HomeCropPapaya Cultivation Practices For A Bountiful Harvest

Papaya Cultivation Practices For A Bountiful Harvest

Papaya (Carica papaya) is a tropical fruit, ideal for growing in kitchen gardens. Papaya is a rich source of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, minerals and potassium. According to Second Advance Estimate of the year 2020-21, the total area under papaya cultivation in India is about 1.48 lakh ha while total production is estimated to about 5.88 million tonnes. In India, papaya is grown in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The crop is generally easy to grow and maintain, high yielding, longer fruiting period and it can provide a good income for farmers. Get a full understanding about papaya cultivation and managing pests and diseases through this detailed article.  


Papaya plants are woody tree-like plants that grow fast. The fruit is generally oval or pear-shaped and its flesh is juicy, sweet and fragrant. The papaya tree is a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 10 meters in height. Papaya plants have separate male and female flowers that grow on different plants, a characteristic known as dioecious. They are highly dependent on pollination by insects to produce fruits. Some papaya types are hermaphrodite that produces both male and female flowers on the same plants which can self-pollinate. These hermaphrodite papaya types are more popularly used in commercial production. 

Soil Requirement 

A well-drained sandy loam soil with adequate organic matter is ideal for papaya cultivation. Soil pH can range from 6 to 6.5. Papaya plants have shallow roots and are highly sensitive to water logging. In the areas receiving heavy rainfall, if the drainage is poor, it may even cause death of plants due to continuous drenching for 24 to 48 hours. Highly fertile soil with good drainage is more desirable for papaya cultivation. 


Papaya is a tropical fruit which can grow well in warm and humid climate. It is highly susceptible to frost. The ideal temperature for papaya growth is 25 – 30°C. During winter, the night temperature below 12°C may severely affect the plant growth. Temperature below 10°C may inhibit plant growth, maturity and ripening of fruits. Dry climate may induce sterility during flowering, but it contributes to adding sweetness of fruits during fruit maturity. It can grow in full sun but should be protected from wind and cold weather. Windbreaks can help to protect the plants from strong winds. 


Papaya Varieties/Hybrid  Specifications 
Red Lady Papaya 
  • Brand: Known You Seed 
  • Tolerant to papaya ringspot virus 
  • Fruit weight ranges from 1.5 – 2 kg 
  • Bears fruit at 60-80 cm height 
  • Produces over 30 fruits/plant in each fruit-setting season 
  • Fruit flesh is thick, red with 13% sugar content 
IRIS Hybrid Papaya Seeds 
  • Brand: IRIS hybrid seeds 
  • Suitable for all seasons  
  • Harvest time: 35 – 40 weeks 
  • Suitable for Home/Kitchen Garden 
URJA Madhuri Papaya Seeds 
  • Brand: URJA seeds 
  • Soft and sweet fruit flesh 
  • On maturity it turns to bright reddish orange colour  
  • Average fruit weight ranges from 1.5 to 2.0 kg 
IRIS RC-315 Papaya Seeds 
  • Brand: IRIS hybrid seeds 
  • Tall and vigorous type 
  • Fruit shape is oval 
  • Fruit weight: 1.5 – 2 kg 
  • Fruit maturity: 8 – 10 months 
  • Yellow colour fruit flesh 
  • TSS: 13 brix 
Sarpan Solo-109 Hybrid Papaya Seeds   
  • Brand: Sarpan Seeds 
  • Fruit flesh is dark orange in colour 
  • Plant bears 120-150 fruits per plant per year 
  • Harvest: 7-8 months after planting   
  • Gynodioecious plants & every plant bear fruit 
IRIS Hybrid Fruit Seeds Papaya RC-217 
  • Brand: IRIS hybrid seeds 
  • Medium tall and vigorous type 
  • Fruit shape is round 
  • Fruit weight: 2 – 2.5 kg 
  • Fruit maturity: 9 – 10 months 
  • Red colour fruit flesh 
  • TSS: 13 brix 
Rise Agro Indus Honey Gold F1 Hybrid Papaya seeds 
  • Brand: Indus seeds 
  • Fruit is reddish orange in colour 
  • Fruit weight (kg): 2 – 2.5 kg 
  • Fruit maturity: 9 months after transplanting 
  • Suitable for long-distance shipping 
  • Tolerant to papaya ringspot virus 


Seed rate 

Varieties: 200 gm/acre; Hybrid: 100 gm/acre 


Papaya is generally propagated through seeds. Fresh seeds from fully ripe fruits can be used. Papaya seeds may lose viability very quickly within 45 –60 days. In order to facilitate good germination, remove the mucilaginous coating of the seeds by rubbing them with wood ash. The seeds can be washed off and dried in the sun before using.  

Seed treatment 

Treat the seeds with Gibberellic acid at 1.25 ml/lit water to overcome dormancy and cause rapid seed germination and Bio fungicide at 10 ml/kg seeds or Carbendazim 50% WP at 0.5 – 0.8 gm/lit water to control fungal diseases like damping off, collar rot and stem rot.  


The seedlings can be raised in nursery beds or polythene bags. 

  1. Nursery beds: Raised beds of 3 m long, 1 m wide and 10 cm high can be prepared. The treated seeds should be sown 1 cm deep in rows, 10 cm apart and covered with fine compost. Light watering to be done in the morning hours. Cover the beds with polythene sheet or paddy straw to protect nursery from adverse conditions. 
  2. Polythene bags: Polythene bags of 20 cm height and 15 cm diameter, 150 to 200 gauge can be used for raising seedlings. The bags should be filled with 1:1:1 ratio of topsoil, FYM and sand. Then, dibble 4 seeds per bag in 1 cm depth. These polythene bags should be kept in partial shade. Watering can be done using rose can. 

Planting season 

June – September is the ideal season for planting papaya. But in Northeast areas, papaya can be planted in February to March to escape the frost damage at fruiting time. Avoid planting during rainy season.  


The seedlings will be ready for transplanting in about 45-60 days. In a well-prepared field, pits of 45 x 45 x 45 cm sizes are to be made with required distance. It should be filled with topsoil along with 20 kg of FYM and 1 kg of neem cake.  

  1. In case of Dioecious varieties, plant 1 male plant for every 12 – 15 female plants for pollination purpose.  
  2. In case of Gynodioecious variety, plant one seedling per pit.  

Give light irrigation after transplanting. 


Planting distance varies from variety to variety. Tall and vigorous varieties are planted at more spacing while dwarf or medium varieties are planted at closer spacing. Generally, 1.8 x 1.8 m of spacing is followed. However, for high density planting, a spacing of 1.25 x 1.25 m is recommended which can accommodate 2590 plants/acre. 

Fertilizer Requirement 

General NPK recommendation is 200:200:400 gm/plant/year 

Note: Top dressing of NPK fertilizers should be done at an interval of 60 days during vegetative and flowering stage as mentioned in the table. Apply fertilizers in trench 20 – 30 cm away from the stem around the tree, then fill the soil.  

Nutrient  Fertilizer  Dosage  Time of application 
Organic  FYM  10 kg/plant  Basal 
Neem cake  1 kg/plant  Basal 
N  Urea  108 gm/plant  1st month after planting 
108 gm/plant  3rd month after planting 
108 gm/plant   Mid of 4th month after planting 
108 gm/plant  6th month after planting 
P  Single Super Phosphate (SSP)  626 gm/plant  At the time of planting 
626 gm/plant  3rd month after planting 
K  Muriate of Potash (MOP)  250 gm/plant  At the time of planting 
250 gm/plant  3rd month after planting 
167 gm/plant  6th month after planting 
Zn  Anand Agro Insta Cheal Zn 12% Micronutrient  Foliar: 0.5 – 1 gm/lit water  1st spray: 4th month after planting 

2nd spray: 8th month after planting 


B  Linnfield Boron 20% Micronutrient  Foliar: 0.3 gm/lit water 



Adequate irrigation is necessary to prevent drought and frost attack. But water logging condition should be avoided. Protective irrigation should be given to young papaya seedlings in the first year of planting. In the second year, irrigate the plants at 7 days interval during summer and 10 to 15 days interval during winter season, if there is no incidence of rain. During summer season, maintain adequate soil moisture to avoid flower and fruit drops. Ring method, basin method or drip irrigation are different types of irrigation methods for papaya. In case of Ring and Basin methods of irrigation, we have to ensure that water doesn’t come in contact with the plant base. 

Intercultural Operations 


In the first year, deep hoeing should be done to check the weed growth. Weeding should be done regularly, especially around the plants. Controlling weeds within 3 – 4 feet of papaya plant is important for optimum plant growth and fruiting. Organic mulching using straw is highly recommended for weed control and soil moisture conservation. 

Earthing up  

Earthing up can be done before or after the onset of monsoon to prevent water logging conditions in the field and also to help plants stand erect. It can be after 4th, 6th and 8th month after planting the papaya seedlings. 

Roguing of male plants 

In dioecious papaya variety cultivation, retain only 10% of male plants in the orchard to ensure good pollination. After flowering, rogue out the extra male plants.  


To prevent the plants from lodging due to heavy wind or over-bearing of fruits, use bamboo sticks or other sticks are used to provide support.  

Fruit thinning 

When 2 – 3 fruits occur in the same pedicel, keep only one healthy fruit to ensure proper development. Carefully remove the extra fruits from the pedicel.  

Crop Protection Practices 

Pests infesting papaya plant 

Pests  Damage symptoms  Control Measures 
Green peach aphids 
  • They suck sap from leaves and causes leaf curling and distortion 
  • Causes premature drop of fruits 
  • Vector for papaya ringspot virus 

Chemical control: 

  • Yellowing, downward curling and crinkling of leaves (vector for papaya leaf curl virus) 
  • Causes shedding of leaves 
  • Sooty mould development on leaf surface due to honeydew secretion 

Chemical control: 


Red spider mite 
  • Presence of white or yellowish speckles on leaf 
  • Webbing of affected leaf surface 
  • Causes scaring on fruits 

Chemical control: 

Root knot nematode 
  • Yellowing and shedding of leaves 
  • Premature drop of affected fruits 
  • Presence of galls on roots 
  • Select seedlings without root galls for transplanting 
  • Follow crop rotation  
  • Mahua cakes can be applied to control nematodes 
  • Mix well decomposed compost with 2 kg of Multiplex safe root and broadcast in the field 

Chemical control: 

Fruit fly 
  • Larvae feed on the internal portion of semi-ripe fruits by puncturing   
  • Presence of decayed patches and oozing of fluids on affected fruits 
  • Infected fruits turn yellow and fall prematurely 
  • Dispose the dropped infested fruits 
  • Summer ploughing to destroy pupa 
  • Use tapas fruit fly trap at 6 – 8 per acre 

Chemical control: 

  • Presence of white cottony masses on leaf, stem, branches and fruits 
  • Infected portions become shiny and sticky due to honeydew secretion which causes sooty mould development 

Chemical control: 


(Note: Please check the product’s description before application to know the right time of application) 

Diseases affecting papaya plant 

Diseases  Symptoms  Control Measures 
Damping off  
  • It is mostly common in nursery beds and causes death of seedlings 
  • Stem may start to rot at the soil line 
  • Infected seedlings may start to wi 

Chemical control: 

Powdery mildew  
  • White or grayish powdery growth on the upper leaf surface, flower stalk and fruits 
  • Severely infected leaves turn yellow or brown, curl, dry up, droop and fall off 
  • Spray Pseudomonas fluorescence at 2.5 ml/lit water 
  • Spray fermented buttermilk (1:3 ratio of buttermilk & water) twice or thrice with 10 days interval 

Chemical control: 

  • Affects leaves, flowers and fruits resulting in drop off 
  • Small, black or brown circular spots appear on leaves 
  • Infected fruits may develop dark, sunken lesions later covered with pinkish, slimy spore mass 
  • Withering and defoliation of leaves 

Chemical control: 


Collar rot and stem rot 
  • Sunken, water-soaked lesions appear on the base of stem or around the collar region 
  • Stem may become soft and mushy due to the rotting of the internal tissues 
  • Infected area may turn dark brown or black and rot 
  • Yellowing of leaves, stunted growth 

Chemical control: 

Papaya ringspot virus 

Vector: Aphids 

Transmission: Sap, grafts 

  • Downward and inward curling of leaf margin, leaf distortion 
  • Mosaic pattern of light and dark green areas on leaves 
  • Presence of concentric circular rings on fruit surface 
  • Do not grow cucurbits around papaya field 
  • Plant sorghum or maize as barrier crop 
  • Spray Geolife no virus at 3 – 5 ml/lit water or  
  • Spray VC 100 at 5 gm/lit water or  
  • Spray Terra virokill at 3.3. ml/lit water 
  • To control vector aphids, look the measures mentioned in the above table 
Papaya leaf curl 

Vector: Whitefly 

  • Curling and crinkling of leaves 
  • Downward and inward curling of leaf margin 
  • Affected leaves becomes brittle, leathery and distorted 
  • Do not grow tomato, tobacco plants near the field 
  • Spray V-Bind Bio viricide at 2 – 3 ml/lit water  
  • Spray 2.5 ml/lit water of Multiplex General liquid Micronutrient which help to develop resistance the disease  
  • To control vector whitefly, look the measures mentioned in the above table 


Alternaria Leaf Spot 
  • Small, circular or irregular brown spots with concentric rings surrounded by yellow halo on the affected leaves 
  • Defoliation of affected leaves 
  • Circular to oval black lesions on fruit surface  

Chemical control: 

(Note: Please check the product’s description before application to know the right time of application) 


The economic life span of papaya trees is 3-4 years. Harvesting of papaya too early or too late might increase the risk of postharvest physiological disorders. The papaya tree starts flowering and sets fruits in about 6 – 7 months. The fruits become ready for harvesting in 10 – 11 months from planting. Fruit ripening is indicated by the change in fruit colour from green to yellowish green. Harvesting should be done by hand using sharp knives. 

Harvesting indices:  

  • Fruit colour changes from dark green to light green with a slight tinge of yellow at apical end 
  • Fruits can be harvested when the latex of fruit becomes watery  

Average Yield

Average yield per plant: 30 – 50 kg 

Average yield per acre: 12 – 16 tons (1st year); 6 – 8 tons (2nd year) 

Extraction of Papain 

Papain is a proteolytic enzyme that is commonly extracted from papaya fruit widely used in meat, pharmaceutical, food, textile and cosmetic industry. Here are the steps involved in the extraction of papain from papaya: 

  1. For papain extraction, tapping of latex is done in mature fruits which are 70 – 90 days old from fruit set. 
  2. It should be done early in the morning before 10:00 am. 
  3. Using razor blade or sharp pointed bamboo stick, give four equally spaced longitudinal cut/incisions from stalk to fruit tip. The depth of the cut should not be > 3mm.  
  4. Tapping should be repeated on the same fruit four times at an interval of 3 – 4 days. Cuts should be made on places of fruit surface not covered previously.  
  5. Collect the latex from the fruits in aluminum tray and shade dry it. Drying can also be done rapidly using an oven at 45 – 50°C temperature. 
  6. Filter them using sieve mesh and then add 0.05% potassium meta bisulphite (KMS) to the latex to get better colour and keeping quality. 
  7. Dried latex is powdered, sieved through mesh, packed in polythene bags and sealed. 

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