Red Lady Papaya 3 gallon tree
Red Lady Papaya
days to maturity: 10 months
plant spacing: 1 plant every 8 feet
sunlight requirements: 8-14 hours
look out for: papaya fruit fly, local critters like raccoons
harvest notes: harvest before completely ripe
Red Lady Papaya is the one fruit we grow at our vegetable farm because we have grown to love it for so many reasons. The first and most important thing we love about the Red Lady is its delicious flavor. Once you have a perfectly ripe homegrown Red Lady you'll never want a store bought papaya again... truly, we know that many people don't ever want a store bought papaya, because they have the reputation for being not sweet, unflavorful, and stinky. But Red Lady is different... allow the fruit to start ripening on the tree, then leave it on the counter as it gets even darker and richer orange soft skin, and then it will be perfect and sweet for eating.
Besides being delicious, the Red Lady Papaya is a heavy and reliable producer of fruit. Planted in spring or summer in the tropics, and given proper nutrients and plenty of rainfall your papaya should yield you about 80 pounds of fruit in its first year. Fun fact: papaya aren't considered trees, but rather are herbs. Their thick trunks are hollow and remain green through the plants life, making them easy to cut down once they've fruited, and quick to compost.
Besides being a producer of delicious fruit, papayas are beautiful trees (herbs) with many uses. Papaya fruit, seeds and leaves contain the enzyme Papain, which is the source of commercial meat tenderizer and aids in digestion of proteins. Wrap your meat in a papaya leaf instead of buying tenderizer, and consume the seeds fresh or dry for a digestive boost. Papaya seeds boast many other medicinal uses including as a natural contraceptive, so avoid eating them if you're trying to conceive or pregnant. We hear its common to add dry papaya seeds to peppercorn grinders in India so that small amounts of papaya seeds can be regularly and effortlessly consumed, as anti microbial and anti parasitic medicine.
Papaya trees grow quickly in the hot and humid tropics and can be grown as a pet plant in cold areas in greenhouses. Plant a few seeds in each pot and allow the strongest one to be transplanted into the ground or a large pot. Once your papaya tree flowers you can tell wether its a male or a female... males do not produce fruit so they can be composted, as Red Lady is a self fertile variety and thusly does not need to be pollinated by a male. Check out this video for a quick explanation of the visual difference between a male and a female tree.
important note: these plants are tissue cultured and are thusly guaranteed to be females that produce fruit.