sweethearth2015
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Red Lady Papaya.

Hello everyone,

I have just join in couples days ago. Sorry, my first post is a cry for help.

I have a Red Lady Papaya plant in a 18 gal. tub. It is about 2-3ft. tall but it hasn't flowering or showing any sign of flowering.
Is there anything i can do/give to this plant to boost it.

Thank you all for any advice/help.

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Red lady is a Mexican papaya which is bigger than the ones we grow in Hawaii. If your plant is less than 5 months old, it is too young to fruit. That variety was listed as semi dwarf growing 20-30 ft, which is pretty much what the papaya here get up to when they are full size. It did not say that it was low bearing.

Most papaya will start to flower at 5 months with the male flowers coming out first. The first fruit should be ready at about 8 months. Low bearing papaya will flower at about 3-4 ft tall regular papayas get 6ft or more before they start to flower.

Potting papayas can stunt them to bear lower but they still need to be old enough. They are heavy feeders and should be fed regularly. Do not over water or pick fruit after a heavy rain or it will probably be mealy.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sweethearth2015
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Location: Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Thank you for replying "imafan26" to my question.

If they grow that tall i guess i need to carry it to a friend of mine that has yard which get full sun.

I pick this plant at Home Depot, and the tag only says red lady papaya.

Again, thank you.

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Papayas are not frost hardy but have long taproots. If the taproot breaks, the papaya will die. In a pot the roots will circle the pot, eventually stunting the papaya. I have been able to stunt a papaya by keeping it in a pot and allowing the root to wind, it is more hit and miss since it doesn't always stunt properly. The easiest way to keep a papaya bearing short is to top it when it gets too tall to pick the fruit. Papayas are short lived perennials that will live about 8 years but most people here will replace them at around four years. They are too tall by then for anyone except the birds to reach. I topped this at about 2 1/2 feet. My bench master has 2 ft legs. One or two arms can be left but the others need to be cut out or the fruit will be very small. Waimanalo Low Bearing produces about a one pound fruit. The fruit from the arms will be slightly smaller at about 3/4 lb. The can on top is necessary and will need to stay on for the life of the plant to keep water from getting inside the hollow core of the papaya and rotting it out. This should give me papaya for another year or more that I can reach. P.S. Papayas are not trees but a very big herb. The core is hollow and fibrous and like bananas will go down in strong wind. It is also why it is a bad idea to put a ladder up against the "tree" to pick the fruit. The trunk is mostly fiber and water.
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Topped Waimanalo Low Bearing papaya. Left 2 arms which are producing fruit now
Topped Waimanalo Low Bearing papaya. Left 2 arms which are producing fruit now
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sweethearth2015
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Thank you for taking time posting your knowledge of growing tropical plants (fruits/vegetables) "imafan"

It is very much appreciated.

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

We just got some typical high winds around 40-50 mph gusts and one of the arms of my papaya broke. I have some green papaya now that I have to use for soup and Thai green papaya salad. A lot of bananas went down at the community garden too and one of my papayas that was not topped but laden with fruit fell in the herb garden where I volunteer. That one was still relatively young at about 7 ft tall.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sueannefl
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Been very happy with my Red Lady Papaya tree. The fruit is large weighing as much as four pounds each. Not bad for a tree I bought for $6.88 last June at Lowe's. Bought another one this year that is doing well too.
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papaya 10-23-15 1xx.jpg

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applestar
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Sound good! I've seen Red Lady papaya described as "suitable for container growing for the north", but needs to be kept very warm (above 60°F). I've been eye'ing it for a while, but it's a self fruitful *hybrid* which I think means you can't propagate from seeds to get the same genotype.... (This tends to put them on the negative list for me ...so I'm undecided about getting one -- my pineapple and banana plants haven't fruited but at least they keep producing pups so I can keep trying)

How do you eat them? Do you find the flavor to be comparable to other papayas?
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Save the seeds from the ripe papaya to grow more. The seeds have a gelatinous covering and I rub it against a strainer to get it off then, I dry the seeds. They store for about 3 years. You can plant the fresh seeds too after they are washed.

Papaya seedlings are probably one of the few things we get pretty cheap here. Mostly free, but if I buy seeds they cost a bout $1 for about 20 seeds and a plant about $1.69 and that price doubled in the last couple of years. Most of the time three papayas are planted to make sure to get a hermaphrodite. Males are given the ax, females are axed by growers since they want uniform fruit, but if it tastes good and I have male flowers on another tree, I keep them.

You can make green papaya salad with the green ones and make papaya pickles called atchara.
I don't like my papaya too ripe, I prefer it about the firmness of a cantauloupe or a little bit softer.

When the tree gets too tall to pick, I top them and let a couple of arms grow, after that I start a new one. The root will rot down so it does not have to be dug out, I just have to watch out for the hole in the ground.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sueannefl
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

My Red Lady Papaya is still producing plenty of Papayas. Been getting plenty of ripe ones the last couple of months. Been slicing and freezing to be ahead once it gets cold.
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Papaya fruit 12-12-15 still on tree growing.jpg

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applestar
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Wow that's a LOT of big fruits :shock: Definitely worth your money. :D
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JasonFL
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Nice variety of Papaya! I've also got a few growing in the yard and have started eating them when they are green. You can shred them in a food processor and throw some ranch dressing if you're into that type of thing, they resemble carrots for the most part when they are green... probably would make a good cole slaw.

The only problem I've encountered is somewhat itchy hands after peeling off the skin, maybe use a paper or towel or something during that process, or let it sit for a day or two before peeling?
Zone 10b - Will Trade - Looking for 'Swallow Tail' Plant (Christia obcordata)

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

I get contact dermatitis from the sap too. I can eat the papaya. I just have to be careful when I pick and peel them. For that I use disposable gloves.

I have not tried to freeze papaya, but I don't really have to. If it is like mango, it would have to be eaten frozen or juiced. You can put the chunks in fruit salad or ambrosia, juice it, make green papaya salad, or papaya pickles (anchara), papaya is also used as a meat tenderizer the papain is a proteinase that disolves protein. a couple of slices of papaya layed on some meat a couple of hours before cooking helps to make it tender. Don't leave it too long or you get a grainy texture. Most of the time 1/2 papaya is eaten with cottage cheese , lemon, or lime juice. It is high in fiber and old people like it to keep them regular since many of them don't do much walking. Green papaya is used to make chicken and papaya soup. The green papaya is like squash when it is used that way. The same recipe can be use with chayote instead. The chayote is firmer so won't mush as quickly.

You can pick papaya as soon as it shows a yellow streak. If you have a really sweet papaya, you have to pick it at this stage and let it ripen. Birds will go after the sweetest fruit. When I see a tree full of ripe fruit that isn't being bothered by the birds, I know the fruit isn't very good and it would be a tree I would just cut down.

Most papaya here are hybrids. What most people are concerned with is not the taste from saving seeds since it is hard to control interbreeding with so many trees around. Basically, most people will only keep trees that have good flavor anyway, so keeping trees with sweet fruit, usually gets you offspring with good fruit. Occasionally, you get one that isn't that great, but it gets cut down in that case so it would not be used to reproduce. To some people knowing the pedigree is important if they are concerned about GMO papaya. The tree and fruit look the same and the fruit is good. You cannot tell a GMO tree from a non GMO unless you are in a papaya field with PRSV virus. Then the GMO will be the only healthy trees around. 90% of all papaya grown commercially here is GMO. In the 70's the papaya industry in Puna nearly collapsed because of PRSV. There are a few farms that are growing non GMO papaya but because wild papaya will sometimes grow, they have to rougue out any papaya they have not planted. The papaya comes from the birds dropping seeds from papayas they have eaten. They also have to ensure the pedigree of their seeds. I have both kinds.
At home, I usually grow the non GMO Waimanalo Low bearing, but at my community garden where squash is grown everywhere only the GMO papaya will produce. My best low bearing papaya came from my neighbor. The tree has no pedigree but I suspect it has GMO genes because it is healthy around squash. That is the thing, GMO trees are totally capable of crossing with non-GMO trees and only recently has a practical test been developed to test for it.

Papaya farmers worldwide now are looking to GMO to save their crops from virus. They cannot actually use the GMO seeds from Hawaii since their trees and virus have different genetic markers but they can use the techniques that were used to develop the PRSV resistant papayas here.

People want to stay away from GMO's out of fear that they have not been researched enough. Reality is mostly, that is what it is, fear. They have been eaten by millions of people for over 40 years. Japan, which was a GMO holdout, finally decided they were safe enough to import. No one has turned into an alien yet or had any issues that can be linked to the consumption of GMO papaya.

What was the genetic modification. The modified gene causes an infecting virus to be coated with a protein coating so it cannot cause the PRSV symptoms.
https://hawaiitribune-herald.com/section ... story.html

In 2012 the organic movement successfully legislated a ban on further GMO crops being planted on Maui. This was over the objections of the local farmers and the scientific community who said it would hurt other farmers not just the GMO farmers. And there was no science behind the oppositions claim that GMO's were bad. In fact the organic movement not only did not offer any evidence of harm, their claims that GMO's were not tested enough were a bit ridiculous since no one can guarantee 100% and they are demanding 100% certainty. GMO's have had more scrutiny than most other products. Even organic fruits and vegetables cannot guarantee they are 100% safe. You just have to look at all of the recalls on organic products that have been contaminated by bacteria like salmonella and ecoli from runoff. It actually makes it illegal for anyone to grow GMO plant on the island. Technically someone growing a papaya in their backyard, whether they know it or not, if it is GMO it is illegal. The legislation was targeting Monsanto and Pioneer but it also made it harder for smaller farmers to get basic things like fertilizer, farm equipment, container space since they small farmers orders are piggybacked on the larger corporation orders by the local ag supplier and without the larger company's business, their operating costs will rise because they do not have the economies of scale.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

sueannefl
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

I think what you feed them means a lot how they taste! I use all my peelings when making smoothies from different fruit & melons and puree them. Add water and stir the fruit grow healthy.

sueannefl
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

I enjoy cooking my green papaya like squash adding onions and other vegetables to meat or chicken. Does brown nicely sweetening it up.
So far have no problem with itching. Do use a sharp knife with a thick blade to cut around the edge when sliced thick. Might be wasting some but use it to feed my tree when pureed and mixed with water.
Been slicing the ripe papaya and freezing in bags for when the papaya goes through a cold spell. Use them in smoothies or cakes mixes.
Notice the difference in our health since eating papaya.

imafan26
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Re: Red Lady Papaya.

Papayas usually taste good but vary in sweetness. No one keeps papayas that don't taste good. You can tell if you have a good one if the birds go after the fruit. If they leave ripe fruit alone, it is not a keeper. Watering, or should I say rain will change the texture of the fruit. If you get a lot of rain, the fruit will be mealy, but it will be o.k. again if you wait a few days after the rain stops to let it reabsorb the water from the fruit.

People eye my papaya because it is low bearing. Unfortunately the low bearing tree I have bears low partly because it is a low bearing papaya but also because of the low nitrogen in the soil. Eventually even low bearing papaya will get up to 30 ft. if it is not cut.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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