I’ve been wanting to post an update on the Red Lady papaya plants, but there wasn’t good news to share. My fast-growing plant that has been featured a few times was infested with mealy bugs, and I eventually removed the tree to get rid of the pests.
It didn’t matter too much, because I have another 5 plants growing, just to make sure I have a mix of males and females to ensure the flowers can be pollinated. In Singapore, that’s what we call being kiasu – to increase your chances by playing it safe.
Another plant is rapidly maturing now – the first plant that germinated, that I call Number One. Unlike Number Two, the fast grower that had a short but sturdy trunk, this plant’s main stem is narrower and greener. It’s also budding. I’m guessing from the long shape of the flower that this is a hermaphrodite, which is wonderful, because it can self-pollinate. *clicks heels*
The only problem is, there are already a few mealy bugs on the leaves. I hope I will be able to control this infestation better than on the first plant, because this is a pretty healthy tree. All of the others are slow growers in comparison, and I may just keep one or two of the best plants.
Because when I chopped down the first, infested tree, I realized how invasive the roots of the papaya tree are. They spread out from the main stem like a starfish with numerous legs, and grew 2-3 metres away from the plant. If that plant was less than 2 metres high, what would the root system be like for an even taller tree? So maybe it’s best to have just the one or two trees rather than a mini-plantation, right? Kiasuism can be an over-kill…