picture taken by me


Carica papaya is a flowering plant which means that it reproduces sexually through alternation of generations. The lifecycle has a diploid sporophyte phase which is followed by a haploid gametophyte phase.  The sporophyte produces spores via meiosis while the gametophyte produces gametes via mitosis.  In flowering plants, such as the C. papaya, the female gametes (eggs) are produced in the archegonium and the male gametes (sperm) are produced in the antheridium.  Since C. papaya is a vascular plant, its dominant phase is the sporophyte. 

This diagram shows the general life cycle of Carica papaya.
diagram of a plant life cyle created by me

A single plant can be male, female, or both, but they are usually one or the other.  Only female flowers produce fruits, males do not.  This plant grows fairly quickly being able to produce fruit in as little as 18 months.  The fruit itself can get quite large as well with sizes ranging from 1lb to up to 20lbs.  Carica papaya is a little picky about its perfect mating and growing conditions.  It requires specific temperatures and water but if you pay attention to these two things, you can grow your own C. papaya tree at home!

C. papaya. Picture taken by me

How to Grow Your Own Papaya

SUN: Papaya’s require a lot of sunlight and heat. They can be grown in the shade, but then the    fruit does not get as sweet. Cold temperatures (below 60ºF/16ºC) and wind will destroy your plant with prolonged exposure so you want to plant it in an area where you can control the temperature and wind. If temperatures are below freezing, it can kill the plant. If you are planting inside, you will want to turn the plant every week so the plant grows evenly. This is because the plant will start to grow towards the sunlight.

cartoon of a sun created by me
WATER: Other than temperature, the other factor that can be harmful to your papaya plant is having soil that is too moist. The plant grows best when the soil is a little moist in warm temperatures and dry in cooler temperatures. Too much water can cause root rot which will quickly kill the plant. It is important to find a balance so the plant receives enough water to support itself but not too much that will kill it.

Papaya seeds.  Picture taken by me
PLANTING:  Plants can be grown from the seeds which can be acquired from the fruit itself.  Collect seeds from the center of the fruit and allow them to dry out.  They require a lot of nutrients, therefore should be planted in well fertilized soil.  Also, these plants do not transplant well, so should be planted in a large pot so at most it needs to be transplanted once.  Plastic bags should be used to protect the plant against frost and also to help keep the soil moist.

To find out more about how this plant gets its nutrients, head to the nutrition page.

Check out some other cool organisms at Multiple Organisms