Paw paws from seeds

I have some pawpaw seeds I put in the fridge last fall. They are not in damp paper towel , just dry. Should I move them to damp paper towel? I want to plant a few out this spring. I have a large area around my mature walnut that nothing much grows . Can a pawpaw survive under a walnut

1 Like

Yes they can here is a list of what all can survive around walnut trees

Trees Tolerant to Juglone

  • Most maples except silver maple (Acer spp)
  • Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra)
  • Goldenrain Tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
  • Serviceberry, Shadblow (Amelanchier)
  • Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)
  • Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera)
  • River Birch (Betula nigra)
  • Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
  • Hickory (Carya spp)
  • Virginia Pine (Pinus virginiana)
  • Catalpa (Catalpa bignoniodes)
  • Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
  • Fringetree (Chionanthus spp.)
  • Callery Pear (Pyrus calleryana)
  • Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)
  • Oak species (Quercus spp)
  • Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)
  • Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
  • Hawthorne (Crataegus spp)
  • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)
  • Persimmon (Diosypros virginiana)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • American Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
  • Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)
  • White Ash (Fraxinus americana)
  • Canada Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis)
  • Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
  • American Elm (Ulmus americana)
  • Carolina Silverbell (Halesia caroliniana)
  • Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

Thank you, this is very helpful.

1 Like

your seeds will need cold moist stratification to germinate. 90 days is what most people recommend. That will set you back until the end of May.
How many seeds where you planning on planting out I have a few seeds already stratified I can send you with the seed parent listed.

1 Like

Well I was wrong, when I checked my fridge the pawpaw seeds were in a damp paper towel in a zip lock. Sometimes I lose track in my mind of what I am storing and what I am trying to sprout. They looked plump but nothing sprouting yet. I put them in a fresh damp paper towel and put them back. Will they sprout in the fridge like a stone fruit seed?

I’ve only had them sprout with warmth. I’ve had some that stay in moist peatmoss for 2 years and never sprouted in the fridge. Some did rot but after I noticed the white/purple mold I tossed out the bad ones and cleaned up the rest. Once spring came around I planted the whole bag in one 25 gallon pot. it was maybe 50 seeds left and low in behold about 30 something pawpaws came up. They seem to stay good for a fairly long while even in cold moist stratification but don’t sprout.
Come to think about it persimmons are the same way. I’ve personally only had elaeagnus, prunus, malus, Juglans, and ribes sprout in the fridge.


Thank you again ,

No…and they won’t sprout for weeks…you may even give up on them…after you plant them outside.


Should I try and put them in a peat pot now and try and get them to sprout? What about the persimmons? The same treatment?

Yes, I would plant now,
They send down a root fist, then it takes awhile for the shoot.
I keep them inside where warm this time of year to get them going.
If planted outside , cool soil ,often they don’t come up till mid summer


Ok , I can put them in a pot and bottom heat it, sounds like a project for next weekend, thanks for the advice

1 Like

Not sure about the bottom heat ?
But mine are at warm room
I soak good for a day ,when I take them out of the refridge

1 Like

Ok, persimmons too?

Not sure exactly ? When is best for persimmon , maybe a little later. .?
What I do know is that pawpaw are slow, and they don’t need much light when they sprout. So they don’t need your sunnyest spot .
The earlier I get them started the bigger they get in year one.
Often twice the growth as ones started later

And yes pawpaw and walnut do very good together


I’ve never used bottom heat on either. We start persimmon is full sun in spring pawpaw’s in shade in spring. All in big pots so they don’t have to be transplanted until dormant but we have a longer growing season then you do.


I’ve used bottom heat when growing Pawpaw from seed and it does speed up the process.Treepots and 2 liter plastic drink bottles with their tops cut off were used,with peat and perlite and the containers put in a plastic tub with a heat
This excerpt is from the KSU website.
Seed Propagation

Pawpaw seed is slow to germinate, but it is not difficult to grow seedlings if certain procedures are followed. Do not allow the seed to freeze or dry out , because this can destroy the immature, dormant embryo. If seeds are dried for 3 days at room temperature, the germination percentage can drop to less than 20%. To break dormancy, the seed must receive a period of cold, moist stratification for 70-100 days. This may be accomplished by sowing the seed late in the fall and letting it overwinter; the seed will germinate the following year in late July to late August. Another way is to stratify the seed in the refrigerator (32o- 40o F/0o- 4o C). In this case the cleaned seed should be stored in a plastic ziplock bag with a little moist sphagnum moss to keep the seed moist and suppress fungal and bacterial growth. After stratification the seed should be sown 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep in a well-aerated soil mix, pH 5.5-7, with an optimum temperature of 75o- 85oF (24o- 29o C). Use tall containers, such as tree pots (ht. 14"-18"/35-45 cm) or root trainers (ht. 10"/25 cm), to accommodate the long taproot. The seed will normally germinate in 2-3 weeks, and the shoot will emerge in about 2 months. Germination is hypogeal: the shoot emerges without any cotyledons. For the first two years, growth is slow as the root system establishes itself, but thereafter it accelerates. Trees normally begin to bear fruit when the saplings reach 6 feet, which usually requires five to eight years.


You can make pots easily too. House wrap from a construction site works well. I stapled it into a cylinder and filled with potting soil and sand. First I made big boxes out of wood and filled them a couple inches with soil then stood up all the cylinders. I also cut pvc pipe and used those too. I think I cut them 12" long x 4" in dia. I planted my seeds and watered them in the garage for a month then moved to my greenhouse when it warmed up more. I think it took two months for the seeds to sprout but every single one came up. One thing I noticed too was some the first leaves striped off while coming up. They just kept growing and new leaves grew out. That surprised me. I was glad I left them go. I grew 32 trees in two boxes. The pvc I just ran a circular saw down each side and then planted out a year later. I lost four so far. I even cut some with the lawn mower by accident and they sprouted back up!


I saw for the first time too last year that pawpaw seeds that lost their 1st set of true leaves an in inch-1.5" seedling eventually grew new leaves. While working with them trying to remove the seed from the leaves I ripped off the tops of three. All three came back. That’s another thing those seed shells staying on for too long and trying to remove them… even if done carefully.

I think some never do drop the seed and you finally have to remove it anyways after a shoot goes above it. I don’t know I’ve only grown them for 3-4 years.



I know they are an amazing sprout. It must be because of how long that tap root is.
If you make pots from plastic or tar paper double over the edges and let them lap a couple inches to hold the dirt in.