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pawpaw seedlings in pots

 
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Last summer I planted some pawpaw seeds from local farmer's market fruit.  I planted them in a pot with some rose cuttings thinking then I would remember to water and all could live outside for the winter.  The seeds kept floating any time it rained so I would poke them back down into the soil.  

Only one rose cutting took and now it looks like several of the Pawpaw seeds have germinated.  The earliest ones to sprout 'burnt' and died before I noticed because I did not have the pot shaded enough...now it is in the middle of my pots in the 'nursery' on the east side of the house, moringas, roses, hazelnuts, hyssop....etc.  

Once sprouted they seem like they are growing fast and I'm wondering if I'll need to provide them with even more shade? Should I transplant now? I thought I could plant them out over the winter in their final home...a shady area cleared back into the edge of the woods.

They are getting some afternoon sun where they are and some overhead noon day sun...is this too much?  I've seen them growing in dense woods but never with any fruit there.  It seems like the ones with fruit are in more sun?
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Ooo, this one's tough.

My guess/suggestion:
When young more shade is probably better than less.
I'd wait to transplant, and when I did, I'd actually try taking the whole set of plants out as one and putting it in the ground (once dormant) without disturbing the potting soil at all. Pawpaws grow in groves anyway in the wild. The plants will compete but also share nutrients, and I think dividing them would cause transplant shock

But pawpaws are tricky, so who knows
 
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I don't have a good source of pawpaw seeds, just ones expensively sourced from commercial sources at roughly a buck per seed.  And I've never gotten germination, which tends to be discouraging at that price.  I do like your notion of putting them in a pot I'll otherwise attend and giving them a year; I never thought to try that because all sources say seed must be fresh and never dry out or it will never germinate.

Anyway, that means that what follows is theoretical, based on my reading.  My understanding is that your plants right now are getting more sun than pawpaw seedlings like, and need more shade.  In the wild they supposedly never germinate except as deep understory plants.  But they do supposedly produce better in sunshine once old enough to tolerate it.  (Perhaps the analog in a forest is when an old tree comes down, creating a sunnier clearing?)  Anyway, the advice I've seen is to plant seeds or seedlings (most people are dubious about transplanting these trees) in a sunny location but then protect them with shade cloth, often on a wire mesh cage around the tree until it grows up and out of the artificial shade.  (I don't remember the recommendations on how tall to make the cages.)

From where you are, I think my strategy would be to move the pots to something like full shade, or put some 70% shadecloth up that protects the pots where they are now.  And then transplant in the cool part of the fall, not when they are entirely dormant but perhaps four to six weeks prior to dormancy, which will let them get reestablished from transplant shock before they go into dormancy.  And I would, indeed, put up a shade cage for them that you would expect to maintain for at least two or three years.  

I want pawpaws so badly!  I'm only about five counties south and west of their natural range, but I've failed now in at least five attempts to start some from seeds.  I really should bite the bullet and pay some bucks for young trees, but given their reputation of fragility, I've never been able to justify the expense.
 
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For what it's worth,  I live at the head of the Chesapeake bay.  I have noticed on the west bank of the Susquehanna river, the paw paws are in abundance, and the eastern shore there are much less.  They are there, but not as abundant.  Could this have something to do with the morning sun?  They live under a canopy mostly of sycamore and poplar, with some oak and beech.

The same goes with the Elk river.  Where the Elk flows into the head of the bay is Turkey Point.  State park land.  The entire left bank of the Elk river is loaded with paw paws, and they run deep into the center of the park land.   When you go around the other side of the point,  the North East river, it's eastern bank is sparse.

I've attempted to mimic this where I live last fall.  I slung seed around, gathered rotting fruit and just strategically dropped, as the tree would, and buried some seed also.  I haven't seen anything yet, but they could still be there, hiding under some other flora.  I will repeat again this coming fall.

I remember discovering paw paws as a kid while bowhunting and instantly fell in love with them.  Who needs bananas trucked in when you have these? I just want to be able to sing that infamous song as I step off my back porch in September.
 
pollinator
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I keep mine in the shade with only a little morning sun for a couple years. You can tell pretty quickly if they are getting too much sun, the leaves bleach out very quickly.
 
pollinator
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My reco based on growing them is to shade for 2-3 years or plant as understory. If you transplant later, they have a long tap root, so be sure not to sever it.
 
Judith Browning
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thank you all!

I'm going to move the pot to a shadier spot as soon as it gets light out....I haven't seen any bleached leaves, except on the earliest sprouts and those died almost immediately.  I would hate to lose these now that they've made it this far and it sounds like too much shade is not a problem at this point.

Dan, if I find some fruit at this summers market I would be happy to try and send you some fresh seeds.  I potted these with some pulp straight from the fresh fruit (that was delicious, by the way).

 
Dan Grubbs
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I would welcome the seeds most heartily. We have moved from the homestead where I planted the pawpaws and so I don't have any on our new homestead and would very much like to have some. Our new homestead has a seasonal stream/draw with an overstory of Osage orange and honey locusts into which I would plant as many pawpaws as I can get my hands on. If you do have something to send me, let me know and I'll IM my mailing address to you.

Cheers!
 
Judith Browning
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Dan Grubbs wrote:I would welcome the seeds most heartily. We have moved from the homestead where I planted the pawpaws and so I don't have any on our new homestead and would very much like to have some. Our new homestead has a seasonal stream/draw with an overstory of Osage orange and honey locusts into which I would plant as many pawpaws as I can get my hands on. If you do have something to send me, let me know and I'll IM my mailing address to you.

Cheers!



Hi Dan,  I was aiming that 'dan' at dan boone in a post farther back, but I would be more than happy to send some to you also...the person who brought them to market last year had a lot at the one mkt only and practically gave them away...more than we could have eaten but would be worth getting more this year just for the seeds.

I'll post back here if I'm able to get any this year...might try sending whole fruit?  

 
Dan Boone
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Judith Browning wrote:
Dan, if I find some fruit at this summers market I would be happy to try and send you some fresh seeds.  I potted these with some pulp straight from the fresh fruit (that was delicious, by the way).



Oooh, I would totally love that!  Please do keep me in mind if you see that vendor again.  It's been my experience with most of my tree seed germination challenges that the twin solution is "find better/fresher seed" and "plant lots more seeds"!

With large/interesting tree seeds that are typically sold in single-digit quantities, I have had so many disappointments...
 
Dan Grubbs
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Ooops, sorry Judith. I should have been paying closer attention.
 
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Dan Boone wrote:I don't have a good source of pawpaw seeds, just ones expensively sourced from commercial sources at roughly a buck per seed.  And I've never gotten germination, which tends to be discouraging at that price.


A buck a seed? OUCH! FW Schumacher sells pawpaw seeds for about $0.10 a seed (https://www.treeshrubseeds.com/specieslist?id=671&ID2=-1&k=Asimina%20triloba), but far and away the best deal in town for pawpaws is the Indiana State Nursery that sells two year old pawpaw trees for $0.33 a tree. (http://forms.in.gov/Download.aspx?id=5318)
 
Judith Browning
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Dan Grubbs wrote:Ooops, sorry Judith. I should have been paying closer attention.



No problem Dan...I was expecting telepathy there I think

I do know though, if I find pawpaw fruit at the market there will be plenty to share so am happy it turned out this way.
 
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Judith, you just reminded me that I put out a bunch of Paw Paw seeds last year.  I now remember the location and that I weeded that area.  LOL.  Pretty sure I yanked the seedlings if they came up.

 
Judith Browning
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Scott Foster wrote:Judith, you just reminded me that I put out a bunch of Paw Paw seeds last year.  I now remember the location and that I weeded that area.  LOL.  Pretty sure I yanked the seedlings if they came up.



Haha...I can't count (and would be embarrassed to) the number of times I've done that myself.  I've also planted seeds unmarked and expected the family not to mow there and to recognize those tiny seedlings in amongst the grasses, etc.  So, now I plant almost every thing in pots first unless I have a whole whole lot of seed...and I'm getting good better at labeling both in the pot and once planted out.  
 
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Paw Paws aren't difficult to grow, but they are particular about getting started.
I posted some "advice on growing Paw Paws" several years back, that covers most of the issues.

I've learned a lot about growing these trees from trial and error, and observation in the wild.  
You can easily succeed in growing them by following a few simple guidelines.

Good luck and happy gardening!
 
Judith Browning
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Steve Oh wrote:Paw Paws aren't difficult to grow, but they are particular about getting started.
I posted some "advice on growing Paw Paws" several years back, that covers most of the issues.

I've learned a lot about growing these trees from trial and error, and observation in the wild.  
You can easily succeed in growing them by following a few simple guidelines.

Good luck and happy gardening!



I read your post at the link...excellent advice Steve...thank you!
 
Judith Browning
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Well, the pawpaw guy was at the market tuesday and I bought quite a few of them but some seem too green?
We ate one of the ripe ones just today and it was delicious.  Last year I put the unripe ones in paper bags out on the counter and they ripened slowly over several days.  Some of these are in bunches still on a branch though and look too green but I've put them back to ripen and we'll see what happens.

Dan Grubb and Dan Boone? If you want me to try to send whole fruit I'll give it a try...just PM me an address.

I might have enough for a few other folks if it looks like the greener ones will have viable seed.

Any ideas for packing a soft fruit?

 
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I keep trying to get to a farmer's market, here, to look for pawpaw, but keep missing them. Our travel times, weather, and a few other things have kept us to the one closest top home, and they don't have them - or at least, not yet. If all else fails, I'll order a bare root tree, I think. It will get me a yield sooner - at least, in theory, lol.
 
Dan Boone
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Judith Browning wrote:Dan Grubb and Dan Boone? If you want me to try to send whole fruit I'll give it a try...just PM me an address.



PM sent -- thanks so much!
 
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Hi, Judith.  I don't know whether the season is past, but if you come across that vendor again I would happily compensate you for one or two of the fruits for seed.  We recently moved out to the country from being in the middle of town and I really want to get some pawpaw trees started where we are.  I just don't have a local source.  It seems that we may not be too far from each other and if they grow for you there may be a chance that they'll grow for me.
 
Judith Browning
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Vernon Inverness wrote:Hi, Judith.  I don't know whether the season is past, but if you come across that vendor again I would happily compensate you for one or two of the fruits for seed.  We recently moved out to the country from being in the middle of town and I really want to get some pawpaw trees started where we are.  I just don't have a local source.  It seems that we may not be too far from each other and if they grow for you there may be a chance that they'll grow for me.



Vernon, the vendor who brought them won't be back this year and I've given my son the last of the fruit that was way overripe.  I'll post again here if and when I find some more next year though so just check back.
I think they should grow where you are although I'm not sure how far south they grow here in Arkansas?

I sent fresh seeds packed in coir rather than whole fruit to Dan B...they should germinate by next season's fruiting if all goes well so then I'll know if this method of shipping is working.
 
Vernon Inverness
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I will certainly do that, Judith.  Thank you for your willingness to share!
 
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great germination judith, looks like they are in good potting soil. I'm one of those live and let live don't mess with stuff too much kinda person
I would let those seedling roots fill the pot. till you see roots though drainage holes, then  separate the different trees to permanent locations.
 
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Oikos (oikostreecrops.com) sells paw paws.  If you wanted a bunch (i.e. your on the edge of their growing area, so want to plant a bunch to get some that survive) they sell 100 small plants for $125.  (Not as good as free seed, I know).  I gather their seed stock is from the northern side of paw paw range.  I know they are more into crop diversity, so I'd be willing to bet the plants are all from seed. (I don't have any ties to oikos, but I've bought from them before and they seem pretty good.)
 
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