American Paw Paw Tree


2-3 ft.



I. General Information

  • Common name: Pawpaw, Common pawpaw, American Custard Apple, Indiana Banana, Prairie banana, Poor man’s banana, Hoosier banana, 
  • Scientific name/Botanical name: Asimina triloba
  • Family name: Annonaceae (order Magnoliales)
  • Origin: North America
  • Growing Zones: 4-8
  • Mature Height: 15-30′
  • Mature Width: 15-30′
  • Sunlight: Full sun

II. Identification

  • Leaf: 12″ long. If the leaves, are torn, they will smell bad
  • Bloom: Shade of dark reddish-brown and start blooming before the leaves unfurl. The blossoms can smell horrible
  • Fruit: Greenish-blackish fruit. Tastes like a combination of a banana, an apricot and a mango

III. Description

The pawpaw is the largest fruit-bearing tree species native to North America. Deciduous, open shrub or small tree. H and W 12-25ft (4-8m). Large, oval, mid-green leaves emerge in late spring or early summer, just after, or at the same time as, 6-petaled, purplishbrown flowers. Edible fruits are small, globular and pale green. Leaves turn yellow in fall. Z6-8 H8-6.

IV. Planting & Care

Selecting a location: When choosing a place to plant your Paw Paw tree remember to protect it from direct sunlight. Paw Paw’s prefer a partial sun location, Paw Paw trees need no more than five hours of sunlight a day. Rich, deep, and well draining soil are ideal conditions from planting new Paw Paws.

Planting Direction: 
1) Once you have the perfect planting location scouted out dig a hole that’s just as deep as the root ball, and three times as wide.
2) Space the Paw Paw trees 15-25 feet apart.
3) Take a pitch fork or shovel and use it to loosen the soil around the sides of the hole. Remove any debris like grass, dirt clumps, or rocks from inside of the hole.
4) Place your tree in the hole and make sure that its level with the surrounding ground and standing straight upwards a 90 degree angle.
5) Next back fill your hole and gently tamp the soil down to prevent air pockets from forming.
6) Once the planting process is complete give your tree a long drink of water and mulch around the tree to conserve soil moisture.

Watering: Paw Paw trees require adequate soil moisture, especially in the first two years after planting. Avoid over saturating, only water when soil is dry at least 1-2 inches deep. Avoid letting the soil completely dry out.


Fertilization: For optimal growth and fruit production, fertilize 2 times each year with a well balanced fertilizer such as a 20-10-10.

Pruning: The best time to prune is late winter or early spring, when the tree is dormant. Annual pruning will stimulate new growth.

Pollination: Pollination can be a limiting factor in producing fruit. The Paw Paw tree has various species or flies and beetles to pollinate the tree. The Paw Paw tree is not a self-pollinator. If placed inside be sure that the tree is receiving hand pollination.

Harvesting: The Paw Paw will be ready to eat when it is easily plucked from the tree. Paw Paws that are too ripe can have an astringent taste, so don’t wait until they’ve fallen. You can keep your Paw Paw in cold storage for 3 days. If you want to keep them longer, you’ll need to freeze the pulp, which will keep for 6 months



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