How To Grow Papaya Tree From Cuttings: Papaya Air Layering Propagation

Growing papaya from cuttings and by air layering are recent techniques of papaya propagation. Papaya or pawpaw plants are generally propagated by seeds, however, their propagation from cuttings may be needed to get true clones. Growing papaya from stem cutting is difficult and the success rate is low, but growing papaya from air layering or marcotting is easy and highly successful.

Papaya propagation by air layering is particularly useful if you want to reproduce or relocate your papaya tree and have a larger tree quickly and with the same flavour fruit. How to grow papaya from seed | How to dwarf papaya Tree

Papaya Fruits on Papaya Tree
Papaya Fruits on Papaya Tree

Propagate Papaya By Cuttings

Growing papaya is possible by cuttings [1,2]. The following steps are involved in propagating a papaya tree from cuttings:

  1. You need a side shoot for cutting propagation. Your papaya tree may have grown a few side shoots which you can cut and propagate. 
  2. If the tree does not have a side shoot to cut, then cut the tree at some height. You may cut your papaya tree in half or less. The tree will grow some side shoots after some time.
  3. Select a young side shoots for cutting,  at least 20 cm long and at least 2 cm in diameter, during the summer when the stem is still green [3]
  4. Remove the large mature leaves, keeping the stalks to prevent any bacterial infection that may develop at the cut end of the stalk to progress to the base of the petiole. You may keep the top younger leaves.
  5. Dip the base of the cutting in a rooting hormone to encourage roots.
  6. Plant the cutting in a pot filled with free-draining potting soil. No fertilizer is needed as there are not roots.
  7. Mist the cutting during day time.
  8. Place the pot on a heating mat at at 25°C to speed up rooting.
  9. Roots will develop in one to two months.

The side shoots up to 3 feet in length and basal diameter up to 3 inch have been rooted without misting and heat application [4]

Papaya Propagation By Air Layering or Marcotting

By marcotting you can have new plant faster which produces fruits earlier than the growing papaya by seeds.

Air Layering or Marcotting is a vegetative plant propagation method of cloning a papaya tree quickly [5] with high success rate, even 100% success.

Papaya Air Layering Steps
Papaya Air Layering Steps. 1. Papaya Side shoot, 2. Slit in stem,
3. Enclose slit in a bottle, 4. Cover slit in rooting medium

In air layering, we do not cut the stem, but it is still attached to the parent plant while developing roots.

  1. Select a side shoot for air layering (Snap 1 in above Picture).
  2. Make a slit on the side shoot and apply some rooting hormone to encourage roots, although it is not essential. I use aloe Vera gel as a natural rooting hormone.
  3. Insert a tooth pick in the slit to keep it open (Snap 2 in above Picture).
  4. Next cover the slit portion in rooting medium in a bag or a box  (Snaps 2 & 3 in above Picture). As rooting medium, you can take a mixture of moistened vermi compost and coco dust. I use moistened compost, which works well. 
  5. Keep the soil damp but not soggy.
  6. The roots will grow in a few months depending on climate and temperature.
Roots grown on papaya side shoot
Grown roots on papaya side shoot by Air Layering
  1. When enough roots have developed, the rooted papaya branch can then be cut from the parent plant and transferred to garden bed.
Rooted Papaya Cutting ready to be planted in soil
Rooted Papaya Cutting by Air Layering
ready to be planted in soil

It is recommended that you should use sanitised tools, pots and the rooting medium for papaya propagation, otherwise the cuttings may rot.

Video on Papaya Air layering

How to grow papaya from air layering Video
How to bend papaya tree Video


  1. Allan, P., Vegetative propagation and production of ‘Honey Gold’ papayas, Acta Hort. 269:105–111.  1990.
  2. Allan, P., Propagation of ‘Honey Gold’ papayas by cuttings, Acta Hort. 370:99–102, 1995.
  3. Archives of the Rare Fruit Council of Australia, Papaws from cuttings.
  4. Wanda Mont├ís, Pamela Moon, and Jonathan H. Crane, Propagation of Papaya (Carica papaya L.) with Large-sized Cuttings, Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 129:22–24. 2016.
  5. Julio P. Yap Jr., Papaya propagated by marcotting, Agriculture Magazine, November 2018 issue.