Pawpaw Varieties


I believe I have read that T buds don’t work on pawpaws.


Pawpaw are driving me crazy :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:! It started in 2011 on the old forum listening to folks talk about this fruit. I bought Mango and Pennsylvania golden. They sat in the yard sulking for a year, growing little. Year two had good growth and in the fall I could see round fruit buds on one of them. The people we entrust to maintain the yard murdered the one with flowers via weed wicker. They then took the severed trunk and stuck it in the ground 10feet from where it was originally planted. If they had owned up to the “accident” I may have been able to freeze it and graft it onto the other tree - because you know they wacked it below the graft union. Year three the rootstock pushed new growth and the other cultivar produced flower buds at the end of the season. PS the next spring I bought Susquehanna which promptly disappeared w months after planting.

You may wonder why I don’t know which is which but I don’t because either the gardeners or the kids - heck maybe the wind removed the tags. So I like others on this thread was desperate for pollen. I decided in year four to try self pollination. Only one flower seemed to take but then it disappeared. I looked all around the tree and could not find where it dropped. We also had critter problems, possums and raccoons so maybe they got it. Summer of 2015 I thought since the rootstock was now over 6 feet it had to push some flowers - not. Spring of 2016 I went to the NY Botanical garden to see the orchid orchid show which was incredible. It occurred to me to see if they had pawpaw and they did. Unfortunately they were past bloom already. In 2017 I thought I saw flower buds on the rootstock but no joy and in the fall of 2017 I saw 5 buds.

So I was very excited this spring as the buds on the cultivar swelled. I became concerned when the rootstock decided to sleep in and seemed 2weeks behind the cultivar even though they are only 10 feet apart. I panicked thought maybe the Brooklyn Botanical garden had some - and they did. A tree from 1934 that looked massive in a internet pic. I went there only to find that I couldn’t even see it because of construction. The garden was stunning it was their cherry blossom festival. I spoke to the only arborist I could find who said since pawpaw was a native species, they may have planted some in the native section. He was nice enough to call over and confirmed in fact there were. The guy in charge of the area got some for me, not much because they had limbed up the tree. I went home and pollinated the cultivar that had 50% of its blooms open 40%looked like they were about to start shedding pollen but the stigmas still looked viable. So I pollinated. So did my sister and mother and the kids - my family started avoiding me. So here is the result:

I know I’m certifiable at this point but I’ve seen on videos that even though they are this big, they can still fall off? Also, I’ve counted like 25 fruitlets on a seven foot tree. If by the grace of God they hold, how many can I safely leave on without freaking out the tree? Thanks for reading any part of this.


Yay! I hope they stay!


Congrats on getting your tree to fruit. Your nuttiness sounds like most of us on this site. Hope you feel belong here.

By the way, my two pawpaws, only one tree flowered two years in a row. It is the one that less than 3 ft tall. I don’t think it would be able to hold fruit anyway. My pawoaws grow ever slowly.


I know how you feel. My Sunflower had its first solid batch of flowers this year as well, and after some manual pollination I am also the proud owner of some very tiny fruitlet bunches. Here’s hoping we both see success!


Thanks! Hopefully!


Thanks mamma great. I do feel welcome just nowhere near as experienced. But I feel I’m getting better each year.


Fingers crossed!


Wabash coming along nicely.


That is really big already


Yeah they are and the first half of the flowers were killed by frost. Most of the fruit dropped shortly after petal fall even with a lot of hand pollination. Some are still dropping.



You are absolutely right about transplant difficulties. I’ve grown a bunch from seed in a root pruning container system. These containers create a very dense root system. For other trees, if I keep them until they fill 3 gallon Root Builder II containers and then plant them in the field, I’ve had 100% success. Not so with pawpaws. I grew the pawpaws in containers because young trees are photosensitive and too much sun can kill them but adult trees produce best in full sun. This allowed me to control sun exposure for the first two growing seasons. By year 3 they should stand full sun.

Well, I planted 23 of them at the farm early in the spring. They leafed out, but many lost their leaves during the first summer. Many were at least top killed last winter. I found the trunks just died back to the roots and fell off. This spring, the ones that survived leafed out and seem to be doing fine. Some that that were topkilled are producing new shoots from the roots.

A few that I started from seed were started later than other. A handful were too small to transplant do I overwintered them in my cold room and brought them out this spring. Here is a picture of them:

Note: we have had a lot of rain lately so they are a bit droopy.


My plans are to serially upsize my potted pawpaws to 25 gallon fabric pots. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve had too many losses due to my clay soil and brutal summers. I figure I will eventually have a 3-4 year old tree once it fills out these large pots.


I’ve got heavy clay soil as well. I certainly think going larger than 3 gal with the last in your series of root pruning containers is a good idea with pawpaws. I think the tradeoff becomes the ability to transport and plant the larger size containers. I would think 7 to 10 gal would increase the root ball mass significantly without making transport and planting unmanageable for me.

Don’t forget about the 4" rule. When a root is air-pruned by growing through the side of a fabric or other style root pruning container, most of the upstream branching occurs in the 4" before the prune. That is why the series of containers should allow for approximately 4" on all sides of the root ball from one container to another. Pawpaws are slow growers and by the time you hit a 25 gal size I would expect the tree to be quite large.

I started mine in 18s so the tap root was pruned at about 4". I then upsized to 1 gal RB2s for the first growing season and then to 3 gal RB2s for the second growing season. When I planted them the following spring, I did have some medium fall off when I unwrapped the container to plant it. This generally means that there was still plenty of room for root growth in the 3 gal container. I now believe it would take me 3 growing seasons to max out a 3 gal RB2. The few pawpaws I have left in containers pictured in the post above are starting their 3rd growing season. They were started in the spring verses the ones in the field that were started in the winter indoors. I plan to leave them in the 3 gal containers for this entire growing season.


I have no doubt there has been a lot of research on the root pruning and branching effects these types of pots cause. However, I imagine the media used in the pots can have a significant impact on root development. If air and moisture at the root zone can be maximized (not an easy task), then maximum root development (and perhaps branching?) will ensue. I do plan to gradually upsize, but I won’t be too concerned about the optimum size pot for each size up. I do appreciate the research done on these fantastic pots.


I’m growing in root pruning pouches from Amazon & Ebay. Once I see that the roots are coming thru the sides of the biodegradable pots, I’m going to sink them in-ground. I’m thinking this could be a great method not only for pawpaws, but also for all woody plants.

I really like the 14 cm x 16 cm bags for pawpaws and persimmons and other seeds of similar size/plant vigor. The 16 x 20’s are great for pecans in my opinion. Naturally, I’ll know more next year.



In my opinion, your letting your pawpaws get too big before transplanting. I grow from seed, directly in the pot, then plant in the ground that same fall. I use plain composted dirt as potting medium and don’t baby them during planting. Tap root is still intact and no losses the following spring. I also plant mine in the sun, no shade. I think the longer you let them grow in the pot, the harder it will be on them during transplant.

I’ve never used root pruning pots, so I don’t know anything about them.


I’ve tried many types of smaller sized potted pawpaw. I even tried direct seeding and bare root.
A few do make it past their first summer. I cannot comment on what works best in another’s climate and soil conditions. Putting a small 1-3 gallon tall root pruned pawpaw (or not root pruned) pawpaw (regardless of the tap roots condition) in my soil with my South Georgia sun beating down on it will ensure a miserable plant. Sure there are a few spots, like the east side of the house, that would work well with these smaller plants.

Time and time again I have seen the advantages of field planting larger trees. A larger plant equals larger reserves, which means the plant is more resistant to stress at the time of planting. A taller plant avoids many of the low crawling pests. I understand the STUN approach, but if I invested time and money into something I expect a near perfect success rate. Not all plants require this much planning, but I’ve learned what works best for me. I’ve planted a good bit of 15 and 30 gallon pecan. I am shocked at how well these trees have performed.



You absolutely correct, the media matters. It needs to have lots of voids for the roots to fill. I use Promix in my 18s for the first stage. To save on cost I mix it with pine bark nuggets and compost for larger containers. The root pruning containers along with a well drained medium work in tandem to produce that dense fibrous root system with many tiny terminal root tips.


I think one reason pawpaw often don’t make it past the first summer is that they are photosensitive when young.

Just one more note about root pruning and tap roots. Your comment on what works one place doesn’t always work elsewhere made me think of this. I get reliable and ample spring and fall rains although summers can be hot and dry. My clay soil does retain water even in dry summers. All of my trees are planted in the field with no after care. My primary purpose is for wildlife so I’m planting in volume and the trees need to stand on their own with little aftercare.

Root pruned trees have a very efficient root system but a root system can only access what it can reach. Since there is no tap root to go deep, if the top layer of soil dries out completely they can from lack of water. I would not recommend root pruning for trees in arid regions unless you can provide supplemental water. I think most on here are back yard orchardists who can do that, but in my case I can’t. Fortunately I have a climate where I can still use root pruned trees but I need to take special precautions when planting.

I use a tractor auger sized very close to the diameter of my Root Builder II container. For trees that don’t like wet feet (like chestnuts) I auger the whole very deep. The differences in water infiltration between the mix are vast. I could remove the mix before planting and use native clay but that disturbs the root system and the trees would have the same year of sleep, creep, and then leap that bare root trees suffer. Instead, I back fill the hole with something well drained and I pick a planting spot where ground water won’t drain into the hole. When we get heavy spring rain, any ponding occurs below the root system. Since I have not disturbed the root system, the trees begin growing almost immediately. This allows the lateral roots to grow into the clay before the hot summer dry spell hits. They can then get water from the native clay soil. I do use a hand rake to make sure the auger does not glaze the clay on the sides of the hole.

So you are absolutely right. What works in one place doesn’t always work elsewhere.