Pawpaw Plants – Florida Native

Pawpaw: Zebra Swallowtail butterfly host plant/tree/shrub. (This page is about growing southern pawpaw species, not Asimina triloba.)

Have you noticed that our southern scrubby pawpaw species can be harrowed or mowed and it will normally grow back with fresh tender growth within a few weeks? Yet if it is dug up and replanted, it will usually die. Oh, those frustrations of pawpaw!

We have had success in sprouting and growing several FL native species from seed by planting fresh seed in soil, 1/2 inch deep, and patiently waiting. The seed has taken from one to several months to germinate. We start with a sandy or lighter soil because, in our experience, native Florida species prefer sandy soil rather than rich moist soil.

The growing conditions, shade, water, soil, sun, etc, depends upon the species of pawpaw. In our area of Florida, pawpaw plants are normally found growing in dry sandy soil.

Pawpaw grows both as an under-story plant, in light shade, as well as in full sun.

Successful transplanting (not from a nursery pot to the garden) is challenging. Terri Pietroburgo has successfully transplanted pawpaw by digging huge holes, one to dig up the plant and another to plant it in the desired growing spot. To get an idea of the work involved, take time to look at the photos on this page. The carrot-like root grows resists transplanting unless it has been grown in pots from a seed.

Don’t water pawpaw too often. Let the soil dry between watering the plant. When you water, water it well and deep, to the bottom of the long root.

Terri Pietroburgo has successfully transplanted and grown many Florida native pawpaw plants and has generously shared some of her information and photos for this page.