I get my papaya seeds straight out of fruits.

Usually, each seed has this slimy, transparent membrane around it. Should I remove that before planting them? And, whether yes or no, why?

I've heard that I need to dry the seeds before planting them. Is this the case? And, whether yes or no, why? If yes, then what is the best way to dry them in the tropics?

I'd prefer answers either from personal experience or with a source.

1 Answer 1


The removal of the membrane around papaya seeds (the sarcotesta) will slightly increase germination rate and slightly decrease germination time. Typically, sarcotestas exist so some of the many seeds in plants like papayas and pomegranates will survive the digestion process of a consuming animal.

If you're planting the seeds just after removal, it's not necessary to clean and dry them, just remove the sarcotesta and plant several seeds near each other.

However, papaya trees grow fruit year round and produce many seeds, and the only effects of not removing the sarcotesta is a slightly decreased germination rate and a slightly increased germination time - so you really can just scoop out the sacs and stick them right into the ground. Plant as many as you want, because culling weaker plants is an integral part of growing papaya.

During their growth, cull the weaker plants when they become obvious underperformers. Eventually get down to the 4-6 healthiest plants until you can determine sex. You need only one male or hermaphrodite to pollinate.

If you decide to remove the sarcotesta, drying is unnecessary if you plant immediately because drying the seeds is intended to keep them safe from mold and pests while storing them (or from damaging them if they are stored frozen/refrigerated).

If you intend on storing the seeds, first wash them thoroughly to remove everything but the seed. For a generous drying process, dry them with a towel, then leave them on a towel for two days, flipping them daily.


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