Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers moist, acidic, fertile soils. Pawpaw will grow in part shade but over time will become leggy.
Native to Missouri, this small understory tree or large shrub typically grows 15-20 feet tall and has elliptical drooping leaves that grow up to 12 inches. The leaves retain their green color into fall then turn yellow. Purple flowers turn to edible, oblong, yellowish sweet-flavored fruits emerge in autumn.
No major pests or diseases but wildlife such as raccoons, squirrels, and opossums eagerly seek the fruit harvests.
This native plant is very effective in damp areas along ponds or streams. It can be used to also naturalize a native plant garden or used as a shrub or woodland border.
The earliest mention of Pawpaws is in 1541 when Spanish explorers discovered Native Americans cultivating the fruit along the Mississippi River. Early American made yellow dye from the pulp of the ripened fruit. It was also the favorite fruit of George Washington who had trees planted at his home in Virginia.