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February 10, 2016

Protect Papaya trees (and others, like coffee) from frost

Tonight it will be, hopefully, the last danger of frost night for this season. It usually works like that, when plants need to be covered, the weather is the nastiest and most unfriendly to the poor person who has this task at hand. I had to struggle with the comforters to cover my coffee forest. The trees are quite tall now, and the blankets just did not want to stay put. Finally, after much effort, coffee is covered, and probably grateful. Here it is. Peekaboo!

In the Spring, after coffee stops fruiting - it seems like it never stops fruiting though - I will prune the trees to about four feet of height to make it easier to cover next winter, and to renew the trees. They are supposed to be pruned of dead wood and old branches.

One thing I need to mention is that if there is hard frost coming, something like 28F, these quilt covers will not be sufficient. On cold hard freeze nights I use real comforters on my coffee trees.

Papaya is more tolerant.

Or maybe it is easier to get and grow.

But, for one thing, it is difficult to cover the whole papaya tree, as they usually are pretty tall, and secondly, they regenerate after frost damage rather easily. I normally, just wrap the trunk with the blanket and let the leaves to be damaged. Come spring, papaya will grow new leaves and branches.

Here is papaya tree that is probably four years old. It gets damaged every year, but then it grows new stems from the trunk (that was wrapped), and continues fruiting with abundance.

Keep warm tonight, and before we know, it will be Spring and new gardening adventures here in sunny Florida.


  1. OMG. I've planted seeds from two different papaya fruits (fresh and dried) and I can't get a single seed to sprout! Any hints? Are you willing to sell me some seeds from your trees (thinking maybe the fruit from Publix has been treated somehow). Thank you!

  2. It is possible that papaya was treated, not because the growers are worried about the competition from the home yard papaya, but because they don't want the seeds sprouting inside the fruit; that would be unattractive to the consumer. It is also possible that papaya was hybridized to prevent sprouting, re: issue above.

    It is also possible that papaya was picked green and the seeds have not had the chance to mature.

    Were the seeds black? And shiny? Was the fruit itself elongated? Round ones don't sprout as good.

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  6. After six weeks, my initial papaya seeds started sprouting today (4 out of 12). Wow, what a long gestation! I had long given up. I am planting a few of your seeds, too, and will send you thanks.

  7. Awesome! I was in the same boat with my coffee seeds. After over a month just two or three came up out of, I belive, like forty. Now they are all springing up. I will have a coffee forest!

  8. I actually transplanted three papaya trees to my yard today. One is already 4 feet high. Amazing growth, and beautiful foliage. I'm keeping some in large pots on my patio, too, in the hopes I can cultivate a kind of dwarf papaya there. Do you ever lop off the tops at 5 feet or so to branch them out/keep them under 8 feet?



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