Crop Establishment

Calendar of Nursery Operations

1 day
Sowing in polythene bags and watering with rose can
10-15 days
Germination of seeds
30 days Drench the seedlings with the fungicides solution containing 1 g of copper oxychloride dissolved in 1 litre of water
55 days Transplant the seedlings in the main field


Season of Planting

  • The time of planting papaya depends on several factors like climatic conditions of the place, availability of irrigation facilities and consumer demands in the area.
  • Plant papaya year round if irrigation facilities are available.
  • The best time to plant papaya in most parts of India is the beginning of the South-West monsoon in the light rainfall tracts and the close of the monsoon in the heavy rainfall tracts.
  • Plant papaya during from July month under Tamil Nadu condition.



  • The most common method of propagation of papaya is from seed.
  • Vegetative means of propagation are not very practical although it may be desirable to preserve good selections through vegetative means.
  • Both grafting and rooting of cuttings are easily accomplished but are too laborious to justify their commercial use.
  • In contrast, seeds are produced abundantly and they germinate readily in 10 to 15 days and uniformly.
  • Raise papaya using only good quality seed of desired variety.


Size of Seedlings for Transplanting

  • Size of seedling is an important consideration for the success of transplanting.
  • Under normal growing conditions in about two months time seedlings reach to a height of 15-25 cm.
  • Such seedlings establish successfully.
  • It is easy to lift them at this stage from the nursery bed without any severe injury to the fibrous roots or succulent stem.
  • Young seedlings are best transplanted because they tend to produce a better root system and do better after field planting.
  • Provide shade to the newly transplanted seedlings which can cut sun-light by 50%.
  • This protects the seedlings from wilting/death before they become established in the field, pots or polythene sleeves.
  • Remove the shade in 2-3 weeks after transplanting.



  • For papaya cultivation select a plot having good drainage and well protected from high winds.
  • Before planting, clear off all the vegetation in the land.
  • In virgin and newly reclaimed soils, use bulldozers to clear and grade the land, then use a heavy roller to pull over to level the surface.
  • Dig the pits of 45 x 45 x 45 cm3 at a spacing of 1.8 m either way which accommodate about 3090 plants/hectare.
  • Plant at 1.4 x 1.4 m or 1.4 x 1.6 m if dwarf varieties are available.
  • Allow weathering for one or two weeks and then fill with top soil mix with farmyard manure or compost @ 20-25 kg/pit.
  • If the land has been ploughed deep, it is not necessary to dig deep pits.
  • Make a small hole with a hand trowel of 15-23 cm diameter to receive the seedlings.
  • As a precautionary measure, after filling the pits with pit mixture, water well in order to allow the soil to settle thoroughly before transplanting.

Main field operations (for 1 year)

1st day Plough the land
1 week after 1 st ploughing Apply FYM to the field
2nd week after first ploughing Plough the land 2nd time
55 days after sowing Transplant the seedlings in the main field
60 days after sowing Drench the soil around the plants with the solution containing 2 g copper oxychloride dissolved in 1 litre of water.
3 -3 ½ month after transplanting Thinning the male plants in dioecious sex form and apply 1st dose of fertilizers
5th month after planting Apply 2nd dose of fertilizers and earth up the plants
7th month after planting Apply 3rd dose of fertilizers
9th month after planting Apply 4th dose of fertilizers and drench the soil with the solution containing 2.5 g of copper oxy chloride dissolved in litre water
11th month after planting Apply 5th dose of fertilizers
13th month after planting Apply 6th dose of fertilizers


Raising of Papaya Seedlings

  • Different methods of raising seedlings are practiced for planting viz., in the nursery beds, in germination trays or seed flats.
  • Use polythene bags of 150 gauge for raising papaya seedlings which have been found quite satisfactory.
  • Sow 250g of seeds in the polybags to plant one hectare at a spacing of 1.8 metres either way.
  • In case of pot or bag sowing method, sow only 2-3 seeds per pot to compensate for poor germination, insect damage and removal of male plants at the time of flowering.
  • Prepare the nursery about two months prior to the scheduled date of planting.
  • This will allow enough time for the seedlings to be ready for transplanting with a height of about 15-25 cm.
  • Sow the seeds in raised beds whose surface is well pulverized and heavily manured with decayed farmyard manure or compost, 1-2 cm deep and 2-3 cm apart within rows spaced at 15 cm. Water the seed beds daily with a rosecan except on the rainy days.
  • Avoid waterlogging situations as this leads to a fungal disease called "damping off" which kills the seedlings.


In vitro propagation and Intercrop

In vitro propagation

  • Leaf bits, apices and axillary buds are suitable for mass multiplication through in vitro culture.
  • Murashige and Skoog medium with benzyl amino purine at 2.0 µM + 0.5 µM NAA produce rapid proliferation of tissues.


  • When papaya is grown as main crop, all kinds of vegetables can be grown as intercrops for about six months from planting.
  • Vegetables such as cowpea, tomato, clusterbean can be grown as intercrop. The papaya itself is often grown as intercrop in plantations of other fruits where the spacing required for the main crop is more than 5 metres like mango, sapota, guava, lemon etc.


Seed production Technology

  • Germination improvement : Soak seeds in 100 ppm GA3 for 16 hours or in 2% fresh leaf extract of arappu or 1% pungam leaf extract or pellet the seeds with arappu leaf powder.
  • Optimum depth of sowing : Sow seeds at 1cm depth for better germination and seedling growth.
  • Seed extraction : Fruit size or weight has no association with seed quality except that the seed content is more in large fruits and less in small fruits. The seeds from different fruit weight or size classes did not differ in their quality. Hence, all ripened fruits can be used for seed extraction.
  • Grading : BSS 6 wire mesh sieve.
  • Storage : Dry seeds to 8-10% moisture and treat with halogen mixture containing CaOCl2, CaCO3 and arappu leaf powder (at 5:4:1 ratio) @ 3g/kg and pack in cloth bag to maintain viability upto 5 months.

Invigoration of old seeds

  • Stored seeds can be invigorated by soaking them in dilute solution of disodium phosphate (10-4 M) adopting 1:8 seed to solution ratio for 4 hours followed by drying back to original moisture content.