A decorative shrub that can be grown outside, the pawpaw is a garden-worthy plant that will give a long season of interest.
The show begins in spring, when the deep burgundy-purple, cup-shaped flowers burst from their buds in May. With an unusual form, they consist of 6 petals – 3 outer and 3 inner – giving a delightful show that always gets attention.
These are followed in hot summers by oval, edible fruits that colour up from yellow to a rich ochre – think of the colour of a ripe banana. The long lime-green leaves then dominate the show, gradually turning golden-yellow before falling in the autumn.
Tasting like a cross between a banana and a mango, pawpaw is said to have a sweet custard-like flavour which makes them a great delicacy – however, you're unlikely to see them commercially grown as plants can be male, female or hermaphroditic. Although they have both male and female reproduction parts, they are not self-pollinating and need pollination from another unrelated pawpaw tree.
Hardy to -10°C, the Pawpaw benefits from a warm position in the garden such as a sheltered, south-facing wall where it is best grown as an ornamental multi-stemmed shrub. While plants can reach up to 8m in their native US, they're more likely to attain a modest 4m here in the UK.
Supplied as an established plant in a 3L pot ready for immediate planting.