When do Pawpaws begin to grow?

This was my first year to try to germinate and grow pawpaws from seed. So naturally I watched several informative videos about the bes5 way to pre-germinate them in order to gain the most growth in the first growing season. True to form I used the technique of placing the seed in damp spagnum moss in the refrigerator and with only a few weeks of cold stratification to mimic winter, I placed my seed bags in a room temperature location where I could observe the roots beginning to pop out. I probably had about 70% germinating by springtime, so I decided then to plant them in growing bags outdoors on 5/14/22. With so many already set to grow I fully expected to see them growing thur the soil surface at anytime. Then came the long summer drought, so day after day I went out to water them and check for slugs ready to consume the youngsters! This went on for weeks! I began to doubt that I would see any actually grow. But I kept watering them. Finally this week about 8 weeks after planting them I noticed seed heads poking upward thru the soil.
So I post this article for any newbie to pawpaws. What now makes sense is that these seeds have evolved with an inbuilt temperature gauge that tells them when to grow. The pre-germinated seeds had taproots extending an inch or so from the seed, but when planted they did absolutely nothing until the climatic conditions that matched their needs was met. So I went back 9 days in my weather calendar and recorded the following data for my location:

When did my pawpaw seed actually begin to grow?
High Temp. Low Temp. Avg Temp
7/20 84. 60. 78.4
7/21. 80. 58. 68
7/22. 72. 58. 62.9
7/23. 72. 57. 62.1
7/24. 83. 56. 69.6
7/25. 86. 63. 75.7
7/26. 93. 66 80.04
7/27. 90. 61. 75.3
7/28. 93. 61 73.68

Had I known that it takes such heat to stimulate growth, I would have started them in my greenhouse, or kept them indoors to escape our cold springtime nights. Now you know if you decide to grow pawpaws from seed.
Good luck
Kent, wa


It just takes a long time for them to show visible growth in the early stages. Greenhouse and extra heat will not cause them to grow all that much quicker.

You will find they already have tons of taproot growth.

Once pawpaws get around 5 years or so old they grow vigorously especially when given lots of water. I think mine already grew over a foot and a half in each direction.

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Good to know

I start mine in pots indoors at room temperature which for me can be anywhere from 55 to 65 degrees late February after 3 months of chilling in refrigerator. When it warms up they go outside they Pop up around late June. I then plant them the next year or two in spring.

I have had seed pop up above the soil in October, only to be nailed a couple of weeks later by frost. No worries. They came back fine the next spring. And what you say about temperature and (implicitly) moisture requirements matches my experience and what I have read about them.

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They can also decide to wait a year or two before germinating.

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I have that impression as well, thanks for your comment as it serves to keep my patience to just let nature work!