Why plant Audubon® Native Pawpaw Treeling?
The Pawpaw Tree, with foot-long leaves that droop lazily from the branches, will give your garden a laid-back tropical vibe. Plant it where you’ll be able to appreciate its bold presence throughout the growing season—especially in fall, when the foliage turns the color of ripe pineapple. If you plant more than one tree, you may also be rewarded with the gift of delectable fruits which have a tropical flair as well. About the size of a potato, the uncommon pawpaw fruit contains a sweet, creamy yellow flesh that’s often compared to banana custard in flavor. You’ll find it hard to believe that this dramatic tree doesn’t hail from some tropical paradise, but is actually native as far north as New York!
Way down yonder in the Pawpaw patch... so goes the old folk song celebrating this beloved native plant, which has a long history in America. Pawpaw was valued in ancient times by Native Americans, and the delicious fruits later nourished European settlers and explorers like Lewis and Clark. Humans aren’t the only ones who delight in this yummy fruit treat—wildlife love pawpaws, too. The foliage feeds the young of the dazzling white, black, and red zebra swallowtail butterfly. In fact, Pawpaw is the ONLY thing that zebra swallowtail caterpillars will eat, which is reason enough to grow this splendid tree.
How to use Audubon® Native Pawpaw Treeling in the landscape?
Look for Pawpaw’s interesting flowers in mid to late spring. These thick-textured, triangular, burgundy-colored blooms are primitive from a botanical standpoint. Exuding a very faint musky scent, they are meant to attract beetles and flies for pollination instead of bees. It isn’t clear whether or not a single Pawpaw Tree can pollinate itself, but planting two different trees will ensure cross-pollination, promoting optimum fruit set in fall.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
How To Plant Audubon® Native Pawpaw Treeling
Pawpaw’s home in the wild is at forest edges or in the woodland understory, and it appreciates similar conditions in the landscape. It is happiest in a site with rich, organic-laden, well-drained soil and a generous layer of mulch. It flourishes in shade but will tolerate full sun if it is shaded for the first few years and if regular irrigation can be provided. This tree doesn’t like constantly soggy soil, but it doesn’t like to dry out, either.
How To Water
Pawpaws will appreciate regular water during its first few years in the ground and irrigation during long dry spells after it’s established.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant Food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant Food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Suckers may appear around the tree—this is simply Pawpaw’s natural growth habit. You may pull or mow off the suckers to maintain the tree as a single-trunked specimen, or you may let them grow to allow a Pawpaw patch of your own to form.