Papaya

Papaya

Life form A small shrub, a tree, there are ample species.
Family Caricaceae
Origin and distribution The native land of papaya is Central America, southern Mexico. Its name comes from the Caribbean word “ababai”.
Ease of cultivation Easy to clean, but requires good lighting and sufficient moisture.
Size and intensity of growth In nature, the tree reaches 3-6 m in height, and at home does not exceed 2-2.5 m.
Lifespan In natural conditions papaya often lives up to 20 years, but in the room it is usually replaced after about 4 years.
Temperature In the summer: the usual room temperature (about 64,4-75,2 ° F), easily transfers heat, however it is necessary to spend intensive spraying; In winter, the minimum temperature is + 60,8 ° F. Papaya is extremely intolerant to lower temperatures, especially it suffers watering and wet soil at low temperatures.
Humidity It requires a very high level of humidity, dry air can cause drying of the leaves and even the death of the plant, especially in winter with heating on. It is necessary to use all methods of increasing humidity: frequent spraying, the content of the plant in a bowl with wet claydite (water should not contact the roots).
Lighting Papaya needs bright light, its best location is on the south and south-west window. It is necessary to regularly turn the plant about a quarter of a turn, so it bends towards the source of illumination. When there is a lack of light, artificial illumination using lamps is used. It is especially necessary in winter.
The soil Preferably loose, fertile soil, the pot should be with good drainage and a hole. It is better to use a weakly acidic (pH 6-6.5) substrate.
Watering Watering papaya often, in the summer every 3-4 days, not allowing complete drying of the soil, only the upper layer should dry between moisturizing. At the same time, excessive watering (especially in the case of heavy soil) is also harmful, since it threatens to decay the root system. Use soft water at room temperature.
How to fertilize The plant is fed at least once a month, from spring to autumn. Usually use complex balanced fertilizers, only during the flowering period, increase the dose of phosphorus and potassium. Papaya responds well to fertilizing with organic fertilizers.
Reproduction The most common papaya is propagated with the help of seeds, which are extracted from the fruits purchased in the store. It is desirable that the seeds are as fresh as possible. Rinse off the pulp and dry them for about 24 hours on paper. Then immediately sow in a loose mixture of peat and sand or peat with perlite to a depth of 2 cm. Lightly moisturize and dig up with polyethylene, which needs to be opened for about an hour every day for ventilation. Germinate at a temperature of 75,2-77° F.   If ready seeds were purchased in the store, they are pre-soaked for a day. Seeds are characterized by very high germination. If they are fresh, then the germination can reach 90-100%. Germination lasts from 2 weeks to 2 months. Usually, the strongest sprouts are planted for further cultivation. The shoots are transplanted once and immediately into a fairly large pot.   According to different data, depending on care, the plant grown from the seed can bloom after six months – 3 years. It is best to carry out seed reproduction in early spring, so that during the growing season the plant grows and grows stronger.   Vegetative reproduction is more complex. Adult stem (with a trunk thickness of not less than 1.5 cm) should be cut into several pieces of 10-15 cm long, dry sections for 2-3 days and plant the cuttings in moist sand or other loose soil mixture. You can pre-process the cuts with a root.
Bloom Blooms in the summer. In the sinuses of leaves appear small (up to 2.5 cm) funnel-shaped flowers with 5 petals of yellow, white, cream color. Karika papaya refers to dioecious, that is, on one plant appear either male or female flowers, so pollinate at home with the aim of getting fruits is difficult. Exceptions are commercial varieties, for example, Carica papaya Solo, in which the flowers of both sexes develop on a single tree. For their pollination, transfer the pollen from one flower to another with a brush.
Transfer Transplanted as the pot is filled with roots each year in spring in a bowl of a larger size.Required drainage holes.   It is better to take a fairly heavy pot to avoid overturning it. For an adult 1.5-meter plant, the pot volume should be about 50 liters. However, the pots should be wide, but not very deep, as the papaya has a superficial root system.
Features of care The plant removes damaged, old branches, pruning is not needed. The plant does not like drafts and does not tolerate temperature changes. In the summer it is desirable to take a pot on a balcony or in a garden where an adult tree can be placed in a bright sun, and young growth should be kept in the shadow of larger specimens. During the ripening of fruits, their color varies from green to yellow. Remove the fruits for consumption can only be when they are completely yellow and become slightly soft. The fruits of papaya contain the digestive enzyme papain.
Difficulties Among the pests should be a spider mite, thrips, aphids and whitefly. It is also affected by powdery mildew. As the aging grows, the lower leaves turn yellow and fall off leaving a bare trunk. This is a normal process.
Toxicity Despite the delicious fruit, the rest of the plant can be poisonous and should not be used for food.


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