How to grow papaya properly

We find a crop of exotic fruits of great flavor and category, the papaya. Its cultivation is focused on specific areas where the ideal climate for its growth is reached, although it is increasingly being tested in other protected areas and even under greenhouse. We tell you a few things about papaya.


One of the most important factors to take into account in papaya is the climate where it grows. It is a typical plant of the hot zones of Central America, like in the south of Mexico.

It has a fairly short range of development, ranging from 21ºC to 33ºC. The optimum temperature is set at 25 ºC.

Counting on this, areas where at some time of the year temperatures below 20 ºC are reached (something very common in winter), the development of papaya will have many problems focused on alterations in the formation of flowers, production (kg / ha) and quality of said fruits.

Don’t you reach this temperature range? So you can’t grow papaya.

Photography: H. Zell


In terms of humidity, we would be talking about high values ​​too, since it is a crop that grows in tropical areas.

The optimum humidity range is between 65 and 85% . When this environmental humidity is below, it is possible that problems related to the lack of fruit set, the fall of leaves and foliar masses and a poor quality of the harvest may appear.


We move away from the weather and closer to the ground. For the correct development of papaya we will seek to have a soil with a silty structure, good aeration, good drainage (permeable soil) and with an adequate level of organic matter.

What values ​​are we talking about? You can see it in this article where we study a soil analysis .

However, the characteristics of the soil are not as important as if the climatic ones were. In this part, papaya admits modifications . You can have a more sandy or clayey soil, which will not be many differences in cultivation.

Above all, maintain the importance of a soil with good drainage (hence something more sandy is preferred). Therefore, we move away from heavy, compacted soils or with drainage problems.

If your soil has quiet drainage problems, things can still be changed. Check out these techniques to improve drainage .

Photography: Carla Antonini


As for the proper pH values , the ideal is for it to be classified as slightly acidic . This would be between 5 and 7 . At these values, it is when the best assimilation of macro and micronutrients exists.

You can see it in this table where the assimilation of different cations and anions is analyzed according to the pH of the medium.

Between pH 6 and 7 is where greater assimilation of nutrients exists

Speaking of salinity, papaya is a moderately salt tolerant crop. Except for excess subscriber or water highly charged in conductivity, there will be no problems in this regard.


Although there are variations depending on the disposition of the papaya (standing or lying down), and the type of variety, normally they are between 2,000 and 2,500 feet per hectare .


The time comes when we want to get new papayas and we want to know the simplest procedure. Well, it is mainly done through seeds .

Today’s market is looking for hermaphroditic papayas. In this regard, it should be noted that this crop belongs to a polygamous, trioic species. We can have female, male and hermaphrodite papayas. When we go to market crops, the seed selection is usually chosen so that the papayas are hermaphroditic.


As we have commented previously, climatic conditions are the key factor for the proper functioning of papaya. Therefore, it is very important to know when to carry out the main operations of the crop.

In Spain, apart from the Canary Islands, the number of hectares cultivated in the southeast of the peninsula is growing. We would be talking about specific areas with a special climate , such as the Velez-Málaga area and greenhouse cultivation in Almería and Costa de Granada (Motril).

Potted papaya seedlings. Photograph: Ksd5

Under these conditions, the best date to plant papaya is in March-April. In the seedbed, the crop takes about 45-60 days to germinate and form a seedling.

The first papaya flowers appear a month and a half after transplanting. If we plant on these dates, we will be able to obtain the first harvest between October and November. We would be talking about 7 or 8 months from said transplant.

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