgusting metal aftertaste. That’s why I suggested starting with the named varieties.
I’m about 100 miles north of the panhandle in Alabama. I’m growing Shenandoah, Susquehanna, and mango. All three are doing well and fruiting. I don’t think a grafted tree needs to be shaded to survive but mine seemed to grow better under a 40% shade cloth when young, but keep in mind I didn’t to a controlled experiment so I could be way off on that conclusion. Be sure to water them a lot, and fertilize regularly. I’m guessing you are on sand so it’s going to be very hard to over-water. I’d soak them deep twice a week and fert every two weeks each time giving a couple tbsp of high-N fert. I was using 30-0-0 ammonium sulfate with urea. Now that they are big, I don’t fert much. Just fruits and exotics in Tallahassee carries some FL varieties of pawpaw that would probably be worth a try at your location in addition to more well known varieties. Good luck.
I wouldn’t keep them in pots unless you have no choice. Would be tough to keep them moist.
I’m not saying they should be in complete shade but being in zone 9 probably soon to be zone 10 some shade during the hottest part of the day can be a good thing. None of my pawpaw’s are in full sun and they are growing like weeds they are bushy with fruit buds all over them.
They would probably like some shade during the hottest part of the day (most trees would) but they grow very fast in zone 9 in full sun. There was no sign that full sun gave them any problems at all except at temperatures near 110 when some leaves might get singed.
This tree got full sun all summer long from the day it was born. It never slowed down its growth-
yes, it’s all sand here near the coast. i will have to try that nursery again but they are usually out of stock. when i do get them maybe i should plant them on the east side so they just get morning sun, since the summer months here are brutal.
The California Central Valley is far hotter than any place in Florida and pawpaws have no problem in CA.
If you don’t let your trees get afternoon sun, they will just grow and produce much more slowly.