Growing pawpaw trees – Air Layering Propagation is the Best

How does it feel to always buy pawpaws when you have your own plants at home that you can use to make more plants from through propagation? wouldn’t it be great to have the best skills to make your own plants from your very own plant in your home that you know very well it is nice and sweet? I know that it is expensive to buy plants because sometimes a plant may die and you may not be able to go back to claim for refund, Just imagine if you were growing and propagating them by your self. How many plants would you be having with just the appropriate skills and a little equipment, How much would you be saving?. It is in my best interest to walk you through the process of growing pawpaw trees so you will have the best quality fruits in your own home.

Grow the parent plant

The first thing you need to know is that you need to have the parent plant to propagate pawpaws successfully. The first task would be to grow the pawpaw from seed then making sure to care for it up until it grows to maturity and developed in the stem. This is one thing for sure you need to do in the first 2 years of growth from seed making sure you are giving the pawpaw plant everything it needs to grow fast and well.

As the plant grows please do make sure that they are well spaced and please do note that the only plants you can propagate are the female plants, so you need to work hard towards growing the female plant and there should be one or no male plant because some pawpaw plants are haemathetic, meaning they are self pollinating. That you have to find out when buying the seedlings from the nursery.

Spacing The plants

When growing the pawpaws you need to make sure that you have enough potash because for paw paws to grow well they need more potash, Potash. Potash will really accelerate the growth. So when the plants are as tall as 1.5 miters trim the shoot to promote suckering. As the plants produce more suckers you are having an advantage to have more shoots and more chances to propagate. This is that simple to do and you need to make sure that there are no plants that give shade to your pawpaw plants because pawpaw plants need full sun to grow well and produce.

Spacing the plants will also give sun an exposure to all the shoots and making them stronger in the process.

Propagating the suckers

The sucker need to be grown and matured to be able to perform a successful graft so you need to make sure that the suckers are strong enough. This is how you can see a week sucker ,

Premature sucker

  • Their stem will look shiny
  • The stem will shrink when pressed

Matured Sucker

  • Matured suckers have a stem similar to that of the parent plant.
  • When pressed they remain rigid and they won’t brake or shrink

After having done well all the above, you are half-way through with the job of preparing and growing your pawpaws for suckering and I am now taking you to the process of pruning pawpaw trees provided you are having pawpaw trees that you are not even able to pick because the plant has grown too tall to reach for the pawpaws. Maybe your plants are eaten only by birds at this point and you no longer see the need of having the plant in your home. I am here for you here to show you that even that plant that has grown even taller can be used to produce young healthy plants by pruning it and encouraging suckering. This you need to do in the beginning of the growing season when all plants are growing and there are enough rains to give water to the plant.

Pruning the plant

To prune the plant you need to have a saw. Just make sure you are safe and make sure there are no buildings or plants which the pawpaw plant may fall upon when cut. If there are any buildings, start by tying a rope right above where you are to cut and pull the pawpaw plant to a safe direction where it will cause no destruction and stretching pulling it to that direction, then you tie to another end and then you can go for your pruning

Cut it at about four meters from the ground. After having cut the pawpaw plant get good and clean plastic bags to cover the top end where you have just cut preventing water entering which may result to a home of insects exposing the plant to fungus and diseases. You simply have to cover an inch from the top of the cutting ensuring not to close a way for the upcoming suckers.

Fertilizing the plants

It really is the best thing to accelerate the growth of the shoots by adding fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen since nitrogen helps to stimulate the growth of the shoots. You need to apply the fertilizer once in two weeks and make sure you water the plants to dissolve the fertilizer so it can be in action as soon as possible stimulating the growth of the shoots getting them ready for grafting.

Air Layering Your pawpaw Plant

Now that you have suckers in your plants you need to do the job and all you need to have is an ice bag, peat moss and a knife. Fill the ice bag with compost and tie at the top of the bag. Get a step larder to reach well in higher places where you are unable to reach well. Use your sharp knife to cut and split a space of about two centimeters from where the sucker starts. Make sure not cut the shoot but you split.Splitting this is as easy as cutting at an angle of 45 degrees from below and making sure not to reach the center of the sucker as reaching the center will weaken its stability.

After having split a small potion you need to get maybe a tooth pick and force it horizontally upwards to the end of the split. The tooth pick is to maintain the split and avoid reuniting of the split.

After having done that please get your ice bag filled with peat moss and slightly cut at the center along a space of about 2 cm then you hold the plastic bag on your palm gentle squizing to cover where you have split. Then use strings to tie around making sure that there is no air entering inside the plastic bag.

It is very important to make sure that the area you have split does not re uniting. Reuniting will result to no results because the only purpose for splitting is to open a way for the roots to form. The roots will form on one of the split parts in a space of about 6 weeks and in a space of about two months there you will notice white roots forming along the plastic bag. You will have to cut as you see both the small and large roots, and that can be done only after you are sure the best network of roots have formed to give the young plant all the nutrients it needs as it will be on its own and away from its parent plant and this system is called air layering propagation.

Cutting For Planting

Use your saw again to cut beneath the rooted part and gently remove the plastic bag ensuring not to disturb the root ball. After having cut the young plant dig a small hole or you have to prepair it prior the cutting time and making sure you have added potassium and nitrogen in the hole. Then you are ready to plant. Position it in the hole and ensuring not to sink it too deep to the soil then you gentle press around slightly compacting the soil around it to give it a good position and grow it upright. The only thing important now is to water your plant.

In the first day after having cut and planted your plant you will notice that the leaves are wilting and please do not be surprised. The plant is responding and adapting to a new environment. After one day it will be fine again and healthy growing.


Pawpaws can be as simple as that to propagate and it is even easier to do that when you have the big old plants in your home that are no longer giving a good produce and are too tall to reach for the ripe fruits. All you need to do is follow everything that has been well elaborated in details above. Fruits in such plants can be easily be picked by even young kids and that is fantastic. The power of plant propagation is the power to agri business


12 thoughts on “Growing pawpaw trees – Air Layering Propagation is the Best

  1. Daniel Reply

    I must say that this article is very interesting and helpful. I know so many folks who are growing this tree but honestly, I think that it is not that easy. I asked my friend who grow this plant and he said that this plant is great for growing because you can earn nice money selling it but I don’t know would I succeed in it.

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Hello Daniel, growing pawpaws is not a difficult thing to do it is very simple. You can either grow them from seed or do air layering propagation. just like the other plants you grow pawpaws are not in anyway complicated or different. It is just simple to germinate.

  2. Solomon Reply

    I just got built my first house and I have this really big open space right behind and I couldn’t figure out what to do with it until my wife suggested we planted trees. I have been doing a lot of research on this and pawpaws are a great way to start. I’m thinking of planting tomatoes next tho. This was a very educative post and I’m glad to have found it and to have it bookmarked for when I start planting to follow your detailed step by step instructions. Thank you again!

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Hello Solomon, i am really grateful i could help, you truly can have the best pawpaw trees with this method of propagation explained above. All you need to do is to reserve a small space to grow pawpaw plants for your family to eat and as well as diversifying for anything else that you wanna plant. Pawpaws are truly the best for good digestion.

  3. Mariah Reply

    My little brother loves propagating plants himself! He grows avocados from the pits when we buy avocados at the store and he has some really awesome looking pineapple plants that he grew from simply cutting off the top of a pineapple and planting it. He has been talking about getting a pawpaw plant for a while.

    I think he said that pawpaws are pretty easy to grow and that they actually are very hardy plants. This was surprising to me because I always thought they were mainly tropical plants. I will go ahead and shoot him your article to see if he can learn anything useful for himself so he can grow pawpaw’s.

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Hello Maria, It is so amazing to have a brother like yours who love plants like i do, plants are really great. I wish i could connect with your brother maybe we can help each other and give each other insights on how some plants are grown. This article about paw paws will really have the best information for him to grow great and quality pawpaws.

  4. Francesco Reply

    Thank you for giving us a thorough explanation of how to air layer propagate a paw paw tree. I have never heard of these plants and their bearing fruits. I also didn’t know how important they were to the agriculture business or how meticulously involved it is to care for them. Great information for gardeners and harvesters. 

    My question is what is propagation exactly? And how do you eat the fruit from paw paw trees? How is it prepared in dishes? —Francesco

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Hey Francesco, It really is a pleasure to me to give people who have never known the pawpaws a good and detailed information on how to grow pawpaws, maybe you can try it out in your garden after having read about it in this article.Propagation is to multiply by any natural reproduction process from the parent plant. Pawpaws can be eaten when they are they are ripe and yellow. You just cut with a knife and use a spoon to eat whats inside.

  5. andy Reply

    I have never heard of a PawPaw plant.  What is it exactly? I love anything to do with growing things.  I love all plants and the whole growing process.  This sounds like an awesome way to grow these plants.  I will have to find out more about the PawPaw plant. What does it taste like?

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Pawpaw plants plants that grow and do well in tropical areas, it actually do best in full sun and not in frost areas.Pawpaws are really good for digestion and when ripe they turn yellow with black seeds which are not eaten.It taste very sweet depending on the type of pawpaw.

  6. Abagatan Reply

    I don’t know if the paw paw is what we call the papaya. I can only assume since it is  what I see in the  picture. 

    What interests me is that you can trim the shoots which I never heard in the care of papaya. 

    One thing I like to know is how to determine what is a female and a male.  For to us in the farm or Klingon we don’t plant papayas but they just grow naturally and which will bear fruit are female and that doesn’t bear fruit are males and we cut them down.

    Thank you for this post I am eager to hear for the next details about this paw paw propagation. 

    • Nkhosingiphile Simelane Reply

      Hey Abagatan, you are very right to say pawpaws are papayas, It is so amazing to know that pawpaws grow naturally with you , in my country we grow them. when grown from seed you need to grow them to be more than one in a place to accommodate the fact that there will be both male and female plants. It is true that some female pawpaw plants are self pollination but sometimes you do need just one male plant for cross pollination.

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