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Papaya - should I use a grow light?

I live in hardiness zone 8A and had some beautiful papaya trees spring up in our garden this past Spring (we amended our soil with compost, which had lots of papaya seeds in it). No it is November and we have lots of beautiful fruit on the trees we have kept. They are still green and they range from 1-4 inches. I would really like to get these trees to produce ripe fruit and to keep them alive through the winter in hopes of getting them to fruit earlier next year.

We have built a frame around the majority of the plants (about 5 of them) and then wrapped that frame with plastic. Unfortunately, the plastic we got our hands on is not greenhouse/plant plastic, as it is opaque and does not let enough light through.

I'm considering buying some grow lights to position inside this very rudimentary greenhouse. However, I'm having trouble finding information about what kind of light to use. I understand that blue light encourages foliage growth and red light encourages blooming, but what to use on a plant that has already bloomed and has fruit? A secondary consideration is warmth - I obviously need to keep the temp above 32 degrees F but is the minimum threshold to produce fruit higher?

I'm pretty sure the area where we have the plants is getting at least 8 hours of light, but not always direct or full sun.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,243

    Here in the UK, too many frosts for Papaya to survive.  You would need a huge heated greenhouse. I think it would be cheaper to buy at Sainsburys.  Assuming you are in USA ( Seattle??)  I think you will struggle. Papaya are sub tropical and grow into huge trees up to 30ft.

  • I am in the US but on the east coast - Wilmington,  NC.. We clipped the tops off the papayas so they are about 5-6 ft. We've already built a frame around them and covered them. I'm willing to work for these papayas but my biggest question is really,  what kind of grow light does one use for an already fruiting tropical tree to get the fruit ripe enough to harvest? 

    Note: our winters can be very mild with very few frosts in January or February. 

    Last edited: 30 October 2017 15:04:07

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