how to grow pawpaw from seed

How to Grow Pawpaw from Seed

A guide to growing pawpaw, the cold-hardy tropical fruit with a banana-mango flavor

Key Takeaways
– Pawpaw is a native North American fruit that tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango.
– You can grow pawpaw from seed by stratifying, planting, germinating, and caring for the seeds and seedlings.
– Pawpaw trees require rich, moist, well-drained soil, partial shade, and regular watering and fertilizing.
– Pawpaw fruit is ripe when it changes color, softens, and emits a sweet aroma. You can enjoy it fresh or processed.

Did you know that you can grow a mini sun in your backyard? No, we are not talking about solar panels or nuclear reactors. We are talking about pawpaw, the largest native fruit in North America that has a bright yellow flesh and a banana-mango flavor.

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is also known as custard apple, paw paw, or Indiana banana. It belongs to the same family as cherimoya and soursop, but unlike its tropical cousins, it can tolerate cold temperatures and grow in temperate zones.

Growing pawpaw from seed is a rewarding and fun project that can save you money, provide you with fresh and organic fruit, and attract wildlife to your garden. In this article, we will show you how to grow pawpaw from seed in four easy steps: planting, germinating, caring, and harvesting.

How to Plant Pawpaw Seeds

how to grow pawpaw from seed

The first step to growing pawpaw from seed is to stratify the seeds. Stratification is a process of exposing seeds to cold and moist conditions to break their dormancy and stimulate germination. Pawpaw seeds need at least 90 days of stratification at 4°C (40°F) before they can sprout.

To stratify pawpaw seeds, you will need:

  • Fresh pawpaw seeds (you can buy them online or collect them from ripe fruits)
  • A sealable plastic bag
  • A damp paper towel or peat moss
  • A refrigerator

Here is how to stratify pawpaw seeds:

  1. Rinse the seeds under running water and remove any pulp or debris.
  2. Wrap the seeds in a damp paper towel or peat moss and place them in a sealable plastic bag.
  3. Label the bag with the date and put it in the refrigerator.
  4. Check the bag every week and moisten the paper towel or peat moss if needed.
  5. After 90 days, take out the bag and prepare to plant the seeds.
See also  How to Grow Your Own Hostas from Seed: A Complete Guide

To plant pawpaw seeds, you will need:

  • A pot with drainage holes (at least 15 cm or 6 inches deep)
  • A potting mix with organic matter (such as compost or manure)
  • A sunny or partly shaded spot

Here is how to plant pawpaw seeds:

  1. Fill the pot with potting mix and make a hole about 2 cm (1 inch) deep.
  2. Place one seed in the hole and cover it with soil.
  3. Water the pot well and place it in a sunny or partly shaded spot.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not soggy until the seed sprouts.

You can also plant pawpaw seeds directly in the ground if you have a suitable spot in your garden. Just make sure to choose a location that has rich, moist, well-drained soil and partial shade.

Tips for Germinating Pawpaw Seeds

how to grow pawpaw from seed

The second step to growing pawpaw from seed is to germinate the seeds. Germination is the process of a seed sprouting and developing into a seedling. Pawpaw seeds can take anywhere from 2 to 18 weeks to germinate, depending on various factors such as seed age, seed quality, soil temperature, and moisture level.

To increase the germination rate and speed of pawpaw seeds, you can try some of these tips and tricks:

  • Use bottom heat. Pawpaw seeds germinate best at a soil temperature of 21°C (70°F) or higher. You can use a heating mat, a heat lamp, or a sunny windowsill to provide bottom heat to your pots.
  • Soak the seeds in water or tea. Soaking the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting can help to soften the seed coat and speed up germination. You can also soak the seeds in chamomile tea or willow bark tea to prevent fungal infections and stimulate root growth.
  • Scarify the seeds. Scarifying is a technique of scratching or nicking the seed coat to allow water and air to enter the seed more easily. You can use a knife, a nail file, or sandpaper to gently scarify the pawpaw seeds before planting.
See also  How to Fill Your Garden with Blooms in No Time: The Ultimate Guide to Fast Growing Flowers

To check for signs of germination and what to do when pawpaw seeds sprout, you can follow these steps:

  • Check the pots regularly for any signs of sprouting, such as a small green shoot emerging from the soil.
  • When the pawpaw seeds sprout, move the pots to a bright but indirect light source, such as under a shade cloth or a tree canopy.
  • Water the pots regularly but avoid overwatering or underwatering. The soil should be moist but not soggy or dry.
  • Transplant the pawpaw seedlings when they have at least two true leaves (the first pair of leaves are cotyledons and do not count). You can transplant them to larger pots or directly to your garden if the weather is warm enough.
  • III. How to Care for Pawpaw Trees (200 words)

The third step to growing pawpaw from seed is to care for the trees. Pawpaw trees are relatively easy to grow and maintain, but they do have some specific growing conditions and requirements that you need to provide.

Here are some of the factors that you need to consider when caring for pawpaw trees:

  • Soil type and pH level. Pawpaw trees prefer rich, moist, well-drained soil that is slightly acidic (pH 5.5 to 7). You can amend your soil with organic matter such as compost or manure to improve its fertility and drainage.
  • Sun exposure and shade. Pawpaw trees need at least 6 hours of sun per day, but they also appreciate some shade during the hottest part of the day. You can plant them under taller trees or structures that provide partial shade.
  • Water frequency and amount. Pawpaw trees need regular watering, especially during their first few years of growth. You should water them deeply and thoroughly once or twice a week, depending on the weather and soil conditions. You can use a mulch layer of straw, wood chips, or leaves to conserve moisture and prevent weeds.
  • Fertilizer type and amount. Pawpaw trees benefit from an annual application of a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) in early spring, before new growth begins. You can also use organic fertilizers such as fish emulsion, seaweed extract, or compost tea every month during the growing season.
  • Pruning method and time. Pawpaw trees do not require much pruning, except for removing dead, diseased, or damaged branches. You can also prune them lightly to shape them or control their size. The best time to prune pawpaw trees is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.
See also  How to Choose the Best Plants for Your Raised Garden Bed

How to Harvest Pawpaw Fruit

The fourth and final step to growing pawpaw from seed is to harvest the fruit. Pawpaw fruit usually ripens in late summer or early fall, depending on your climate and variety.

Here are some of the signs that indicate when pawpaw fruit is ripe and ready to harvest:

  • Color change. Pawpaw fruit changes color from green to yellow, brown, or black when ripe.
  • Softness. Pawpaw fruit softens when ripe, similar to an avocado or a peach.
  • Aroma. Pawpaw fruit emits a sweet and fruity aroma when ripe, similar to a banana or a mango.

Here are some of the tips on how to harvest pawpaw fruit without damaging it or the tree:

  • Pick pawpaw fruit by hand gently and carefully, avoiding bruising or puncturing it.
  • Store pawpaw fruit in a cool and dry place, such as a refrigerator or a basement. Pawpaw fruit can last for a few days at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge.
  • Enjoy pawpaw fruit fresh or processed. You can eat pawpaw fruit raw, like a banana or a mango, or you can peel and cut it into pieces and add it to salads, smoothies, pies, jams, or ice cream. You can also freeze pawpaw pulp for later use.


Growing pawpaw from seed is not as hard as it may seem. With some patience, care, and attention, you can grow your own mini sun in your backyard and enjoy its delicious and nutritious fruit.

In this article, we have shown you how to grow pawpaw from seed in four easy steps: planting, germinating, caring, and harvesting. We have also provided you with some tips and tricks to increase your success rate and speed up the process.

We hope you have found this article helpful and informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below. Thank you for reading and happy gardening!

About The Author


I'm Samantha, a plant enthusiast who has been growing plants for years. I believe that plants can make our lives better, both physically and mentally. I started to share my knowledge about how to grow plants. I want to help others enjoy the beauty and benefits of plants.

Articles: 405