Growing Papaya Indoors
When growing papaya indoors a high light environment must be provided. If you have a wall of south-facing windows, a Florida room, or a greenhouse then you already have the perfect place to grow papaya.
If not, you will need to install special grow lights in order to give the plant the light and heat it needs to sweeten a crop. Just setting the pot in front of a sunny window will probably not do the trick.
I experimented with how to grow papaya indoors last winter. I have a potted plant which lives outdoors spring through fall. I brought it in before frost.
I placed it in my kitchen and used the large fluorescent ceiling fixture to provide supplemental light.
Granted, my kitchen window faces north not south, but a
vanda orchid (another high light plant) hung in that window all winter without complaint.I kept the ceiling fan on low in order to keep air circulating. The temperature was maintained between 67 and 70 degrees F.
The result: a poorly growing papaya with white fly.
I wasn't going to spray insecticide inside my house, so the white fly didn't go away until the papaya went back outside in the spring.
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This is often all it takes to eliminate a mild to moderate infestation: Give the plant what it wants. More light, more water, more air, etc. And set it outside where the natural predators of the pest can help you eliminate it.
When growing papaya indoors, you will want to water carefully. Too much water can quickly kill a papaya tree. Keep it barely moist in summer's heat, nearly dry through the winter. Use a fast draining potting mix and do not leave water sitting in the tray beneath the pot.
Feed with a high nitrogen fertilizer monthly. Most plants will bear in their first year. The fruit takes 3-4 months to mature from the time it is pollinated.
Grow Papayas from Seed
To grow papayas from seed (seed from a papaya bought from a store is just fine), you need to wash and dry the seeds before planting them. Germination takes 2 or 3 weeks.
Papaya Tree Care
Papaya tree care is minimal as long as you are growing them someplace warm. They are not fussy plants when given the sun and heat they desire. Cool weather alters the flavor of the fruit and even a light frost will damage the plant. Papaya is best raised in greenhouses in the temperate zone.
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