Did you know there are several different types of papaya? People also call this delightful fruit Pawpaw, and a cute nickname isn’t the only sweet thing about it!
Papaya is a delicious fruit, native to Central America.
All papaya varieties love the sun and are highly sensitive to frost. It makes their cultivation a bit tricky and limited to tropical, frost-free climates. Nevertheless, even if you live outside these zones, you can only benefit from learning more about this amazing fruit!
Let’s go through lovely Papaya varieties and their features!
1. Oak Leaved Papaya
Oak Leaved papaya features a fast-growing plant, and it preserves the form of a small tree. The average height is between 15 and 25 feet.
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Oak Leaved papaya got the name because of the characteristic leaves with five or seven serrated fingers. As you imagine, those look almost exactly like the foliage on the oak trees.
Papayas are small and have a slightly oval shape. The skin is gold with peachy tones, and inside is orange flesh. The flavor is distinct, musky sweet with a hint of freshness.
The flesh also holds dark seeds, which are edible, too. If you don’t like the peppery taste, stay-aways from the seeds.
Oak Leaved papaya is native to South America. This papaya variety is also available in powder form and is rich in vitamin C and A. Minerals worth mentioning are calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphates.
2. Kamiya Papaya
Kamiya papaya is a standout fruit type from Hawaii, first cultivated half a century ago.
These papayas are large and round. Single Kamiya papaya weighs approximately three pounds and has thick, orange juicy flesh.
The skin is greenish, yellow, and paler than some other varieties. However, Kamiya fruits are difficult to clean from seeds.
The Kamiya papaya tree is medium-size and bears fruits on low heights. Therefore, harvesting fresh Kamiya papayas is simple.
Kamiya papaya needs a warm, tropical climate. In Hawaii, the farmers struggle to keep their crops safe from the ringspot virus which threatens the Kamiya papaya more than any other crops in that state. The fruits are rich in sugar and delicious!
General recommendations for growing papaya from seeds.
3. Hortus Gold Papaya
Hortus Gold papaya is an interesting cultivar. Papaya needs a tropical climate, full sun exposure, and moderate watering to thrive. USDA hardiness zones from 10a to 11 are suitable for growing Hortus Gold papaya.
Hortus Gold papaya is sensitive to overwatering, so well-draining soil is recommended. This herbaceous papaya is also an attractive ornamental tree.
The Hortus Gold papaya tree grows between 15 and 20 feet. If you decide to grow multiple trees, space them at a six feet distance, to give each tree enough space for proper root development. Plant it in mildly acidic soil for the best results.
However, the tree will tolerate neutral soil, as long as it is rich and evenly moist. You can start it in spring from clean and dry seeds.
Hortus Gold papaya blooms may bloom any time of the year. The flowers are white and fragrant. It is one of the most popular cultivars in South Africa. Some sources also state that Hortus Gold has been developed in South Africa.
4. Bettina Papaya
Bettina is a hybrid variety, and one of the papaya types commercially produced in Australia, specifically Queensland. It is also a fuss-free papaya variety with lovely sweet and delicious flesh.
Also, if you don’t like the seeds in your papaya, aim for Bettina fruits, because they contain fewer seeds than other varieties.
Bettina papaya is round and each fruit is large, with an average weight between three and five pounds. The skin is thick and green, and the inside flesh is coral orange.
Similar to other papaya trees, Bettina doesn’t get taller than 20 feet. Keep the six feet distance between individual trees for the best crops. In general, growing Bettina papaya is very similar to the general growing recommendations for papaya trees.
Bettina successfully grows only in climates where temperatures don’t drop between 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, it is a frost-sensitive plant.
5. Samba Papaya
Samba papaya is a newer papaya type, available from 2018. The fruits are large and heavy and feature an elongated shape. Samba papayas can be 7 inches long with a wide neck and round end.
Samba papayas have green skin, which slowly transforms into mottled yellow and becomes almost bright orange when the fruit is ripe. The Samba papaya flesh is a coral orange with reddish glare and is known for its melting quality!
The fruits are in season from early summer through fall. They are also healthy and contain high amounts of amino acids and beta carotene.
Samba papaya is grown commercially in Hawaii, Mexico, South East Asia. People usually eat it raw, but you can cook it in desserts and add it to various dishes.
6. Waimanalo Papaya
Waimanalo papaya is another popular Hawaii cultivar. It is a herbaceous tree with an average height between ten and 15 feet. Waimanalo papaya grows surprisingly fast!
You can start it from seeds and expect the first fruits to appear in less than a year! Warm temperatures are required for optimal growth, so you can only grow it in USDA zones from 10a to 11.
Because the trees are somewhat smaller than the rest of the papaya varieties, you can grow Waimanalo papaya in large containers. You can bring them inside for winter.
The fruits are large and weigh around two pounds.
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7. Kapoho Papaya
Kapoho papaya fruits are shaped like pears and are rich in sugar. The skin is greenish to yellow. As the fruit ripens, the skin becomes warm yellow.
Kapoho papaya features yellow flesh, which has a taste between peach and melon. It is also grown in Hawaii, like other papaya varieties.
Kapoho papaya is rich in vitamin A and C, potassium, and fiber, similar to other papaya types. People love them raw, in smoothies, or dry!
8. Hawaiian Sunrise Papaya
Sunrise papaya is also known as Strawberry papaya. It features rich, pinkish-orange flesh and a delicate, sweet taste.
Sunrise papaya is one of the most popular papaya varieties, originating from Hawaii.
Sunrise papaya has a tasty blend of banana, mango, and peach flavor! The fruits are in season from May to September.
Sunrise papaya needs warm temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But, if you live in a colder climate, you can grow it in large containers and keep it inside during winter and fall.
The average height of the Sunrise papaya tree is between eight and ten feet. If you plant to grow multiple Sunrise papayas, space them at four feet distance. It should be enough for the trees to grow vigorously.
9. Hawaiian Sunset Papaya
Sunset is a newer papaya hybrid. It has salmon flesh and looks a lot like the Sunrise variety. The difference is that Sunset papaya has uniform-sized fruits, which are smaller than Sunrise.
The taste and the growing requirements are quite similar. Also, Sunset papaya fruits need less time to ripe and are available earlier in the season. At the same time, Sunset papayas have a longer shelf life, compared to other papaya types.
Sunset papaya is excellent for commercial production because it is highly productive. On average, one acre of Sunset papaya can produce between 20 and 40 tons of fruits.
Also, Sunset papaya isn’t as prone as some other types to anthracnose. But, it is susceptible to the ringspot virus.
10. Ishigaki Wondrous
Ishigaki Wondrous is a newer, semi-dwarf papaya cultivar. The seeds have been available since 1997 and the tree soon started to bear high-quality fruits. The season starts early and has short internodes.
Ishigaki Wondrous is also suitable for container growing. Because it is a semi-dwarf tree, Ishigaki Wondrous is easy to harvest. The leaves and fruits don’t differ much from common papaya varieties and can be difficult to distinguish at a glance.
The fruits are slightly elongated though, with bright orange flesh and dark seeds. Ishigaki Wondrous is easy to clean from seeds and has a delicious sweet taste. It has the most health benefits when you consume it raw.
But, you can also add it to your smoothies, desserts, and some exotic dishes for a hint of sweetness.
11. Allegheny Papaya
Allegheny papaya is a premium cultivar of this delicious fruit. It is one of the most productive varieties and excellent for commercial manufacturing.
Allegheny papaya differs from other papaya varieties because the skin doesn’t turn yellow as the fruit ripens. Instead, it remains completely green.
The fruits are medium-sized, and approximately 8% go to seeds. The flesh is sweet, rich, smooth, and firm. The color is bright yellow and the taste includes a hint of citrus taste.
The average weight of each Allegheny papaya is half a pound. But, to keep all fruits uniformly sized, farmers need fruit thinning. Otherwise, fruits will remain smaller.
12. Sunnybank Papaya
Sunnybank papaya is an excellent variety for zones 10a to 11. The tree cannot survive low temperatures and need full sun exposure.
Other growing requirements include fast-draining soil and medium moisture. If you overwater the Sunnybank papaya, the tree won’t establish soon and the crops will be affected.
Sunnybank grows as an average papaya tree. It rarely gets above 20 feet tall and bears fruit low.
During the blooming season, Sunnybank papaya is especially pretty with lovely whitish flowers. Blooms are fragrant and attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and common pollinators.
Sunnybank papaya isn’t picky about the soil pH value. It can grow in soil with a pH between 6.1 to 7.8. but neutral soil ensures the best growing environment.
13. Royal Star Papaya
Royal star papaya is a newer papaya hybrid with a fast growth rate. Also, the fruits are available year-round. The seeds have only been around since 2011.
Royal star papaya fruits are smaller and sweeter than the rest of the types. The seeds are star-shaped and have an excellent shelf life.
Also, the fruits stay fresh on the shelves twice as long as other papaya fruits. Therefore, Royal star papaya is an excellent choice for shipping long distances.
A raw Royal star papaya is rich in beta carotene, amino acids, and enzymes. But, these sweet fruits have a lot of sugar. These fruits are also rich in vitamins C, A, K, and E and minerals folate and potassium.
Royal star papaya is rich in vitamin B-complex, calcium, copper, and omega-6 fatty acids. Therefore, they make a delicious snack and a wonderful dessert.
Royal star Papaya is mostly grown in Mexico and Texas. But, this excellent hybrid is slowly spreading to Portugal and Spain.
14. Mexican Red Papaya
Compared to Hawaii papayas, Mexican red papaya is muskier and less sweet. Sometimes, they are called Maradol papayas.
The fruits are large, oval, and often irregularly shaped. Mexican papayas have dark green skin, which turns yellow when ripe. Salmon-colored flesh features tiny black seeds, which are also edible!
As the name suggests, Mexico grows the largest amounts of this papaya variety.
The fruits are available year-round, and the average weight of each papaya is three pounds. They have the same growing requirements as all other papaya types.
The growth rate difference between Mexican VS Hawaiian papaya.
15. Coorg Honey Dew
Coorg Honey Dew is also referred to as Madhu Bindu. It is a semi-dwarf papaya variety with an average fruit size of between three and four pounds.
The skin is dark green and textured. Coorg Honey Dew is a hermaphrodite tree.
You can distinguish between male and female fruits by their shape. Male fruits are elongated, while female papayas are ovoid.
Coorg Honey Dew fruits are sweet, but they melt quickly and have a short shelf life.
Grow Papayas in Your Garden For a Healthy, Summer Treat
Papayas are usually grown from seeds you can get from ripe fruits. You can start them from supermarket seeds, but I always recommend getting seeds from nurseries, you’ll know which papaya variety you are growing.
Whichever variety you decide to grow, ensure the tree gets plenty of sunshine, warmth, and moderate watering. In less than a year, you’ll enjoy the first papaya fruits from your garden!
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