My friend Robin shared a couple of links on dwarfing a papaya:
“The experiment was shared by Singapore based gardener, Mohd. Noor, who wanted to grow and harvest papayas on a short plant.
This was his amazing result after 2 years of trial and errors – a papaya plant that could be grown in containers and have fruits beneath his shoulder’s height.”
See here for how it is done.
And here is a crazy video on the process:
The ingenuity of man is amazing.
If you don’t have a dwarf papaya variety, why not give this a try?
Dwarfing Through Planting Deeply
I have done an experiment of my own with dwarfing a papaya tree. First, I grew a papaya seedling in a large pot until it was 6′ tall. It was a female, which was evidenced by the blooms, so I knew it was going to fruit. Then I used a post-hole digger to dig a hole 4′ deep in my North Florida sand. Then I took the papaya out of the pot and broke up the root ball a bit so the tree would fit into its new planting hole and carefully lowered it down into the pit.
I filled it in. Now I had a papaya tree that was maybe 2′ tall. It fruited well at about 4′ or so.
This was just a crazy thought I had when I was sitting on the back porch having a cocktail with my wife. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After planting, I read that papaya are subject to root rot and should never be planted deeper than where they were planted in the pot.
That wasn’t a problem, however. Just because the “official literature” says you can’t do something, it doesn’t mean you REALLY can’t do something. In the case of my deeply planted papaya, it worked just fine. In some soils, it might not, but in my sand, the tree did great. I assume it just rooted out of the existing trunk. It certainly didn’t die, and it was very easy to harvest and protect through frosts.
Many of us don’t have access to dwarf papaya seeds and have to plant the seeds we can find. If you need to keep your papaya trees in pots or grow them in a colder climate where a giant tree becomes a problem – well – why not see if you can dwarf ’em? Starting papaya seedlings is easy. Start a bunch of trees and see what method works for you!