The map below shows the climatically optimum growth areas for papaya across South Africa*.

*Papaya (or “pawpaw”) needs relatively little water in the rainy summer season in South Africa, but if irrigated every 2 weeks in the dry season it is well adapted to hot, dry areas. Papaya has high heat requirements, with average daily temperatures for optimum growth between 20 and 30 degree Celsius. Determination of climatically optimum growth areas for Papaya in South Africa is based on the expert knowledge of Bower (2005) and Moll (2005), climatically optimum growth areas were determined according to the four basic criteria: Criterion 1: Heat units (base 12 degree Celsius) should exceed 2 000 days per annum, Criterion 2: Optimum areas should have a low frequency of 4 consecutive days with maximum temperatures > 36 degree Celsius, Criterion 3: Monthly means of daily average temperatures in December and January should be 23 degree Celsius – 30 degree Celsius and Criterion 4: Optimum growth areas should have a low frequency of 4 consecutive days with minimum temperatures < 17 degree Celsius. Using the 50 year time series of quality controlled daily maximum and minimum temperatures generated by Schulze and Maharaj (2004) at a spatial resolution of 1 arc minute (i.e. 1` x 1` of a degree latitude/longitude), the above four temperature based criteria were first mapped individually and then superimposed to determine the climatically optimum growth areas of papaya in South Africa.

Source: Schulze, R.E, and Maharaj, M. 2007. “Papaya: Optimum Growth Areas.” In: South African Atlas of Climatology and Agrohydrology. Vol. 1489/1/06. Water Research Commission.