5 Things You Need To Know Before Growing Sugar Apple in Florida

5 Things You Need To Know Before Growing Sugar Apple in Florida

Growing Sugar Apple in Florida is an excellent tropical tree for eating, landscaping, and making a profit.

Before you grow your sugar apple in Florida, here are five things you should know to produce your best sugar apple tree.

Sugar Apples Trees Love Sunlight

When planting your sugar apple tree, select a well-lit area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight.

Sugar apples will produce flowers and fruit the best in areas that have sun. 

Sugar apples can also produce in areas with part shade to part sun but will not be as productive as a tree that receives full sunlight.

Sugar apples grown in shaded areas might grow slower or produce less fruit than in direct sunlight.

Sugar Apple Thrives With Added Nutrition

Sugar apple trees will thrive when you add nutrients from organic fertilizers, foliar sprays, slow-release fertilizers, compost, and mulch

You will need to provide organic or synthetic fertilizer if you want fruit year after year on your sugar apple tree.

As sugar apple trees produce fruits, they use the nutrients in the soils they are in. As the years go on, if the nutrients are not replenished, then the sugar apple tree will not be able to be as productive as it was in previous years – this applies to all fruit trees as well.

Growing tropical fruit trees in Florida can be challenging because our soils are not as nutrient-rich as in South America, where sugar apple is native.

Because of this, supplementing nutrients in the form of slow-release fertilizers or organic fertilizers is highly recommended.

Organic Sugar Apple Fertilizer

An organic fertilizer that works excellent for growing sugar apples is Azomite, which is an OMRI-rated organic fertilizer that is derived from volcanic sand and contains several vitamins and minerals. 

Slow-release Sugar Apple Fertilizer

Sugar apples thrive with slow-release fertilizers such as Osmocote 15-9-12 plus or Florikan

Many tropical fruit growers in Florida use slow-release fertilizers as they provide a steady flow of nutrients such as nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, and other micronutrients throughout the growing seasons.

Slow-release fertilizers release nutrients into the soil for your sugar apple tree to absorb every time water penetrates the coating.

Maintaining a water source on fertilized sugar apple trees is a must if you want your fruit tree to benefit from the slow-release fertilizer.

Foliar Spray Sugar Apple

Sugar apples benefit significantly from a foliar application of beneficial nutrients. 

Foliar sprays provide fruit trees, such as sugar apples, with additional nutrients they can absorb through their leaves.

Foliar sprays can also correct many deficiencies that fruit trees have, such as the common iron deficiency, which makes fruit tree leaves yellow instead of healthy green. 

Chelated iron is available in a liquid form that is mixed with water and applied onto the leaves of tropical fruit trees and can change the leaves’ color from yellow to green within minutes once applied.

Sugar apple trees that get scheduled foliar applications are healthier and more productive than sugar apple trees that receive no foliar sprays.

How to Foliar Spray Sugar Apple Trees

To feed a sugar apple tree, you will need a liquid foliar feed solution and a backpack sprayer.

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon foliar application solution per 1 gallon of water. 
  2. Shake the mixture of foliar application and water until it is thoroughly mixed.
  3. Spray the leaves under and above the bark and stems of the sugar apple tree to guarantee it will absorb nutrients.

When is the best time to foliar spray sugar apple trees?

The best time to foliar spray sugar apple trees is in the early morning or in the late afternoon once the sun is not intense.

Avoid foliar spraying sugar apple trees while the sun is at its hottest.

Sugar Apple Trees Grow Excellent In A Pot

If you do not have enough space to plant in your yard or live in an apartment with a balcony – growing a sugar apple in a pot is an alternative in Florida.

Sugar apple trees can also be grown in a pot moved to different areas of the yard depending on where the sunlight hits best in your Florida yard.

Here is a video of me planting a sugar apple tree in a pot

Ensure your trees have a nutrient mixture of organic compost and soil to ensure healthy growth.

Sugar Apple Fruit Can Sell For A Lot Of Money

If you want to buy sugar apples at your local garden market in Florida, be ready to spend a fortune.

How much do sugar apples cost in Florida?

Sugar apples in Florida in 2022 were selling for 10-15$ the pound. This means just one sugar apple fruit on average was 15-20$ per fruit.

Sugar apples are a delicacy here in Florida; typically, at your farmers market, they will go for about 15-20$ per fruit for a nice-sized healthy one.

It is recommended to grow your own sugar apple tree in Florida as they grow very quickly and can provide you with delicious fruit.

Beware of purchasing cheaper sugar apples at your local market, as they may have an awful taste inside. (From personal experience, I’ve tried to save a few bucks by purchasing less expensive not-so-pretty sugar apples over the healthier and costlier ones. In return, I ended up buying a bag of expensive awful fruit)

Sugar Apples Grow In Sandy Soils Of Florida

Sugar apples have adapted very well to Florida’s soils. 

Most of Florida has sandy soils, and sugar apples prefer well-drained soil types. 

It is important to note that although sugar apples will tolerate the planting medium in Florida, it is necessary to apply additional nutrients in foliar spray, fertilizers, compost, and mulch.

If you are planting your sugar apple in an area with mucky soil – it may grow slower or stunted and produce less fruit.

Sugar Apple Flowers Can Be Hand Pollinated

If you want to increase the overall yield of sugar apple fruit on your trees, consider hand pollination of your flowers.

Artificial pollination of your sugar apple is recommended because the sugar apple flower rarely gets pollinated by its native pollinator, the nitulid beetle. And if by chance, it gets pollinated naturally, the fruit comes out irregularly shaped, and the overall yield may be low.

How to hand pollinate sugar apple flowers

To pollinate your sugar apple fruits, you will need a paintbrush and a black container to capture the pollen.

Here is a video of the hand pollination of a sugar apple tree 

Conclusion

In Florida, growing sugar apples is a very rewarding fruit to grow, and by learning these 5 Annona squamosa lessons, you will be better equipped to produce your very first sugar apple fruit!

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