Papaya: Diseases, Symptoms and their Management

Diseases of Papaya

1. Powdery Mildew Diseases of Papaya

Causal Organism:  Fungus; Odium indicum, Odium caricae

High humidity (80-85%) and a temperature range of 24-26°C induce the development of powdery mildew in papaya.


  • The disease appears on the foliage. Infection is first apparent on the leaves as small slightly darkened areas, which later become white powdery spots.
  • These spots enlarge and cover the entire leaf area.
  • Severely infected leaves may become chlorotic and distorted before falling.
  • Affected fruits are small in size and malformed.


  • Sulphur (30 g/10 litres of water) dusting or spraying Calixin 75 EC (5 ml/10 litres of water) at 15-day intervals aids in disease management.

2. Leaf- Blight of Papaya

Causal Organism:  Fungus; Corynespora cassiicola


  • The disease severely damages the leaves.
  • The disease begins with tiny, discoloured lesions that are irregularly spread over the leaves.
  • These spots become uneven in shape, grow in size, and change colour from brown to grey.
  • The specks are surrounded by a pale yellow zone.
  • Several lesions form and cover vast sections of the leaf, and in severe infections, the entire leaf dies.


  • Disease can be controlled by spraying Dithane M-45 (0.2%) starting to form the appearance of the disease symptoms.

3. Damping-Off

Causal Organism:  Fungus; Rhizoctonia solani, Pythium aphanidermatum


  • This is a disease that affects young seedlings. Lesions can be detected on the stem at or near the soil level.
  • The plant dies when the stem becomes wet and shrinks.


  • Planting should take place in well-drained soil, and the crop should not be over-irrigated.
  • To preserve the newly sprouting seedlings, the seeds should be treated with a fungal culture of Trichoderma viride (3-4 g/kg of seed) or Captan (3 g/kg of seed) before sowing.

4. Anthracnose Diseases of Papaya

Causal Organism:  Fungus; Colletotrichum gloeosporioides


  • The disease prominently appears on green immature fruits.
  • The initial symptoms are water-soaked, sunken spots on the fruit.
  • The centres of these spots later turn black and then pink when the fungus produces spores.


  • Spaying with Copper Oxychloride (3 g/litre of water) or Carbendazim (1 g/litre of water) or Thiophanate Methyl (1 g/litre of water) at 15 days interval effectively controls the disease.

5. Papaya Mosaic Virus

Causal Organism:  Virus; Mosaic virus

Vector: Aphid


  • The disease signs occur on the plants’ top young leaves.
  • The leaves have shrunk in size and are covered in blister-like regions of dark-green tissue that alternate with yellowish-green lamina.
  • The length of the leaf petiole is shortened, and the upper leaves stand upright.


  • The use of Carbofuran (1 kg a.i./ha) at the time of seeding, followed by 2-3 foliar sprays of Phosphamidon (0.05%) at 10-day intervals beginning 15-20 days after sowing, successfully controls the aphid population.

6. Leaf Curl Diseases of Papaya

Causal Organism:  Virus; Leaf Curl Virus

Vector: White Fly (Bemisia tabaci)


  • The disease is distinguished by severe curling, crinkling, and distortion of the leaves.
  • The young leaves are mostly damaged. Aside from curling, the leaves also show vein clearing and thickening.
  • Petioles are sometimes twisted.


  • Carbofuran (1 kg a.i./ha) applied to the soil at the time of sowing, followed by 4-5 foliar sprays of Dimethoate (0.05%), Metasystox (0.02%), or Nuvacron (0.05%) every 10 days, efficiently suppresses the whitefly population.

7. Papaya Ring Spot Virus 

Causal Organism:  Virus; Ring Spot Virus

Vector: Aphid


  • Yellowing and vein-clearing of the young leaves are the first signs of papaya.
  • This is followed by prominent yellow mottling of the leaves, as well as severe blistering and leaf deformation.
  • The leafstalks and stem also have dark-green streaks and rings.
  • These are concentric rings with spots or C-shaped marks that are a darker green than the background-green fruit colouration.


  • Aphids can be managed by applying Carbofuran (1 kg a.i./ha) to the nursery bed at the time of seeding, followed by 2-3 foliar sprays with Phosphamidon (0.05%) every 10 days beginning 15-20 days after sowing.

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