Weather predictions for last Sunday's temperatures were for the mid-thirties, so I began my houseplant migration indoors the previous afternoon, amid chilly breezes. I brought my new hybrid papaya tree upstairs and set it by a sunny window before I noticed that the little tree had a couple of flower buds! I hadn't expected this until next summer, when the tree would be a bit taller and more mature. These flowers may not set fruit, but it will be fun to try hand-pollination in any case.
This is a variety of dwarf papaya that is a self-pollinating hermaphrodite, hybridized for indoor cultivation. In their natural state papayas (Carica papaya) are dioecious, meaning that trees are either male of female, or hermaphroditic with perfect flowers (both male and female organs in one flower). Most commercially grown plants are hermaphrodites. It will be interesting to see if any fruit develops over the winter.