Growing trees using hydroponic systems has been a thing lately. Growers have been shifting gradually from growing easy and traditional crops like lettuce and basil, to more difficult plants, especially trees. Among these trees is papaya. It is a question that has been going around for some time, can we grow hydroponic papaya?
So, can we grow hydroponic papaya? Yes, a papaya tree can be easily grown using hydroponics. Moreover, it will have a much higher growth rate and yield when compared to being grown in soil. However, there are guidelines that must be followed to ensure that your papaya tree will thrive in its new hydroponic system.
Papaya has been famous for its various health benefits. It can significantly aid in digestion; this is the result of it containing papain enzyme which helps in digesting proteins. That’s why there is a tremendous amount of people who are wondering if they can grow it hydroponically.
In order for you to grow hydroponic papaya trees, there must be some steps that you will need to follow. You will have to choose the right hydroponic system and maintain the optimum growing conditions in order for your tree to thrive.
In this article, you will learn about the hydroponic papaya growth stages, what is the best hydroponic system for papaya and how to keep the growing conditions within the required ranges to ensure a maximum yield production.
Hydroponic Papaya Size
The average size of a normal papaya tree can reach a height of between 16 to 33 ft. A tree this size will definitely hit the ceiling at least when it is still halfway through the growing period.
Not to mention how much nutrient solution and water can a 33 ft. tree consume everyday, normal papaya trees cannot be grown hydroponically.
So what are we going to do to try and fit a papaya tree in a hydroponic system? The answer is to use dwarf papaya species.
Dwarf Papaya Varieties
The height of a dwarf papaya tree can only reach about 3 to 5 ft. Which is extremely suitable to grow in a hydroponic system. Not only will it fit inside an indoor facility, but it will also use much less space when compared to normal papaya trees.
There are many dwarf varieties that can be grown in a hydroponic system. But after hours of research, I couldn’t find a dwarf variety better than The Red Lady.
The Red Lady tends to produce a yield that is far higher than any other variety. Moreover, Red Lady papaya trees have both, the male and female reproductive parts. This will make it extremely easier for you. I did advise people back then when I first wrote about hydroponic apple trees to plant at least two trees in order to ensure successful pollination.
But now, there is no need to plant more than one tree as both of the reproductive systems are available.
The Best Hydroponic System For Papaya Trees
If you are a newbie in the world of hydroponics, you might get overwhelmed by how many hydroponic systems are available out there. But it is crucial to choose the right hydroponic system from the start.
Do Not Use This System For Growing Papaya Trees
You might also choose to grow your hydroponic papaya in an NFT system which I am completely against.
I totally get it that the NFT system is one of the most popular hydroponic systems on market right now, but growing a tree in it is considered a crime that will result in your tree dying.
A system like NFT does provide so little root space for any plant to grow. Moreover, it can withstand a limited amount of weight that it cannot exceed.
If you decide to grow your hydroponic papaya tree in an NFT unit, you will most probably find your system clogged up in the first few months due to the extreme root development that had taken place.
The Best System For Growing Hydroponic Papaya
What I advise you to use instead, is the ebb and flow hydroponic system. This system had proven to be the most suitable when it comes to growing hydroponic trees. It had shown fantastic results in trees like apples, oranges, and even banana trees.
By combining the ebb and flow system with growing mediums like clay pebbles and perlite, it could be the perfect system to grow hydroponic papaya trees and can produce much higher yield when compared to soil.
The Optimum Growing Conditions For Hydroponic Papaya
Now comes the important part. You have to keep the following growing conditions as stable as possible to ensure that you are getting as maximum yield as you can get. I know it might require a huge chunk of time during the day, but it will be worth it when you reach the harvest stage that you have been looking for the entire year.
The Best Temperature For Hydroponic Papaya
The optimum temperature for growing hydroponic papaya is around 75 ºF. The papaya tree can withstand a temperature as low as 65ºF. If the temperature goes below this number, you will have to use a heating system as fast as possible to maintain a healthy growth rate for your tree.
There are several climate control options that are available on the market. If you are growing this hydroponic papaya tree in a greenhouse, then you can use a propane gas heater to do the job, but be careful not to raise the temperature too much because temperatures above 80ºF can stunt your tree’s growth.
The Nutrient Solution For Hydroponic Papaya
The pH of the nutrient solution should be kept in the range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Light Requirements For Hydroponic Papaya
Your hydroponic papaya will require around 6 to 8 hours of light exposure per day to thrive.
I advise you to use grow lights as the main source of light for the hydroponic tree and this is for a simple reason; you will want to place your tree indoor so that you can have better control over the temperature and other growing conditions.
Sometimes the sun won’t be as shiny as other days, so, it is better to have artificial LED grow lights as your main source of light; this will significantly boost your tree’s growth rate. Make sure to place the grow light high enough so that as the tree gets taller, it won’t reach the light unit and cause fire incidents.