Q: I am sending you a picture of my papaya tree. I planted the seed in my garden last year. It was about 2 feet high when I transplanted it to a large pot and put it in the garage by a window last fall.
This past spring I put it out in the garden again and am excited that it bore fruit. This picture taken October 7 so I am hopeful they will ripen before frost.
A: WOW and CONGRATULATIONS! I’ve never seen a papaya growing in Georgia….only in the tropics. The North American Fruit Explorers organization has a southern sub-group called the Southern Fruit Fellowship (www.nafex.org/sff.htm). You should contact them.
The California Rare Fruit Growers group (www.crfg.org) has a great series of factsheets on tropical fruits. According to them, papaya must have warmth throughout the year and will be damaged by light frosts. Brief exposure to 32 degrees̊ F is damaging. These fruit enthusiasts can offer lots of information on tropical plants that have a chance of surviving winter here.
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