Dwarf papayas are fruit-bearing trees that grow to heights of less than 10 feet. In fact, many varieties stop at between 3 and 5 feet. If you love the taste of papaya but you don't live in the tropics, a dwarf papaya is an ideal choice for you. With the correct care, you can grow a thriving indoor plant that produces papayas each season.
Plant the Dwarf Papaya
If you're growing a dwarf papaya from seed, fill a pot with a mixture of perlite and potting compost. Water the mixture liberally, and plant the seeds. Wait until the seeds germinate. The process may take up to 8 weeks.
After the plant reaches 4 or 5 inches tall, or if you're using a plant from a nursery, transplant it into a larger container. Buy a potting soil mix that has a pH balance between 6 and 6.5. Look for soil that is formulated to drain well. Pour it to the halfway point of a 15-gallon container, and place the plant in the center. Add potting mix until the roots are covered. Pack the soil firmly, adding more as needed.
Choose a Sunny Location
Load the full planter onto a dolly, and move it to an indoor spot that gets a steady stream of sunlight. Dwarf papayas need a great deal of sun, so position the plant in the brightest possible place. A greenhouse, sun room or porch are all ideal locations. Rotate the planter 1/4 turn every week to avoid uneven growth.
Monitor the Temperature
Ensure that your dwarf papaya space stays at approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If the room tends to get cool, install a heating mat under the plant to create a stable climate.
Bring the tree outdoors in the summer if you live in a warm climate, but take it back inside if the temperature drops below 65 degrees. Never expose the tree to low temperatures; a few minutes in freezing temperatures can kill it. Dwarf papayas thrive in hot weather, so don't worry about leaving it outside in the heat.
Manage Moisture and Humidity
Water the dwarf papaya with a watering can every three or four days, making sure that the water does not pool on top of the soil. In warmer weather, you may need to do this more often. Do not allow the soil to get soggy, as overly wet soil can kill the papaya tree.
Maintain a steady level of moderate humidity in your papaya tree's space. If you live in a dry climate, put the pot on a low plant stand and slide a tray of wet pebbles underneath. Add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to keep moisture in, and spray the leaves with a fine mist of water.
Fertilize the Plant
Buy a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer, and mix it according to the directions on the package. Fertilize the tree once per month during the spring and summer. During the winter, use a small shovel to add smaller amounts of fertilizer every two months or so. Avoid over-fertilizing the tree.
How to Buy Dwarf Papaya Growing Supplies on eBay
Whether you're a new gardener or an experienced horticulturist, you can find everything you need to grow dwarf papaya trees on eBay. Type the name of the product into the search bar that appears at the top of every page, and click the Search button. Refine your results by clicking on the boxes next to the filters on the left side of the page. Be sure to read the descriptions carefully to ensure that the planting supplies are appropriate for your location and climate.