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Little River Cooperative

Red Lady Papaya

Regular price $10.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $10.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Red Lady Papaya
Carica papaya

days to maturity: 10 months
plant spacing: 1 plant every 8 feet
sunlight requirements: 8-14 hours
look out for: papaya fruit fly, local critters like raccoons 
harvest notes: harvest before completely ripe

Red Lady Papaya is the one fruit we grow at our vegetable farm because we have grown to love it for so many reasons. The first and most important thing we love about the Red Lady is its delicious flavor. Once you have a perfectly ripe homegrown Red Lady you'll never want a store bought papaya again... truly, we know that many people don't ever want a store bought papaya, because they have the reputation for being not sweet, unflavorful, and stinky. But Red Lady is different... allow the fruit to start ripening on the tree, then leave it on the counter as it gets even darker and richer orange soft skin, and then it will be perfect and sweet for eating. 

Besides being delicious, the Red Lady Papaya is a heavy and reliable producer of fruit. Planted in spring or summer in the tropics, and given proper nutrients and plenty of rainfall your papaya should yield you about 80 pounds of fruit in its first year. Fun fact: papaya aren't considered trees, but rather are herbs. Their thick trunks are hollow and remain green through the plants life, making them easy to cut down once they've fruited, and quick to compost. 

Besides being a producer of delicious fruit, papayas are beautiful trees (herbs) with many uses. Papaya fruit, seeds and leaves contain the enzyme Papain, which is the source of commercial meat tenderizer and aids in digestion of proteins. Wrap your meat in a papaya leaf instead of buying tenderizer, and consume the seeds fresh or dry for a digestive boost. Papaya seeds boast many other medicinal uses including as a natural contraceptive, so avoid eating them if you're trying to conceive or pregnant. We hear its common to add dry papaya seeds to peppercorn grinders in India so that small amounts of papaya seeds can be regularly and effortlessly consumed, as anti microbial and anti parasitic medicine

Papaya trees grow quickly in the hot and humid tropics and can be grown as a pet plant in cold areas in greenhouses. Plant a few seeds in each pot and allow the strongest one to be transplanted into the ground or a large pot. Once your papaya tree flowers you can tell wether its a male or a female... males do not produce fruit so they can be composted, as Red Lady is a self fertile variety and thusly does not need to be pollinated by a male. Check out this video for a quick explanation of the visual difference between a male and a female tree. 

important note: these plants are seedlings papayas which means they are not guaranteed females. Only females produce fruit, so if your plant is a male you may want to cut it down and try again. For this reason we oftentimes suggest planting more than 1 plant and then thinning later. 


All of our plants are produced using OMRI certified organic materials (potting mix, fertilizer & pesticides) however our nursery is not certified organic. Plants are shipped in compostable peat moss pots and we use heirloom & organic seeds whenever possible.

Shipping & Returns

We ship plant orders every Monday. Due to the nature of shipping plants we only offer expedited shipping for our live plant orders. Our returns & exchanges policy is also quite strict since its hard to control the quality of a plant once it leaves our facility, however we do our very best to make sure that each and every customer is satisfied with their plants. Read more about our policies here. 


All of our plants are potted in 4" pots and their foliage size varies based on how large the plant is naturally when its root ball is the correct size for the pot. If a plant is too tall for our shipping box we may prune it to fit (bonus: many plants do better after being pruned since they make bushier growth). We do our very best to ship all of our plants in the "sweet spot" of maturity however so long as the roots have colonized the pot we will consider a plant mature enough to ship.

Care Instructions

When you receive your plant its critical to get it out of its box and into the light the day it arrives. It will also want to be removed from its compostable plastic wrapping and given fresh water to drink. Keep in mind, this plant was grown in the tropical humid climate of South Florida, so if it's terribly cold or dry where you are it'll need to be hardened off before planting outdoors. Visit our care instructions page for more thorough info about caring for your new plant friend.

  • What Our Customers Have to Say:

    This is a great, local organization with really knowledgeable & friendly staff. They make gardening easy and accessible, and I've purchased many high quality plants and equipment from them.
    -Kate Black (5 star google review)

  • And Another One:

    How lucky we are to have a resource like Little River Cooperative here in Miami, not only for the access they offer to a great selection of plants and produce, but also for the knowledge they provide and the sense of community they foster!
    -Nick Vagnoni (5 star google review)