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Turning a Papaya into a hermaphrodite

 
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I've got 2 papayas growing well, sadly both of them are male.

I've read online that temperature stress (temps under 12C) can cause a male to start producing both reproductive parts.
Anecdotal garden folklore in Australia suggests either a hard prune or a light prune, then putting an empty can over the main growing branch is enough to turn them.

We rarely get low temps here, does anyone have experience with pruning or other methods of altering papaya gender?

Other plants, such as hemp, can be turned hermaphrodite by relatively mild stress, such as a storm, being pot-bound or inconsistent care.
I believe hammering a nail into the stem is also a way to stress some plants into gender change.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.
 
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I think any one of those methods are worth a try, but I also think doing nothing is worth a try. In other words, and I don't know much about papayas, I think that one of them will turn on its own for lack of a nearby female. I think they can sense that there is no female and one of them will turn into a hermaphrodite. I can only say this from personal experience with other plants.
 
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In my area people cut down the males long before they can do more than put out their first flowers. So I don't know if they can be forced to produce fruit.

I have a male growing along my driveway. I never got around to cutting it down. So it often cycles through fruiting on a regular basis, without any help from me. The one fruit is formed on the very apex of the male flowering stalk. All the other flowers are strictly male. It will form about a dozen rather inferior fruits before resting, then repeats the process. Personally, I'd just plant hermaphrodites for growing fruits. Far more productive.
 
Dan Allen
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It would be worth leaving like this guy in the video, just for the birds.
 
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I've got three growing in my yard, and all three of them must be self-pollinating because I don't have a male tree anywhere, and all three of them are in very different areas of the orchard.  I have absolutely no idea how that happened, but all three of them bear fruit.
 
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I looked for local stuff and this is pretty representative of how it's done here in papayaland (although they all talk about male to female, not male to herm). [tldr: top off tree, cut trunk in a cross so it separates into 4 sections, wedge open with a stick and let it dry, and it will grow back female)



Next time I have one I'll have to try it, but since I get frost my papayas don't live long enough to set fruit.
 
Su Ba
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Cut the top off, split the trunk, wedge it, dry it, wait....a long time for growth and fruit. And hope it doesn't rot, because papaya trunks aren't woody and they often rot when heavily wounded, like when the wind breaks off the top or a side shoot. Not my style. I'm a K.I.S.S. farmer. I just sow other group of seeds and plant out the seedlings. But if one only has a couple of papayas and no place else to plant some more, .....maybe I'd try it? <<<<<<thinking>>>>>>. No, I wouldn't. It's high risk. I'm not really convinced that it works. And I'd rather put my time and farm resources into better trees that I know would give me good fruit.

Just my thoughts based on my own methods and experience.
 
Tereza Okava
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^^ that was my first thought too, they are very fragile trees (the whole thing rots down to nothing quickly enough). When you have one papaya seedling you have many, usually, and they grow quickly enough, so I agree, just move on. I suppose people get excited once a tree gets big enough to get flowers, and disappointed when those flowers turn out to be males.
 
Jondo Almondo
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Thanks for all the great replies!
It's as much a curiosity as a means of generating produce.

I've read extensively that hermie papaya's produce really inferior fruit, yet the one hermie fruit I tasted was fine.

Looking forward to splitting and wedging open the trunk when the weather dries out, getting all frankenstein on these Carica's and seeing what happens.
 
Tereza Okava
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I think it may depend on what you use your fruit for. We are big on using green papaya for cooking (like a squash) or making sweets with, and in this case since it's unripe the kind of fruit doesn't matter. If you're going to eat them ripe, then hermaphrodite plants make better fruit than females (fewer seeds). The videos I found kept mentioning females but then showed images of hermaphrodite plants, so I don't know what to think. let us know how it turns out!!!
 
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