Frequently Asked Questions

Do pawpaws come true to seed?

No. If you plant a pawpaw seed from one of my varieties the resulting seeding will be different. Most often it will be inferior to the parent.

What can I do with pawpaws besides eating them fresh?

In my opinion fresh eating of the yellow flesh (not the seeds or skin) is the best way to enjoy a pawpaw. Slice it open, spoon it out, and enjoy, spitting out the smooth seeds as you go. Several favored recipes for pawpaw include ice cream and smoothies, which I find wonderful. Beware however that baking with pawpaws may make you sick. Use caution when baking, try a little bit first and see how you feel before serving the goods to others. DO NOT MAKE PAWPAW FRUIT LEATHER! I have gotten many reports of people vomiting up their pawpaw fruit leather. Just enjoy it the way Mother Nature intended!

Can I grow pawpaw in pots?

Pawpaws can be germinated and grown in pots for a couple of years. If you order from a nursery they will probably come in a pot. After year three we generally see stunting and unhealthy growth of pawpaws that remain in containers.

How many trees do I need?

For good fruit set cross pollination is required. You need two trees of different genetics i.e. two different named varieties. For example, planting a Peterson Shenandoah variety and Peterson Wabash variety will be good to deliver a bountiful fruit set. Be sure to plant the trees no more than 30ft. (10m) apart. There are cases when pawpaws self-pollinate, however it more the exception than the rule.

Pawpaw Paw-paw Paw Paw Papaw? What is the proper spelling?

There is no standardized spelling for pawpaw, which just goes to show how little known is the fruit. “Paw paw” as two separate words is common, including in dictionaries. However, I prefer “pawpaw.” I reason that it is a single word, not two. And if it were two words then ‘paw’ should be an adjective modifying a noun ‘paw’; which makes no sense. After all, we do not spell straw berry or pine apple or water melon.

Why should I buy named varieties?

While you can find pawpaw growing wild in the eastern woodlands of USA and you can grow from wild seedling trees, the quality of the fruit will probably disappoint. With named Peterson varieties you are guaranteed a superior quality pawpaw in the form of more flesh, fewer seeds, wonderful texture, an exquisite flavor and no bitter aftertaste.

Where can I buy fruit and trees?

I have licensed out my varieties to various nurseries both domestic and international. Please refer to the list on the website. Fruit can also be purchased from various outlets which I have listed under “Links” in this website.

Click here to purchase.

Where can I grow pawpaws?

Pawpaws are a temperate tree that can be grown in USDA zones 5-8. Of course, this is not set in stone, however outside of these zones growing becomes experimental. Be sure to have a soil ph of 4.5 to 7 as well as good drainage, adequate moisture, and fertile soil. See maps above in the gallery of the Native Range of Asimina triloba, and of the USDA Hardiness Zones. It is rule of thumb that plants can be moved 100 miles north of the native range and still do fine.

Is pawpaw a papaya?

No. Our pawpaw is Asimina triloba from North America. Papaya is Carica papaya which only grows in the tropics. In many tropical countries papaya is also called “pawpaw”. This causes an endless source of confusion.

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