Latin name: Asimina triloba


Family: Annonaceae


English names:


Pawpaw, Papaw, Hardy Custard Apple, Indiana Banana, Prairie Banana





German names:


Three-lobed Papau, Indian banana, Paupau, Papau



USDA climate zone:


5 to 9; that is, at -29 to -4 ° C annual temperature low the Pawpaw thrives (in the tropics it does not grow!) (And if the summer temperatures are too mild, the fruit will not finish ripening.)


(In Zone 4, successes are possible with longer breeding)




Space required per tree:


2.5 x 2.5m; Height up to 6 meters - keep lower by cutting, at about 2m the first time pruning when all fruits are to be picked by hand from the ground




Growth and care:


Medium growth rate; Mulching recommended




Flowering and pollination:


April to May; Cross pollination with a brush (swipe pollen on the scar of a neighboring tree) and through insects like flies. For example, by some fresh horse crap in the flowering time, these are attracted






September October

about 5-8 years after germination








Pawpaw cultivation from the beginning:

Cultivar or seedling?



Cultivar: a variety propagated by clones ( grafting ), genetically unchanged


Seedling: a tree grown from a seed, newly mixed genetic diversity



Originally, all pawpaw trees come from the forest in North America. They have only been actively cultivated by man for 100 years and therefore still offer a lot to discover. Each year new varieties win the Pawpaw Festival in Ohio.



Earlier, the earliest settlers in America found wild pawpaws and nuts (apples, pears and peaches were not native). The fruits were in abundant quantities until the forests were more and more cleared.


Therefore, it is now up to us to re-establish this plant.



Every seed is potentially a new variety. A small individual surprise. Once a promising new tree is thoroughly evaluated by growers and scientists it can become a named cultivar. At first we check if it is possible to propagate this plant through grafting.



If the mature seedling is a disappointment, it can be converted to a better cultivar by grafting. There are numerous videos about this, and online texts demonstrating the techniques.


Here's a video in English by Neal Peterson about grafting pawpaw using the bark inlay method.




Here is a playlist on YouTube, with everything you need to know about grafting




Before sowing:


The opinions and techniques can vary greatly among successful gardeners.


Find your way, with the material that is available and feels good for you.


Every culture starts with the seed, with the pawpaw there is a special feature.


The seeds should not dry out completely!


(It is possible to dry the surface and pack the seeds on the same day)


The surface clean seed can be so well packed in a sealed plastic bag - e.g. with sphagnum moss embedded with minimal residual moisture - stored in the refrigerator.


Even a pot with wet sand works, as long as it does not dry out! Attention with plant bags: a plant bag dries from the bottom first and is still wet on top !!



It is also common to wash the seeds with water every month.


Some white mold on the surface does not kill the seed. Only later when the mold gets inside and the seed is soft.




Remove germination inhibitors:


To do this, we simulate an artificial winter in the fridge (or sow the seeds outside in the fall).


Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.


Then towel dry and stratify for a full 120 days in a plastic bag with some sphagnum moss (or something similar to mold-resistant moisture control material) for safety.


If condensation forms, it is permanently too moist for some seeds, then swap for dry moss or dry Zewa and so catch the excess moisture, if necessary wash with soapy water. Professionals use a dilute 10% bleach solution followed by a rinse water.






The seeds germinate faster when the temperature is above 22 ° C, and less than 30° C.


Everyone does it differently, but almost everyone reaches their destination!




The seeds are first pre-germinated in a mixture of sphagnum moss + sand collected in a plant bag.


Every Sunday, I carefully empty the container and see what seeds are sprouted.


These seeds I put then for cultivation in containers with about 0.7l to 2l earth + sand (or similar soil


with good water drainage) which are at least 20cm deep and about 6-10cm wide. But better than


40cm deep, at the point I refer to my first blog article:




Many are content with too small pots for their pawpaws


Of course, the seeds can also be sown directly in deep pots. The procedure described by me saves only casting work, pour 100 pots every day ... at some point you are happy about every week where you do not have to do that and have the area free.




Germination time: 2 to 3 months


The root can emerge in 2 weeks, some seeds will not be released until next year (nature's protective mechanism to avoid a possible bad season).


So the few seeds that have not germinated after 3-4 months, again in the fridge!





Where to go with my pawpaws


Basically, there are 3 places that are suitable for the cultivation:



1. Greenhouse


1.1. Polytunnel


1.2. Glass


2. Inside


2.1. windowsill


2.2. Growbox with artificial light


3. Outside


3.1. Propagation in pots


3.2. direct seeding




1. Greenhouse


Greenhouses are perfect for raising pawpaws as quickly and cheaply as possible. Because the temperature is more constant and higher than under the open sky.


The glass or the plastic panels already filter enough UV light so that they do not have to be shaded even in the first year.


Expand to 16h light with assimilation lighting before May.




1.1. Poly(plastic) tunnel:


Basic material: plastic film, thin and flexible tubes as rods, steel rods in the bottom, bracing cords and Co.




1.2. Glass:


Anyone who already owns an old glass greenhouse in the garden can use it well. Whoever has the money can build a climate-controlled glasshouse.




2. Inside


Controlled environment, pawpaws in safety. Attention children and animals!




2.1. South windowsill


It is nice to see his babies several times a day, so I find the cultivation on a south window very nice. Pay attention to enough hours of sunshine. Only from mid-May are the days in my area certainly long enough (16 hours). If the plants do not get their normal summer time they will go back to dormancy !




2.2. Growbox


The dream of many young people, only with pawpaws! Who has old fluorescent tubes (LSR) with light color 865 lying around, which are well suited. LED, of course, too. 16h light, 8h darkness in the day.


Pc fan with power supply and a bit of wood and metal. Done is the new pawpaw hatchery.


For growing always light color daylight / blue (865), optionally with a small proportion of red light (830),


e.g. 3x 60cm LSR 865, 1x 60cm LSR 830




Or: metal halide (MH)




3. Outside


On the Internet the opinion varies that the pawpaw does not tolerate full sun / UV radiation in the first 1-2 years.


A trick is sowing the seeds where they are to grow later and leave other plants / grasses as shade donors. So you can adjust to the conditions from the beginning.


Problems arise when plants are put out of the shade in the sun during the season without conscientious habituation.




3.1. Outside in the pot


2 months before the last frost, the seeds can be kept warm to germinate!


30% to 50% shading in the first year is optimal, but not required !




3.2. direct seeding




My personal favorite from private garden view. Unbeatable cheap!


Relatively unknown to the pawpaw but first mentioned in the literature 100 years ago (here's the ebook).


Hills can be used as for melons / pumpkin cultivation. More in the book.



The seeds are sown in winter and germinate in summer. Depending on the seed size, they are put deep (3-5cm) in the soil, depending on whether the site is watered or not.



To protect, place another snail ring around the growing point.



The taproot is happy and can anchor itself in the right place from the beginning.





planting trees



Like other trees rather mix some worm humus or compost with soil and just earthy used.



Thick mulch layer as a tree slice, not! touches / wets the trunk. as a tree ring, but not touching the trunk, which can damage the tree over time.






1. mulch


Organic biomass is fertilizer, easy to apply as a mulch layer up to 20-30cm high. Do not apply fresh air-tight layers of fresh plants. Better a thin layer if e.g. fresh lawn cut is.


Always some animal dung to it.




2. liquid fertilizer


Normal biological liquid fertilizer for growth.



3. Ancient pawpaw fertilizers


The ashes of hardwoods from the forest "potash", improves the taste of many fruits. Carefully dose.



Old plaster of very old buildings / churches, insider tip. The gypsum loosens the soil and provides both calcium and magnesium.







If you have any questions about the cultivation, please contact me via e-mail:




Good luck and joy,







 More informations in my link section