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The Plant Guide

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Carica papaya

The papaya is a herbaceous, fast-growing shrub that grows best in tropical and subtropical climates where it will flower continually, but it will perform in colder climates from high summer to early fall. It offers a striking sculptural presence to the landscape due to its lobed, 2-foot-across leaves and large, delicious fruit (sometimes reaching 20 pounds).

Noteworthy CharacteristicsPlants will die below 32°F. Large, edible fruit. Tropical-looking leaves. Short-lived, so it is best to always have some younger plants on hand.

CareBest fruit production comes in full sun, but will tolerate shade. Needs rich, well-drained soil. Provide mulch.

PropagationWash seeds well and sow immediately. Cover with soil and germinate in a warm, bright place. Watch for damping off. Water seedlings very well in the summer but less frequently in the winter. Repot frequently.


  • Genus : Carica
  • Zones : 10, 11
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Flower Color : White, Yellow
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