Propagating Papayas

I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’d never had a papaya before coming to Hawaii.  I didn’t know what they tasted like fresh or that they are full of hundreds of seeds that are easy to turn into starter plants.  After trying to plant starters that other people gave me, and finally believing that they don’t like to be transplanted, I decided to start from scratch.

Below is my attempt to propagate papayas.  I went with an organic strawberry papaya from Kumu Farms on the island of Molokai.  Most papayas here are genetically altered, but these are labeled as GMO free and easy to find around Oahu.

I like to peel the skin off, but you could certainly just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, then scoop out the fruit.

Papayas can have anywhere between 100-500 seeds.  Gently scrape them out with a spoon into a reserve dish.

At this point, you can either plant the seeds as they are (many compost piles have shown me how successful this can be), or go to a little more effort and remove the seeds from their jelly-like sacks and dry them.  Since I was coming off the sadness of my transplanted starts dying, I decided to remove the sacks and hope for greater success.

“Slippery little suckers.” -Vivian (PW)

Once free, you’ll see the seeds are actually quite rough.

Soak them in water, dry them in the sun, then plant where you’d like a papaya tree to be.  I planted these, and ended up with three strong starters.

My keiki papayas with Flapjack in the background.

And about four months later, they are a little over three feet and growing fast.  Not too much longer now.


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