PawPaw Plants; Growing Information

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Paw Paw Plants; A Challenge for Many Gardeners ~ Asimina species
Florida native pawpaws are available from Pietro’s PawPaws, 352-504-6494.

paw paw pawpaw seed zebra swallowtail butterfly caterpillar host plant
Paw paw fruit and seed
paw paw pawpaw seed zebra swallowtail butterfly caterpillar host plant
Asimina angustifolia
Narrow leaf pawpaw
paw paw pawpaw seed zebra swallowtail butterfly caterpillar host plant
Asimina pygmaea
The growing conditions, soil, sun, shade, water, etc: depends upon the species! In our area of Florida, pawpaw plants are normally found growing in dry sandy soil. The larger pawpaw trees that are grown for the fruit (food industry) tend to grow best in richer moist soil very well.

Pawpaw is reported to grow best in light shade as an understory plant to full sun.

Pawpaw plants can be challenging to grow. If you have trouble growing pawpaw, ask yourself several questions:
1. Was it a healthy plant in a pot when you purchased it?
2. Was the nursery reliable from whom you purchased the plant?
3. If the plant is a shorter species, is it in soil that is too rich or wet? Most Florida native species of pawpaw prefer poor sandy soil or soil that does not stay wet. Northern pawpaw trees prefer soil that is more moist and enjoy fertilizer.
4. Was it root bound when you purchased it? (Was the root growing in a circle in the pot?)
5. Did the root break?
6. Did the soil drop loose from the root while you were transplanting it?

Successful transplanting from one area to another (not from a nursery pot to the garden) is nearly impossible. Terri has successfully transplanted pawpaw. For an idea of the work involved, take a look at the photos below! The root grows somewhat like a carrot root and resists transplanting unless it has been grown in pots from a seed.

native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina roots transplant
Top 12" plant above ground
Bottom five feet are roots

native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina
Seedlings grow very small top growth
compared to its root growth

native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina

native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina roots transplant
Pawpaw plant dug from a field.
Note the root size.
native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina
The hole dug for this plant
(plant in photo on left)
is appx 6 ft wide and 3 ft deep
native florida pawpaw paw paw plant asimina
Planting more pawpaw plants
Note that there is a person in the hole!
Pawpaw plants can grow new plants from the roots of the first plant.

Our southern scrubby pawpaw species can be mowed or harrowed and normally will grow back with fresh tender growth within a few weeks. If dug up and replanted, it will die.

Pawpaw seed and plants can be purchased from several online nurseries. In Florida, we highly recommend Pietro’s PawPaws, located in Leesburg. Terri Pietroburgo carefully grows native Florida pawpaw plants from seed. She uses deep pots to allow room for their unusual roots to grow without crowding. You can reach Terri at 352-504-6494.

Information is easily located online for growing A. triloba. Growing information for other species is difficult to locate.

We have had some success growing other species from seed by planting fresh seed in soil, 1/3 inch deep, and waiting. The seed has taken from one to several months to germinate. We start with a lighter soil to germinate the seed because, in our experience, native Florida species prefer sandy soil rather than rich moist soil. If you are interested in obtaining seed, please watch our newsletters. Begining in 2010, we will invite butterfly enthusiasts to wander with us for a few hours to collect seed from wild native Florida pawpaw plants on our property. The fruit is normally ready to pick (seed is inside the fruit) in late June through July. There should be enough seed for everyone to take home a dozen or more seed. We do ask that no one family collects over 50 seeds. Watch our newsletter for announcements of the time we will wander on the property to collect seed.

PawPaw A. triloba Informational Website Pages: (do NOT grow native pawpaw according to directions on these websites)
Garden Guides
California Rare Fruit Growers
Home Orchard Society
Arkansas Home and Garden