Original Articles

Progress and problems in rooting clonal Carica papaya cuttings

Published in: South African Journal of Plant and Soil
Volume 24, issue 1, 2007 , pages: 22–25
DOI: 10.1080/02571862.2007.10634776
Author(s): P. Allan, South Africa, Colleen Carlson, South Africa

Abstract

Carica papaya (L) is one of the few fruit crops that is still propagated commercially by seed. In the cool subtropical Pietermaritzburg area, a female clone ‘Honey Gold’ has been vegetatively propagated, by rooting leafy cuttings, for over 40 years. Vigorous stock plants, strict sanitation, adequate bottom heat (30 °C), and even distribution and good control of intermittent mist to ensure leaf retention, are crucial for success. Suitable rooting media were either perlite or well composted, mature pine bark of varying air filled porosity (9–30%) and water holding capacity (58–82%). Bacterial infection can be a problem and this warrants further research. Up to 7595% rooting of small to medium-sized leafy cuttings can be achieved in six to ten weeks during summer, but slow and poor rooting (20% after 16 weeks) has occurred in certain bark media, possibly because of insufficient bottom heat, different physiological conditions in spring, or toxic compounds other than high levels of tannin. Well-rooted cuttings have given excellent production of uniform quality fruit that sells at premium prices in South Africa, where distortion ringspot virus is not a problem.

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