Welcome to another Great Escape Farms blog post. Today we are talking about planting paw paw seeds. But first, some basics on the paw paw tree.
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The paw paw tree, with a botanical name of Asimina triloba, is a deciduous tree native to eastern North America. It can grow to a height of 35 feet and has a slight tropical look to it. It has edible fruit, possible medicinal uses, and is a good understory tree.
The flowers are self-fertile having both male and female parts. Flowers occur in the spring right around the time the tree leafs out.
The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to North America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. The brownish to blackish seeds are shaped like lima beans, with a length of 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches.
The fruit has a yellow flesh that is custard like and highly nutritious with a tropical flavor that resembles a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple.
The seeds we are dealing with today have already been cleaned and stratified. You can learn how to do this by going to our previous post titled Collecting and Saving Paw Paw Seeds. https://greatescapefarms.com/collecting-saving-paw-paw-seeds/
Make sure that your seeds never dry out. From the day they are removed from the fruit, through stratification, at planting, and until they sprout, they can never dry out or the germination rate will go way down.
Planting the Seeds
After stratification, put your seeds into potting soil. Make sure the pot is deep, as the paw paw seeds grow very long tap roots. The tap roots will grow about eight inches before the seeds even push up through the surface.
If your seeds already have a root, make sure you use a pencil or something to poke a hole in the soil and then put the tap root into that hole, being careful to not break the tap root. If the root breaks, that is it for that plant, it will not recover.
I’m using a large pot and putting all of the seeds into the one pot. I’m just spreading them out on the surface and covering them with one inch of soil and then watering them. They will grow into the late fall and go dormant. Once that happens, I’ll dig them up and re-pot or put into the ground.
Paw paw trees like shade when they are young. I plan on using a 50% shade cloth to protect them from the sun. Once they get older and get closer to fruiting age, about 6 to 10 years, they need full sun. I’ll just remove the shade cloth after about three years.
Check out the video below titled Planting Paw Paw Seeds.
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