Sometimes when reading a garden magazine, I will come across a plant, color combo, or design technique that I used myself. It makes me feel like I have Plant ESP or the coincidence is reasonable because plant types should match cultural conditions. But for the more curious incidents, like a discussion about an unusual tropical I planted for the first time, I have to pause and think, “How does that happen?!” I just bought that plant this year, and now it shows up in a hort publication! When these incidents occur, it is reaffirming at times because it validates my concepts and ideas. Or perhaps it is a case of noticing trends due to my observations with my clients and all the materials I read regarding the trade of plants.
This ‘plant ESP thing’ (for lack of finding a better way to describe it) happened to me just last nite. I was quickly browsing thru the latest issue of “Horticulture” while simultaneously watching the news on t.v. In a section about new varieties for 2011, there was a Papaya carica ‘Tainung’ featured. I couldn’t believe it. I just took pictures of papaya trees in a field in Hawai`i during my October vacation on the Big Island. I remember thinking how cool it would be to grow papaya trees in my container gardens at home. And here it is (or a variety of it) in the latest issue of a magazine issued just one month after my trip! Is this Plant ESP or what? Whatever it is, I guess it might be a sign that I really pay attention to plants.
The article, titled “New Varieties”, covers 2011’s new introductions coming out of breeding programs across the country. And Logee’s, a place I’ve visited in the past in Danielson, CT, featured a Papaya carica ‘Tainung’ (right next to the paragraph about Brugmansia ‘Angel’s Blushing Beauty’ (ANOTHER OF MY FAVORITES, weird, huh?!). It states that Logee’s is offering this variety of papaya in 2011, and I for one plan to get at least one plant to test it out next season!
The article states it is native to southern Mexico. It has a red papaya with deliciously sweet fruit that can weigh 3 to 5 pounds. I can attest to the delicious part. I loved eating papaya on the island every morning and would stop at roadside stands to buy a few as we traveled around the island. It was my favorite flavor of all the fruits I tasted there. The article also states the plant will begin producing fruit within the first year (so cool!) and at 2 feet tall (even cooler). This means I don’t have to wait long to achieve a big plant and possibly one bearing fruit! If I could bring that flavor to a plant right on my driveway (a place I love to place large
containers of tropical plants due to the heat below from the pavement), I will be feeling “at home” again, well, at least my “dream home” of Hawai`i! The article also indicates to grow it above 60 degrees F and keep the roots warm for best results (not a problem, as I mentioned, on my driveway area). Also recommended is lots of water and moderate amounts of fertilizer for fast growth.
Here’s the photo I took on the east side of the Big Island of papaya trees growing in a field. It is called Mikana on the island per my reference book, and it shows the Latin name with the Genus Carica and species of papaya, so I’m not sure if the magazine reversed the naming convention order or what, but that doesn’t matter, for now I can look forward to obtaining this plant right here in Connecticut and giving it a shot next year. Wish me luck!