All About the “Na Dai” Vietnamese Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)

All About the “Na Dai” Vietnamese Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)

The Vietnamese sugar apple, also known as the “Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple” or “Mang cau dai” in Vietnam, is a popular tropical fruit enjoyed for its sweet flavor and chewy texture. 

This fruit is a type of Annona scientifically known as Annona squamosa. This article explores the origins, characteristics, and cultural significance of the Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple.

If you want to purchase a “Na Dai Vietnamese Sugar Apple,” you can click here.

Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apples.

Origins of the Sugar Apple

The sugar apple is native to South America and was brought to Southeast Asia by Spanish and Portuguese traders sailing in the 16th century. 

Today, it is widely cultivated in tropical regions worldwide, including Vietnam and tropical Southeast Asia.

Characteristics of the Na Dai Sugar Apple

The Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple has a unique appearance, with a light green, smooth exterior that protects a white, chewy interior. 

The interior is smooth and contains pieces containing a sweet, custard-like flesh that encases non-edible seeds.

The Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple is a favorite in flavor and consistency. 

The fruit has a delicate sweetness hint of tartness, and a smooth, creamy texture.

This combination of sweet and chewy texture and its juicy, creamy pulp make it a popular choice among fruit lovers and Florida fruit growers.

Cultural Significance of the Na Dai Sugar Apple

In Vietnam, the Na Dai sugar apple holds a special place in the hearts of many people.

It is often consumed as a snack or dessert and symbolizes good luck and prosperity. It is nutritious and provides the body with a bountiful of nutrients.

In Vietnamese, “Dai” means chewy, referring to the chewiness of this delicious sugar apple variety.

Inside of the Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple.

Where to purchase a Na Dai Vietnamese Sugar Apple?

You can purchase a Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple online here.

Growing and Harvesting Na Dai Sugar Apples

The sugar apple is an easy tropical fruit tree to grow and is well-suited to the subtropical climate of Florida. 

The trees typically grow to around 10-15 feet, produce fruit from late spring to early fall, and even make a second crop that can be harvested in the winter.

When it comes to harvesting, the sugar apples should be picked when they are fully mature. 

The Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple will be sweet if it ripens appropriately on the tree. 

To determine if a sugar apple is ripe, give it a gentle squeeze – if it gives slightly as a ripe avocado does, it is ready to be picked.

If you are harvesting Na dai Vietnamese sugar apples to sell at the market or to ship to someone, it is advised that you pick them when they are still slightly hard but have distinctive white lines between the carpels of the fruit to ensure they will be sweet and not plain.

What is the best fertilizer for Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apples?

The best fertilizer for Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apples is Osmocote plus 15-9-12 slow-release fertilizer. 

This fertilizer will give your sugar apples the proper nutrients for 3-4 months and release nutrients every time you water your sugar apple.

Sugar apples and other Annonaceae, such as Atemoyas, thrive with organic compost, foliar sprays, and a proper fertilizing schedule.

Questions about the Na Dai Vietnamese Sugar Apple

Is the Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple the same as the Thai Lesssard sugar apple?

No, the Na dai Vietnamese sugar apple has a different exterior to the fruit and has a unique leaf compared to the Thai Lessard sugar apple. You can check out this article that compares different sugar apple varieties. 

Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple next to a Thai Lessard sugar apple.

Where can I purchase the Na dai Vietnamese sugar apple fruit?

Many vendors are at the Pinellas Park Flea Market at Icot Center – 13600 Icot Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33760, sells the Na dai Vietnamese sugar apple during the sugar apple season from May through December. 

The market is open from 7 am to 2 pm, but it’s better to arrive early as a significant community loves the sugar apples and will buy them out fast.

How much does the Na Dai Vietnamese sugar apple cost per pound in Florida?

In 2022, Na dai Vietnamese sugar apples were sold for around 14 – 20$ the pound plus at Flea markets in Florida, such as the Pinellas Park Flea Market. 

This means that one big fruit could cost you anywhere from 20-25$ alone.


The Na Dai sugar apple is a truly unique and delicious fruit and is an essential part of Vietnamese culture. With its sweet and creamy flesh, this fruit is a must-try for anyone looking to experience the rich fruit traditions of Southeast Asia. Whether you enjoy it as a healthy snack, a dessert, or a traditional natural remedy, there is no denying that the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is a truly remarkable fruit.


Sugar Apples: Exploring the Different Variety (Annona squamosa)

Overview of Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa) Varieties and Cultivars

The sugar apple, or Annona squamosa, is a tropical fruit from the Annonaceae family. It has many different cultivars and varieties that vary in sweet flavor and texture. In this article, we will check out the various types of sugar apples grown worldwide and their unique characteristics. Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to identify them so you can learn more and one day grow them.

Types of Sugar Apples (Annona squamosa)

Many different types of sugar apples are available on the market to grow and buy. Some of the more popular ones include 

  • Na Dai Vietnamese – A custardy sweet and chewy Vietnamese sugar apple variety 
  • Thai Lessard – A green sugar apple variety from Thailand that is known for its big and sweet sugar apples
  • Kampong Mauve – A Purple sugar apple variety that develops a beautiful purple and red blush and is said to have a sweet berry custard flavor
  • Thai Purple – A purple sugar apple variety that develops a purple blush and is very productive 
  • Thai Golden – A sugar apple variety that is yellow instead of green from Thailand. This sugar apple is sweet and chewy and has a unique yellow or golden appearance.

Each type offers a unique sweetness and flavor profile, making them perfect for those who enjoy sugar apples and want to grow different varieties.

Identifying Different Types Of Sugar Apples

It can be difficult to identify different types of sugar apples as they all look pretty similar on the outside but can have very distinct flavors coming from within. 

However, there are some general features that you can use to identify each type, such as the color and shape of the Annona fruits and leaves. 

Na Dai Vietnamese Sugar apple

A variety of sugar apple from Vietnam that has excellent eating characteristics such as a low seed-to-meat ratio, chewy delectable flesh, and sweet and juicy flesh.

Its leaves are smaller than other green sugar apple cultivars, with more segmented flesh and skin that easily peels off. 

‘Na Dai’ Vietnamese Sugar apples (Annona squamosa)
‘Na Dai’ Vietnamese Sugar apple in half (Annona squamosa)
‘Na Dai’ Vietnamese Sugar apple has smooth carpels (Annona squamosa)

Check out this online nursery here if you want to order a ‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ sugar apple.

Thai Lessard Sugar Apple

A variety of sugar apple originating from Thailand. The Thai Lessard sugar apple is a high-producing sugar apple tree that makes big and delicious sugar apples.

Thai Lessard sugar apple scales are much more prominent, more stuck out, and somewhat pointed.

‘Thai Lessard’ Sugar apple from the front.
‘Thai Lessard’ Sugar apple from the top. Carpels stick out more compared to ‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ sugar apple.

This is much different from the ‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ sugar apple scales, which are fused together and make peeling easier than the Thai Lessard.

‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ Sugar apple compared to ‘Thai Lessard’ Sugar apple.
‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ Sugar apple compared to ‘Thai Lessard’ Sugar apple.
‘Na Dai Vietnamese’ Sugar apple compared to ‘Thai Lessard’ Sugar apple.

The leaves are much larger on the Thai Lessard compared to other green variety sugar apples.

Thai Golden Sugar Apple

A variety of sugar apple that comes from Thailand and produces yellow sweet sugar apples.

This variety also produces yellow leaves, making it easy to distinguish amongst green variety sugar apple cultivars.

Thai Purple Sugar Apple

A variety of sugar apple that comes from Thailand and produces purple/red sugar apples. This variety of sugar apple is sweet and is a pretty tree to have due to its beautiful purple sugar apples that grow from it.

Thai Purple Sugar apple (Annona squamosa)
Thai Purple Sugar apple (Annona squamosa)
Thai Purple Sugar apple inside (Annona squamosa)

Kampong Mauve

A variety of sugar apple that is known for its stunning purple-colored sugar apples is the Kampong Mauve. It produces sugar apples with a low seed count and excellent-tasting sugar apple pulp.

This variety of sugar apple produces purple sugar apples from the moment the sugar apple is the size of a marble. 

It is important to note that the Kampong Muave starts to produce purple fruits when the sugar apple is the size of a marble. Other purple varieties of sugar apples may stay green until the fruits are about one to two months from maturing.

Kampong Mauve sugar apple (Annona squamosa) purple at the size of a marble.

Other cultivars of purple sugar apple, such as the “Thai Purple,” make purple sugar apples but start green color up until they are about the size of a golf ball. 

There are reports of the Kampong mauve sugar apple being a shy bearer compared to other purple and red sugar apple cultivars.

Varieties & Cultivars

Each of the sugar apple varieties still all classifies as a sugar apple (Annona squamosa) and, although unique in their fruit characteristics, are all referred to as sugar apples.

More sugar apple cultivars and varieties are out there, and new hybrids are constantly being bred and developed every year as more Annona enthusiasts are pollinating and mixing pollen to create new cultivars. 

With sugar apples, mixing the pollen from different varieties is done in nature by the sugar apple pollinator, the nitulid beetle – and is also done by Annonaceae fruit enthusiasts wanting to create a new cultivar of sugar apple. 


In conclusion, sugar apples offer a wide range of exciting cultivars filled with nutritional benefits, making them an ideal choice for anyone looking to grow a tropical fruit tree that is both sweet and healthy! 

With expansive varieties, it’s hard to decide which sugar apple is best suited for you. By identifying specific characteristics and growing conditions such as shape, color, and flavor, choosing between varieties or cultivars is much easier!


All about the Golden Yellow Soursop (Annona murciata)

The golden soursop (Annona muricata) is a fruit from the Annonaceae family native to South America.

It has many unique benefits and features, and its golden yellow color makes it incredibly beautiful and is sought out by many for its uniqueness. After all, it’s golden soursop!

In this article, we’ll explore the golden soursop and a little history of golden soursops, as well as its medicinal and culinary uses as well as the differences and similarities with the traditional green soursop.

What is the golden soursop fruit?

The golden soursop is a regular soursop (Annona muricata) fruit that naturally has a yellow tint to the soursop fruit instead of green.

yellow soursop in australia grown by Steve Trenerry
Yellow soursop (Annona muricata) in Australia by Steve Trenerry, a rare tropical professional fruit grower.

Is the yellow or golden soursop different from the regular green soursop?

The color is the only difference between golden and green soursop. The yellow soursop is still the same fruit as the green soursop (Annona muricata), just a yellow tint.

Does the golden soursop taste different from the regular green soursop?

Golden soursop tastes just like regular soursop; the only difference is the golden color of the fruit’s skin. 

Some individuals have tried the golden soursop and claim it has a slight pineapple taste. 

All soursops, green or yellow, can generally vary from sweet to sour. 

Where does the golden soursop come from?

The golden soursop is said to have originated in South America in Colombia, as Colombia is rich in biodiversity and grows some of the best soursops in the world. 

There is a photo of an individual standing at a soursop (Annona muricata) fruit stall in Cartagena, Colombia, with a large golden soursop. The fruit stall is called ‘El Rey Del Guanabana’ or ‘The King of Soursops.’

yellow soursop in Cartagena colombia
A man standing at ‘El Rey Del Guanabana’ in Cartagena, Colombia, with a Yellow or Golden Soursop (Annona muricata).

I have visited this stall, but unfortunately, they did not have a golden soursop. I did ask the vendor, and he did say there are golden soursop trees in Colombia, and they get fruits a few times a year from them.

It is important to note that golden soursops are growing worldwide, especially in Australia, as many have been cultivated there.

Does the golden soursop tree look different from a regular green soursop tree?

The golden soursop has some physical characteristics that distinguish it from a green soursop tree, such as the leaves, new growth of the leaves, and the tree’s bark.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The golden soursop tree has golden/ yellow tinted leaves.

The golden soursop has a much deeper yellow tint to the leaves than the green soursop.

This yellow tint in the leaves can also be seen when starting seeds from the golden soursop.

Are there any other yellow or golden Annona fruits?

A yellow or golden sugar apple (Annona squamosa) produces yellowish leaves and has a yellow exterior fruit that originated in Thailand. The yellow sugar apple is similar to the yellow soursop (Annona muricata) in its yellow tint to its leaves and fruit.

What does yellow soursop look like on the inside?

The yellow soursop inside is white, with black seeds aligning in the center of the fruit. It looks the same as regular green soursop (Annona reticulata) on the inside. 

Nutritional Value of the yellow soursop fruit

Golden or yellow soursop per 100 grams of fruit contains 66 calories, 0.3 grams of fat, 16.84 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein. 

Health Benefits of Consuming Golden Soursops

Golden soursops have an abundance of antioxidants that can help protect your body from illnesses and overall keep your body healthy. 

Studies have shown that consuming this delicious fruit can reduce inflammation and strengthen your immune system. 

Furthermore, consuming this fruit will provide nutrients to keep your skin glowing.

Culinary Uses for Golden Soursops

Another great benefit of this incredible fruit is its culinary uses; it can be used in many juices and desserts, such as ‘Batido de guanabana’ or soursop milkshake, and can even be used to make delicious ice cream! 

It can be eaten fresh or juiced to make a delicious healthy drink.

Where can I get a yellow or golden soursop fruit?

You can purchase a golden soursop fruit from the ‘Rey del la Guanabana’ in Cartagena, Colombia. 


In conclusion, golden soursop (Annona muricata) is a unique Annona fruit for its yellow or golden skin color on the outside. Although the soursop fruit tastes almost identical, it is prized for its exotic color and is one to seek for those tropical fruit tree collectors. 


Soursop vs. Custard Apple: Which Tropical Fruit is Healthier for You?

Soursop vs. Custard Apple: Which Tropical Fruit is Healthier for You?

Exotic tropical fruits in the Annonaceae fruit family are known for their sweet taste and high nutritional value. 

Two popular Annona are soursop (Annona muricata) and custard apple (Annona reticulata).

Both of these fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals, but they have some distinct differences in terms of their health benefits. 

In this blog post, we will compare Soursop (Annona muricata) and custard apple (Annona reticulata), highlighting their key differences and the health benefits of each.

Soursop (Annona muricata)

Soursop, also known as guanabana, is a tropical fruit native to Central and South America. It has a spiky green exterior and white, juicy flesh. 

The fruit contains vitamins C and B and minerals like potassium and calcium. It also is loaded with compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.

What is Soursop known as?

Soursop is also known as Guanabana in South America in countries like Colombia. In Brazil, it is known as Graviola. In the Caribbean, it is known as Soursop.

What is Soursop known for?

Soursop is known for its cancer-curing properties, which is said to help cancer patients by consuming the fruit’s pulp and making teas from the leaves of the soursop tree.

The inside of a soursop guanabana graviola fruit annona muricata
The inside of a soursop fruit (Annona muricata).

Where can I purchase a soursop tree?

You can order a soursop tree online and have it delivered to your door from this online nursery.

Custard apple (Annona reticulata)

The custard apple, also known as bullocks heart (Annona reticulata), is another tropical fruit native to Central and South America. 

It has a red, brown, or green, smooth exterior and is creamy, white flesh or red flesh. The fruit contains vitamins A and C and minerals like potassium and phosphorus. 

What are the differences between soursop and custard apple?

One of the key differences between soursop and custard apples is their taste. 

Soursop has a unique, sweet, and sour flavor that is often described as a combination of mango and pineapple. 

On the other hand, a custard apple has a sweeter, custard-like taste.

Another difference between the two fruits is their texture. Soursop has fibrous white flesh, while custard apple has a creamy, almost custard-like texture. 

The flesh of custard apples can also vary from white to deep red depending on the cultivar of custard apple (Annona reticulata). 

the inside of a custard apple bullocks heart annona reticulata fruit
The inside of an Annona reticulata. Custard apple. Cultivar: Sarteneja.

What are the nutritional benefits of eating soursop and custard apple fruit?

The nutritional benefits of consuming Soursop and custard apple are that it contains excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. Soursop is exceptionally high in vitamin C, which is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.

On the other hand, the Custard apple is high in vitamin A, which is vital for maintaining healthy eyesight, skin, and growth.

Which is better for you, soursop or custard apple?

When it comes to choosing between soursop and custard apple, it depends on your taste and nutritional needs.

If you’re looking for a fruit with a unique, tangy flavor, Soursop is an excellent option. If you prefer a sweeter taste and a creamy texture, custard apple may be the better choice.

Both fruits are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, so incorporating them into your diet can benefit your overall health. Whether you choose soursop or custard apple, you can be sure that you’re getting a delicious and nutritious tropical fruit.


In conclusion, Soursop and custard apple are two tropical fruits rich in vitamins and minerals. They both have their unique taste and nutritional benefits. 

Soursop is high in Vitamin C and has anti-cancer properties, while custard apple is high in Vitamin A and has anti-inflammatory properties. Both fruits are a great addition to a healthy diet, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference when choosing between them.

Sugar apple versus vs compared Atemoya

Atemoya vs. Sugar Apple

Atemoya vs. Sugar Apple

Is atemoya the same fruit as sugar apple?

No, Atemoya (Annona atemoya) is not the same fruit as the Sugar apple (Annona squamosa), but both are a part of the Annonaceae fruit family. 

The atemoya fruit is a hybrid of Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) crossed with Sugar apple (Annona squamosa); where and what’s produced is called an Atemoya.

The Atemoya fruit is different from the cherimoya and the sugar apple.

Atemoya (Annona atemoya)

Where did atemoya originate from?

In Florida, the first atemoya hybrids were produced by horticulturist P.J Wester at the United States Department of Agriculture in Miami in 1908. The first atemoya seedlings of atemoya were planted in 1910. 

It is important to note that natural atemoya hybrids exist in South America, with sugar apple and cherimoya trees growing in nature and pollinating by pollinators.

What does atemoya taste like?

Atemoya fruits taste like a sweet custard mixture of pineapple and sweet tropical berries. Its flavor ranges among varieties of atemoya.

What does the inside of an atemoya look like?

The inside of an atemoya is white, with seeds aligning in the center. 

What are the nutritional benefits of atemoyas?

The nutritional benefits of eating 100 grams of atemoya include:

  • 79 calories.
  • 19.01 grams of carbohydrates.
  • 1.76 grams of protein.
  • 0.39 grams of fat.
  • A healthy portion of vitamins B6 and C.

Sugar Apple (Annona squamosa)

Where do sugar apples originate from?

Sugar apples (Annona squamosa) are said to originate in the South American tropics.

What does a sugar apple taste like?

Sugar apples taste like a sweet pear mixed with pineapple and mango that has a delectable custard sweetness.

Whats the inside of a sugar apple look like?

Sugar apples appear similar when open to atemoyas, but the flesh is segmented and not flush together like atemoyas.

What are the nutritional advantages of eating sugar apple fruit?

Per 100 grams of sugar apple (Annona squamosa) offers 94 calories, 26.64 grams of carbohydrates, 0.29 grams of fat, and 2.06 grams of protein. They also contain vitamins and minerals like riboflavin, thiamine, Vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.


What are the similarities between atemoya and sugar apple fruit

The similarities between atemoya and sugar apple are that they are both a part of the Annonaceae fruit family. 

Both fruits are also similar in taste, although each has unique taste characteristics that make them distinctive. Another similarity is that the flowers of atemoya and sugar apples appear and are pollinated the same way.

What are the differences between sugar apple and atemoya fruit?

The differences between sugar apple and atemoya fruit are the following.

  • Atemoya fruits can be grown at a higher elevation, while sugar apple struggles to grow at higher elevations.
  • Sugar apples are typically smooth with no pointy parts, while atemoyas are bumpy with small sharp bumps.
  • Sugar apple fruits on the inside typically come apart when eaten, while atemoya fruits remain whole and are not segmented on the inside like a sugar apple is.


In conclusion, sugar apple and atemoya fruits are different fruits, but both are a part of the Annona fruit family.

Both fruits have a tropical and unique taste and texture, with atemoyas having more hints of sweetness and acidity, while sugar apples have a taste profile that’s more custard and sweet.

Both fruits have a wide range of uses, from icecreams to medical applications, and are very beneficial to the human body. Whether you like sugar apples or atemoyas, you should include these delicious fruits in your home garden.


How to grow an Atemoya tree in Florida

How to grow an Atemoya tree in Florida

Florida is the perfect climate for growing Atemoya trees. This sweet and juicy fruit is a cross between a sugar apple (Annona squamosa) and a cherimoya (Annona cherimola), and it thrives in Florida soils and weather.

Here’s what you need to know to add an Atemoya tree to your fruit garden.

Recommended Products For Growing Atemoya

Atemoya care guide

Common namesAtemoya, Pineapple sugar apple,  
Scientific nameAnnona atemoya
Months of Atemoya HarvestIn Florida from June through December
Sun requirements for AtemoyaFull sun for best fruit production
Water requirements for AtemoyaTwo to three times a week during flower + fruiting season.
Soil requirements for Atemoya Rich, well-drained soil. Sandy soil will work in Florida.
Fertilizer requirements for Atemoya2-3 times yearly with Florikan, Osmocote, Azomite, Nutricote
Atemoya pestsWhiteflies, Scale, Potato LeafHoppers, Annona seed borer
Atemoya diseasesRoot rot
Annona Atemoya care guide updated: December 19, 2022

Atemoya fruit growing How to grow atemoya fruits guide
Un-ripe atemoya (Annona atemoya) fruit hanging.

Selecting an atemoya tree

Make sure to select a grafted atemoya tree

Select an atemoya tree that is grafted. A cultivar such as ‘Geffner’ always makes a great first atemoya tree due to its easy care and self-pollination.

Find out what rootstock it grafted onto

Not all atemoya rootstocks are equal. Some rootstocks, such as cherimoya (Annona cherimola), are superior over other rootstocks for Atemoya, such as pond apple (Annona glabra), which works better for grafting other Annonas such as ilama (A. diversifolia).

The best rootstock that has been reported for atemoyas is cherimoya (Annona cherimola), as well as the Custard apple (Annona reticulata). Last but not least, grafting Atemoya onto atemoya seedlings often works great.

Check the graft union 

Checking the graph union to ensure the atemoya tree is healthy and strong is recommended before buying the tree. 

By ensuring a strong and healthy graft union, you can make sure the Atemoya tree has the best chance to live a long and productive life.

Which varieties of Atemoya are the best to grow?

  • ‘Gefner’ atemoya: Green Self pollinating fruit, sweet classic atemoya flavor, and profile
  • ‘Lisa’ Atemoya: Pink/Green atemoya with a sweet tropical berry taste profile. 
  • ‘Priestly’ Atemoya: Green bumpy atemoya fruit with a sweet and juicy taste profile that is said to be superior in taste to ‘Gefner’.
  • ‘Dream’ Atemoya: A atemoya with cherimoya characteristics with a delicate, juicy, sweet flavor that is a favorite among many atemoya growers.
  • ‘Phet Pak Chong’ / ‘PPC Atemoya’: A jumbo chewy, sweet and juicy sugar apple-like atemoya that originated in Thailand.

Atemoya site selection

Where should I plant my atemoya tree?

The best spot to grow an atemoya tree should have well-drained soil, full sun, protection from strong winds, and enough space between each tree for maintenance and harvesting activities.

Atemoya tree standing 15 feet tall.

Where in Florida does Atemoya grow best?

Atemoya grows best in Florida in zone 9b-10a. Atemoya grows excellently in Miami, Fort Myers, Tampa, Sarasota, West Palm Beach, etc. 

Preparing the hole for planting atemoya

Preparing the hole correctly provides the proper foundation for the atemoyas roots to settle and ideally leads to a successful planting. 

Should I add anything to the hole before I plant?

It is recommended before planting Atemoya to add Azomite, an organic micronutrient supplement that will help feed your Atemoya.

How to fertilize Atemoya

Fertilizing atemoya trees is vital to maintaining the tree’s health and ensuring they produce fruits yearly and stay healthy. 

By providing fertilizer to the Atemoya, it helps provide the nutrients that Atemoya needs to help it thrive and grow.

When is the best time to fertilize atemoya trees?

Fertilizing atemoya trees should be done in the early spring (Late April to Early March) as trees will be in their prime growing season and hungry for nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and other micro-nutrient nutrients such as boron, zinc, manganese, and iron.

How many times should I fertilize an atemoya tree per year?

Atemoya trees should be fertilized twice a year, depending on your brand and type of fertilizer. 

Slow-release fertilizers are recommended over instant fertilizers as they might burn the tree’s roots if too much is applied. 

Slow-release fertilizers can also be applied fewer times per year and still provide nutrients every growing season every time the plant is watered.

There are many types of fertilizers for tropical fruit trees. Organic and synthetic fertilizers are available for tropical fruit trees and, in Florida, are necessary if you want to produce fruits from your fruit trees year after year.

To read more on fertilizers for tropical fruit trees, read this article here.

What is the best organic fertilizer for atemoya trees?

The best organic fertilizer for Atemoya is Azomite, which provides the Atemoya with the necessary micronutrients to help produce fruits yearly.

I also recommend adding organic compost, mulch, and teas to help your Atemoya be in its best health.

Which fertilizer is best for atemoya trees?

A quality slow-release fertilizer such as Osmocote 15-9-12 or Florikan works excellent for growing atemoya trees. 

For Atemoya trees to produce high-quality, delicious fruits must be supplemented with vitamins and minerals, as Florida’s sandy soil supplies little to no nutrients. 

Be sure to use only a little fertilizer as this might cause the leaves to grow due to the nitrogen content but at the cost of fruit production. 

Atemoya flowers

Atemoya flowers are similar in appearance to sugar apple (Annona squamosa) flowers and cherimoya (Annona cherimola) flowers.

Is Atemoya self-pollinating?

Some varieties of Atemoya are self-pollinating such as the ‘Gefner’ atemoya. It is recommended to hand pollinate atemoya fruits for a higher fruit set and a more uniform fruit shape.

Which varieties of Atemoya do not self-pollinate?

Atemoya varieties such as ‘Lisa’ and ‘Priestly’ may have a more challenging time setting fruit without assistance in hand pollinating the flowers.

How do I manually pollinate atemoya flowers?

If you are trying to pollinate atemoya flowers, you will need 

To pollinate female atemoya flowers, you will first need to collect male pollen from the male sugar apple flowers.

Male Atemoya Flower

Male atemoya flower petals are widespread, and the pollen can be extracted by lightly tapping on the atemoya flower with a black film canister directly under the flower.

Collecting male atemoya pollen from 10 am – 12:00 pm is best.

Male Atemoya Flower Pedals are wide open

Female Atemoya Flower

Female atemoya flower pedals are tighter together and have a banana liquor smell when in bloom. 

When ready to receive pollen, the stigma inside the atemoya female flower will be wet and slightly sticky so the male atemoya pollen can stick easily.

Female Atemoya Flowers with tight pedals

When is the best time to pollinate atemoya flowers?

The best time to pollinate female atemoya flowers is early morning, around Sunrise, to around 10:00 am, as the stigma is most receptive to the male pollen.

The best time to collect male pollen from your atemoya trees is late morning, around 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Atemoya pollen can be kept from the male atemoya and stored for up to 48 hours in the fridge vegetable and fruit compartment sealed. 

What is atemoyas natural pollinator?

Atemoya (Annona atemoya) natural pollinator is the nitulid beetle. The nitulid beetle is smaller than a grain of rice and can be hard to spot with the eye.

How do I attract atemoya natural pollinators to my garden?

If you want to attract the nitulid beetle (Atemoya natural pollinator) to pollinate your atemoya flowers naturally, you will need to include pieces of rotting fruits under the base of your atemoya trees.

The nitulid beetles like to hang out and reproduce within pieces of organic rotting material and prefer rotting fruits. So if you want to attract atemoyas natural pollinators, this is a must.

Atemoya fruits

Knowing when Atemoya is ready to harvest can be tricky–it requires patience, timing, and a trained eye to know the signs of ripening since they ripen at different times depending on climate conditions and the type of atemoya tree. 

But when done right, atemoya fruits provide an amazingly unique flavor that is sure to be remembered by many fruit lovers!

How to harvest atemoya fruits

To harvest an atemoya fruit, check to see signs of it being ready to harvest. Typically atemoya fruits are cut off the tree when still rock hard and are left to sit for 2-3 days before becoming soft and ready to consume.

How do I know when my atemoya fruit is ready to be harvested?

  1. Check the carpals on the fruit; if the spaces between the atemoya scales are becoming white and more prominent, it means your atemoya fruit is getting close to harvest.
  2. Check for any soft spots or softer areas. Atemoya fruits that are close to being ready to harvest may turn slightly soft.
  3. Check for any cracks on the atemoya fruit; cracks are due to irregular watering patterns. Once an atemoya cracks open, it will ripen slightly faster, so it’s essential to harvest the cracked fruits as soon as possible.

How to ripen an atemoya fruit once harvested

To ripen an atemoya fruit, simply place it inside a brown paper bag or a cardboard box. By placing the atemoya in one of these two will speed up the ripening process of the Atemoya.

How do I eat an atemoya fruit?

To eat an atemoya fruit, you must first wait until the fruit is soft all over, similar to a ripened avocado when soft. Once soft, you may cut it into the atemoya fruit with a knife or tear the Atemoya open with your hands.

It is important to eat only the atemoya flesh and avoid eating the skin and seeds of the atemoya fruit.

Is atemoya fruit poisonous or toxic?

All Annonaceae fruits carry small amounts of Annonacin which is concentrated in the seeds and skin of Annonaceae fruits. 

Annonacin is a chemical compound that may have toxic compounds to the human body if consumed. The flesh of Annonas is SAFE to consume compared to the seeds and skin, which is NOT safe to eat. 

Atemoya leaves and branching structure (Annona atemoya)

Pruning Atemoya

Pruning atemoya trees is essential for maximizing fruit production. 

Pruning atemoyas can also help to improve airflow, maintain an optimum leaf-to-fruit ratio, and encourage new growth each spring and summer. 

Proper pruning techniques include:

  • Thinning the canopy to increase light penetration.
  • Removing dead and broken branches.
  • Pruning long, thin, lean branches by 35-50%.
  • Thinning atemoya fruits.

When is the best time to prune Atemoya?

The best time to prune atemoyas is in the early spring. Prune atemoya trees in late April or early March to prepare them for the growing season.

Me standing next to an atemoya (Annona atemoya) tree I planted that stand over 15ft tall.

How do I prune my Atemoya?

  1. Identify any long lanky branches on the Atemoya that can be pruned back about 50% back. Atemoya branches that are long and lanky need to be pruned back at least 30-50%.
  2. Remove any atemoya branches crossing each other, as this will cause damage to the atemoya tree with branches rubbing against each other. 
  3. Remove branches in the middle of the atemoya tree that will increase the airflow inside the Atemoya when removed.
  4. Finally, remove any diseased or damaged leaves from the previous growing season to ensure new green leaves grow with flower buds.

When pruning atemoya trees, it is important to consider where the fruit will grow and set. 

Atemoya fruits can easily weigh 2-3 lbs plus, so if it grows on a branch that is not strong, the fruit can easily snap the branch.

Is it good to prune atemoya trees?

Atemoya and other Annonaceas fruit trees benefit greatly from a hard prune. Atemoyas will send out new flower buds and new branches on wood that has been pruned. 

How tall can atemoya trees get?

Atemoya trees can grow up to 25 ft plus if left unpruned.

How do I make my atemoya flower?

If your atemoya tree has not produced any flowers and is only growing leaves, a hard pruning of the branches and removing old leaves will force it to send out flowers and new leaves. 

Cut at least 25-50% of the branches and remove leaves to make your atemoya flower.

Questions about growing Atemoya 

Is it safe for dogs to eat Atemoya?

Although it is safe for a dog to eat the meat flesh of atemoyas, it is doubtful that they will enjoy the fruit as it has a sweet and acidic taste.

If you are giving your dog atemoya, always remove the seeds or process the fruit by removing the skin and seeds completely before giving them a taste.

Is it safe for cats to eat Atemoya?

It is safe for cats to eat Atemoya, but it is highly unlikely that they will want to eat a piece of Atemoya willingly.

I have observed my cats licking the atemoya flesh as I believe they enjoy the texture of the atemoya meat against their tongues. I have watched only one out of three cats living with me enjoy licking atemoya fruits for a little taste.

Can children and kids eat atemoya fruits?

Yes, It is safe for children to eat atemoya fruits.

It is highly advised for parents to supervise kids eating atemoya fruits and to remove all the seeds and the skin before feeding them to a child, as the seeds may be a choking hazard if not removed properly.

Atemoyas also contain Annonacin, a chemical that can be toxic to humans if consumed improperly. Annonacin is found concentrated in the Atemoya’s skin and seeds, so the two must not be consumed.

Although if you accidentally were to swallow an atemoya seed by accident, nothing would happen as I have experienced this.

Will Atemoya grow true to seed?

No, Atemoya will not grow true to seed. Atemoya grown from seed will produce a fruit similar to the parents but different. 

Will Atemoya grow in sandy soils?

Yes, atemoyas will grow in sandy soils and a wide range of soil types like clay and loamy soil.


If you want to grow an atemoya tree, this is the perfect guide for learning about its growing, fruiting, and care methods.

Atemoya in Florida is a reasonably new fruit that is still making its way across many Floridians’ gardens as people realize how delicious atemoyas are and the health benefits of growing your own Atemoya fruit tree.

What is cherilata fruit Florida

What is a Cherilata fruit? Here’s what you need to know.

What is a cherilata?

The Cherilata is a red hybrid fruit from the Annonaceae family that is crossed with Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) and Custard apple (Annona reticulata).

The Cherilata was created by John Painter on Pine Island, Florida. The John Painter Cherilata is crossed with the ‘Spain’ Cherimoya (A. cherimola) crossed with the ‘Tikal’ Custard apple (A. reticulata).

What is a cherilata fruit
Cherilata fruit grown in Bradenton, Florida, zone 9b/10a.

Who invented the cherilata fruit?

The cherilata fruit was created by John Painter in Pine Island. It is a delicious and beautiful red Annona fruit.

What does the cherilata fruit taste like?

The cherilata fruit taste like a sweet raspberry cream with a smooth texture similar to a cherimoyas texture.

What does the cherilata fruit look like?

The cherilata fruit is a smooth red Annonaceae fruit that resembles a red custard apple on the outside with a raspberry cherimoya flavor.

The cherilata fruit, when first set, starts off a dark brown/red color, but as it grows and matures, it begins to turn a bright red color.

Young Cherilata Fruit
Young cherilata fruit
Mature cherilata fruit almost ready for harvest

What does the Cherilata fruit look like when it first sets?

The cherilata, when the flower is pollinated and sets its fruit, appears green/grey and is small, like a marble.

Baby cherilata fruit just set
Young cherilata fruit that was successfully pollinated.

Are cherilata trees grafted?

Cherilatas are grafted onto pond apple (Annona glabra) rootstock in Florida. The pond apple is a Florida native Annonaceae fruit tree that is compatible with grafting the ‘John Painter Cherilata’ scion excellently while having the ability to produce fruits in wet conditions.

All the cherilata fruit trees I’ve purchased from Fruitscapes LLC have been grafted onto pond apple (A. glabra) rootstock.

What does the cherilata tree look like?

The John Painter Cherilata tree is a small to medium, open-spreading tree with long, slender branches that grows about 15 to 20 feet (4.6-6.1 m) tall and often with a spread of up to twice their height; these trees are hardy and easily grown in the Central and South Florida climate.

Cherilata tree planted in the Florida garden landscape
‘John Painter Cherilata’ Tree planted in Bradenton Florida zone 9b/10a

What do Cherilata flowers look like?

Cherilatas flowers have three fleshy pedals similar to flowers of its parentage, custard apple (Annona reticulata) as well as cherimoya (Annona cherimola).

Cherilata flowers flowering in Bradenton
John Painter Cherilata flowers

What do the Cherilata leaves look like?

Cherilata leaves are slender, long, and ovate, similar in appearance to the custard apple (Annona reticulata) leaves. The leaves are also thick, similar to a custard apple (A. reticulata).

Cherilata leaves at night
Cherilata leaves close up in Bradenton, Florida zone 9b/10a.

What does the inside of a cherilata fruit look like?

The inside of a cherilata fruit is white in the center with a red outer coating layer. Its texture is smooth, similar to a cherimoya (Annona cherimola).

Cherilata cut in half close up white center with red border smooth center
Cherilata fruit cut in half.
Cherilata fruit close up of the seeds inside the cherilata flesh
Close-up of the cherilata fruit.

How can I tell when the Cherilata is ready to harvest?

You can tell when the cherilata fruit is ready to harvest when the cherilatas color is bright red and soft to the touch.

Is a cherilata a custard apple or a cherimoya?

The cherilata is a hybrid between custard apple (Annona reticulata) and cherimoya (Annona cherimola), so it’s technically neither a custard apple nor cherimoya but a mix between the two – a cherilata.

Cherilata fruit split in half sitting in hand
Cherilata fruit ready to eat.

Which is better, cherilata or sugar apple?

Cherilata has a more complex flavor than sugar apples (Annona squamosa), but both Annonaceae fruits are delicious and highly nutritious.

Where can I purchase a cherilata fruit tree?

The John Painter cherilata is still a relatively newer Annona hybrid that is making its way to more growers over time.

I purchased my cherilata trees from Fruitscapes LLC in Pine Island. Fruitscapes is said to get their cherilata bud wood directly from Mr. John Painter, so you can guarantee that it is the real deal when buying through Fruitscapes LLC.

What fertilizer should I use for my cherilata tree?

A fertilizer like Osmocote plus 15-9-12 slow release works excellent for fertilizing cherilata trees.

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food Plus Outdoor & Indoor, 8 lb.
  • OSMOCOTE QUALITY: Osmocote is the original slow-release plant food. Decades of rigorous field testing confirm product effectiveness with hundreds of plant species in a variety of climate and soil conditions.
  • OSMOCOTE’S BEST FORMULA: Each homogeneous granule contains 15-9-12 NPK plus micro and secondary nutrients and feeds up to 6 full months.
  • OSMOCOTE’S SECRET: Soil temperature controls how Osmocote releases its nutrients, and more importantly how nutrients are taken up by the plant. Replenishment and feeding are in natural harmony.
  • OSMOCOTE’S DIRECTIONS FOR USE: 1 pound of Osmocote covers 37.5 sq. ft. (approx. 6’ x 6’). Works best when mixed into 1 – 3 inches of soil. Package includes applicator. In containers, mix 1 pound with 19 gallons of potting soil.
  • OSMOCOTE IS MISTAKE-PROOF: Even if over-applied up to 3x the recommended rate, Osmocote does not ‘burn’ the plant.


Sugar apple vs. cherimoya

Are sugar apples and cherimoyas the same? This article will dig deeper into the sugar apple vs. cherimoya. Both sugar apple and cherimoya fruits are a part of the Annonaceae family, but the tastes are entirely different.

Are sugar apples and cherimoyas the same fruit?

No, sugar apple (Annona squamosa) and cherimoya (Annona cherimola) are not the same fruit. Both fruits are part of the Annonaceae family, but the name sugar apple and cherimoya are often used for one another.

In different parts of the world, such as Colombia, if you ask for a cherimoya, you could get a sugar apple (A. squamosa) or a cherimoya (A. cherimoya).

Sugar apple (Annona squamosa)

Where did sugar apples originate from?

The sugar apple is a fruit that originated in the South American tropics. Its fruit is known worldwide for its taste and appearance.

What do sugar apples taste like?

Sugar apples have a sweet taste mixed with tropical custard flavors such as mango, pineapple, and bananas. Its white flesh is made up of segments that contain sugar apple seeds.

What does the inside of a sugar apple look like?

Sugar apples on the inside are white with pulp segments enclosing the seeds.

Inside of a sugar apple (Annona squamosa) fruit.

What are the nutritional benefits of sugar apples?

Per 100 grams of sugar apple fruit will provide you with 94 calories, 26.64 grams of carbohydrates, 0.29 grams of fat, and 2.06 grams of protein.

The sugar apple fruit is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin (b2), Thiamine (b1), Vitamin B6, Niacin (B3), potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Sugar apple fruit (Annona squamosa) health benefits per 100 grams of fruit.

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola)

Where did cherimoyas originate from?

Cherimoyas originated from the South American tropics highlands.

What do cherimoyas taste like?

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) tastes like a mixture of fruits such as strawberries, mangos, and bananas. 

The fruit is slightly acidic and has a sweet and sour element while eating it.

What does the inside of a cherimoya look like?

The inside of a cherimoya fruit is white with smooth segments of flesh. The cherimoya, unlike the sugar apple’s flesh, is intact and does not fall apart when ripe, unlike the sugar apple.

Cherimoya (Annona cherimola) fruit on the inside.

What are the nutritional benefits of cherimoyas?

100 grams of cherimoya fruit will provide you with 75 calories, 17.70 grams of carbohydrates, 0.70 grams of fat, and 1.57 grams of protein.

The cherimoya fruit is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin (b2), Thiamine (b1), Vitamin b6, potassium, and Vitamin E.

Cherimoya fruit (Annona cherimola) health benefits per 100 grams of fruit.

What are the similarities between sugar apples and cherimoya?

  • Sugar apples and cherimoyas are both parts of the Annona family. Both fruits have a creamy white texture and sweet taste.
  • Both fruits are considered delicious and grown widely throughout the tropics.
  • Both sugar apple and cherimoya trees are deciduous, meaning they shed their leaves in the winter and re-grow new leaves in the early spring.
  • Both sugar apples and cherimoyas contain seeds that are not to be eaten.
  • Both sugar apple and cherimoya trees bear flowers and new leaves when pruned.

What are the differences between sugar apples and cherimoya?

  • Sugar apples and cherimoyas are grown at different elevations. Sugar apples can only be produced at lower elevations, while cherimoya can only be grown in higher elevations.
  • Sugar apple and cherimoya leaves are shaped differently. Cherimoya leaves are more oblong and round, while sugar apple leaves are slender and pointed.
  • Cherimoya flowers are more slender and slightly longer than sugar apple flowers.
In this video we compare Sugar apple (Annona squamosa), Cherimoya (Annona cherimola), Soursop (Annona muricata), and Atemoya (Annona atemoya)

Common questions about sugar apples and cherimoya

Which is better, sugar apple or cherimoya?

Both sugar apples and cherimoyas are delicious fruits part of the Annonaceae family. My favorite overall is sugar apple.

Which fruit is sweeter, sugar apple or cherimoya?

Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is a much sweeter fruit than cherimoya (Annona cherimola). If you have a sweet tooth, sugar apple is your fruit.

Is sugar apple or cherimoya the same as atemoya?

The sugar apple and cherimoya are different from atemoya. The atemoya is a fruit developed by naturally crossing the two fruits sugar apple (Annona squmoasa) crossed with cherimoya (Annona cherimola).

Do cherimoya (Annona cherimola) trees grow big?

Cherimoya trees can grow up to 15 – 30 feet tall.

Do sugar apple (Annona squamosa) trees grow big?

Sugar apple trees can grow anywhere from 15 – 20 feet tall.

Are there health benefits to eating cherimoya and sugar apple fruits?

Eating cherimoyas and sugar apples can provide many health benefits to your body, such as increased skin and bone health.


Sugar apples and cherimoyas are both highly sought-after fruit of the Annonaceae family for their delicious taste and health benefits.

The sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is a tropical green, bumpy surface fruit that grows in lower elevations such as Florida. Its taste is sweet and melts in your mouth as you eat it.

The cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a lime green, a smooth-surfaced tropical fruit that grows better in higher elevations such as California. Its taste is rather sweet and acidic, but its delectable texture makes you crave more.

In the end, sugar apples and cherimoyas are delicious fruits that are part of the Annonaceae family. If you have yet to try these exotic tropical fruits, I highly recommend you go to your local Asian or fruit market to seek them out or grow them yourself. Read this article for more information on how to grow tropical fruit trees.


Custard apple vs. sugar apple

Are custard apples the same as sugar apples? Or are sugar apples the same as custard apples? Stop the confusion; in this article, you will learn which fruit is which and the similarities and differences between the sugar apple and custard apple fruit.

Is custard apple the same as sugar apple?

No, custard apple (Annona reticulata) is not the same as sugar apple (Annona squamosa). Both fruits are part of the Annonaceae fruit family but are different species of trees that produce entirely different fruits.

Sugar apple

The sugar apple (Annona squamosa) fruit is a fruit that comes from the sugar apple tree.

The sugar apple fruit is called sugar apple in the United States of America, but in other parts of the world, sugar apple (Annona squamosa). The sugar apple fruit gets confused with the custard apple in the United States.

Sugar apple fruit is known as Mang cau na dai in Vietnamese. Sugar apple fruit is called Annona or Anon in Colombia and other South-American countries. It is also called Sweetsop by the people of the Caribbean and Atis by the Philippines. In India, sugar apple is called sitaphal.

How To Grow A Sugar Apple Tree In Florida
Sugar apple fruit (Annona squamosa) freshly harvested variety ‘Na Dai Vietnamese’.

In South America, the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) may be referred to as ‘chirimoya’ which can be confusing, but it’s not to be confused with Cherimoya (Annona cherimola).

The sugar apple tree looks different from the custard apple tree. Some of the most noticeable differences are in the leaves and bark of the sugar apple.

Some sugar apple varieties include ‘Na Dai Vietnamese,’ ‘Thai Lessard, ‘Thai Golden Sugar Apple,’ and ‘Thai Purple Sugar Apple.’

For more information on growing sugar apples check out this article on how to grow sugar apples.

Custard apple

The custard apple (Annona reticulata) fruit is a fruit that comes from the custard apple tree.

The custard apple fruit is called custard apple in the United States of America. Still, in other parts of the world, the custard apple (Annona reticulata) may refer to the sugar apple (Annona squamosa).

In different parts of the world, the term “custard apple” is used to classify multiple fruits of the Annonaceae family.

Red custard apple fruits variety ‘San pablo’ from Lara Farms

In India, for example, if you ask for a custard apple, you will receive a sugar apple (Annona squamosa). On the other hand, if you were to ask for a custard apple in Australia, you would receive an atemoya (Annona atemoya).

The custard apple (Annona reticulata) fruit looks similar but is different from the sugar apple (Annona squamosa).

In Florida, some common varieties of custard apples are ‘Bullock’s heart,’ ‘Fernandez,’ ‘Sartaneja,’ ‘Havana,’ or ‘Vino Tinto.’

Is the custard apple or sugar apple better?

The custard apple (Annona reticulata) compared to the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) are hard fruits to say one is better than the other due to both fruits being delicious and sweet.

Some prefer the custard apple (Annona reticulata) due to its creamy and grainy texture. Its fruit grows significantly larger than a sugar apple (Annona squamosa).

On the other hand, other prefer the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) for its chewy and sweet flesh. The sugar apple also has a juicy pulp that tastes like a tropical custard.

What are the main differences between custard apples and sugar apples?

How can I tell custard apple apart from sugar apple?

Custard apple (Annona reticulata) appearance is smooth on the surface and typically comes in a red, orange, or brown-reddish color.

How can I tell a sugar apple apart from a custard apple?

The sugar apple’s (Annona squamosa) appearance is bumpy, and its surface is covered in knobby-like green scales.

Sugar apples may come in colors such as green, purple and yellow.

What are the similarities between the custard apple and the sugar apple?

Similarities of the custard apple and sugar apple are that they are both delicious fruits apart of the Annonaceae family.

Both custard apple (A. reticulata) and sugar apple (A.squamosa) are deciduous trees in the winter and grow excellently in low-elevation climates such as Florida.

The custard apple and sugar apple can grow in various colors, such as red, green, and yellow.

Is the custard apple healthier than the sugar apple?

Both fruits of the Annonaceae family provide excellent nutrition for the body. If you can grow both Annona trees custard apple (A. reticulata) and sugar apple (A. squamosa), it is highly recommended to include both in your diet.


Sugar apple and custard apple are two completely different fruits used to describe often the same fruit. Botanically speaking, the sugar apple is Annona squamosa, while the custard apple is Annona reticulata.

Both fruits are part of the Annonaceae family but have entirely different appearances, colors, tree shapes, and tastes.

Around the world, custard apple may refer to many fruits of the Annonaceae fruit family, including sugar apple and custard apple.

If you want to be sure you are referring to the custard apple or sugar apple, it’s always recommended to include their botanical names so there is no confusion.

Sugar apple is Annona squamosa and Custard apple is Anona reticulata.

How To Grow A Sugar Apple Tree In Florida

How To Grow A Sugar Apple Tree In Florida

Growing sugar apple in Florida is one of the best tropical fruits to cultivate. Its sweet and delectable taste will drive you to include a tree in your home garden.

When growing sugar apples in Florida, you should consider a few things before buying your first tree or planting one. 

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know about how to grow a sugar apple tree in Florida.

The sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is a fruit tree part of the Annonaceae fruit family. It is known as the cherimoya of the lowlands because of its ability to be productive in low elevations such as Florida.

Recommended Products At Amazon For Growing Sugar Apples:

Sugar apple fruits in Florida
Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) fruit grown in Florida.

Sugar apple care guide

Common namesSugar apple, Sweetsop, Anon, Annona, Custard apple, Mang cau dai, Srikaya, Sitaphal
Scientific nameAnnona squamosa
Months of sugar apple harvest in FloridaMay to November
Sun requirements for sugar appleFull sun to partial shade
Water requirements for sugar applesWater twice a week water during the growing and fruiting season. Water should increase as the sugar apple tree is flowering and fruiting.
Soil requirements for sugar appleWell-drained, loamy, nutrient-rich soil.
Fertilizer for sugar apples Sugar apples should be fertilized 2 to 4 times per year. Osmocote + 15-9-12 is our recommended fertilizer for sugar apples.
Sugar apple pestsMealy Bugs, Ambrosia Beetles, Annona Seed Borer, Plumose Scale, Philephedra Scale, Potato Leafhopper
Sugar apple diseaseDry Fruit Mummification, Fruit rot, Branch dieback
Sugar apple care guide updated: November 15, 2022

How to grow sugar apple trees

Sugar apple trees are adaptable to various planting situations but will do best when planted with full sun.

Sugar apples can be planted with high density. The sugar apple tree responds well when pruned vigorously; actually, the tree prefers to be pruned as it triggers it to send out flowers and new leaf growth.

Best place to plant sugar apple tree

The best place to plant a sugar apple tree is a spot where it will receive full sun and have well-drained soil.

Sugar apples will grow in various soils and can grow in Florida’s sandy soil.

Sugar apples can be planted in semi-shade and still produce fruit, but they might face more pest problems and have slightly less production.

Purple sugar apple how to grow sugar apple tree in Florida Annona squamosa
Purple sugar apple (Annona squamosa) growing in Bradenton, Florida zone 9b.

About planting a sugar apple tree

Sugar apples can be planted at various stages of growth, but it is best advised to produce a sugar apple tree with a well-established root system in a 3-gallon or more.

Sugar apple trees should be planted in well-drained soil. Florida’s sandy soils are ideal for growing sugar apples and other Annonas, such as atemoya.

If you are growing sugar apples from seed, it is advised that you plant the seedling when it’s at least six months to one year of age.

How to plant a sugar apple tree

  1. To plant a sugar apple tree, dig a hole that’s about twice the size of the pot in which your sugar apple tree is growing in.
  2. Plant the sugar apple in the hole but ensure the tree is slightly above the soil level. It is better to plant fruit trees higher than below the soil level.
  3. Water the sugar apple for at least two minutes or until its roots, are thoroughly soaked. Repeat this two to three times a week for the first month so its roots establish.
  4. Sugar apple trees should be planted in well-drained soil. Planting sugar apple in sandy soil is fine. Amendments such as wood chip mulch, organic fertilizers, and granular fertilizers are highly recommended to supplement the sugar apples’ nutritional needs.

Fertilizing sugar apple trees

Sugar apple trees can be fertilized once planted into the ground the day they are planted with fertilizer, such as Osmocote 15-9-12 for established sugar apple trees or Osmocote 14-14-14 for seedling or smaller sugar apple trees.

Organic fertilizers can be used to fertilize sugar apple trees, such as chicken or cow manure, as Annonaceaes thrive with organic materials.

It is advised to fertilize about half a cup of fertilizer per sugar apple tree and spread around evenly around the tree.

After fertilizing, it is vital to continuously water the sugar apple tree as water will trigger the fertilizer to release nutrients for the roots of the sugar apple to absorb.

It is recommended to fertilize your sugar apple trees for the first few years two to four times a year with organic or synthetic fertilizers until they are big, healthy, and strong.

Check out this article for more information on fertilizing tropical fruit trees

Sugar apple fruit Annona squamosa growing in Florida
Green sugar apple ‘Lessard Thai’ ripening on the tree in Florida.

Sugar apple water requirements:

Sugar apples, when first planted out, require water at least two to three times a week during the active growing season in the spring and summer months.

Younger sugar apple seedlings and saplings require more water generally than older established trees.

Sugar apple trees are relatively drought-tolerant and will survive if you forget to water them.

Sugar apple flowers

Sugar apples can produce flowers as early as six months of age from seed.

Sugar apple trees can flower and set fruits as young as one year, but it is highly advised to keep the sugar apple tree from holding fruits so early.

Young sugar apple trees that hold fruits at an early age (Younger than three years of age) may become stunted in growth as all the life force energy goes to producing the fruit. This energy is better invested in growing leaves and size.

Sugar apple flowers will bloom first as female flowers and, within 24 hours, change to male flowers.

How to pollinate sugar apple flowers

Sugar apple flowers will first start as female flowers. Within 24 hours, they will switch from female to male flowers on the same flower.

Female sugar apple flower pedals are more enclosed and tight together, while male sugar apple pedals are spread open.

The best time to pollinate female sugar apple flowers is in the early A.M from 7 AM – 11:00 AM as the stigma is moist.

Male sugar apple flowers in Florida (Annona squamosa)

The best time to collect male sugar apple pollen is from the morning to noon time. Pollen can be stored overnight in the fruit and vegetable compartment in the fridge.

  1. First, collect pollen from the male sugar apple flower while using a small container and a small paintbrush to brush the pollen.
  2.  Second, identify the female flower and apply the male pollen directly to the female sugar apple flower.
  3.  Within three to four days, if the flower is still attached to the tree, the sugar apple successfully has set and is beginning to grow.
Fruit set sugar apple and flowers on a sugar apple tree
Sugar apple fruit set (Annona squamosa)
Learn how to hand-pollinate sugar apple (Annona squamosa) flowers in one minute.

How to know when sugar apple fruit is ready to harvest

The sugar apple fruit will be ready to harvest when the segments between the sugar nodes begin to turn white. The sugar apple fruit will also become soft on the tree, but it is recommended to harvest it before it gets too soft to where it could fall off.

How to harvest sugar apple fruit

  1. Identify that the sugar apple has white lines in between the nodes of the sugar apple.
  2. Touch the sugar apple fruit and check if it is soft. If it is soft it is ready to be harvested but if it is still rock hard it will need more time on the sugar apple tree.
  3. Cut the sugar apple fruit from above the stem and store the sugar apple in a cool environment inside.
  4. The sugar apple fruit once harvested from the tree will begin to ripen fast. Once soft the sugar apple is ready to eat.

Sugar apple pests

Sugar apples in Florida can be attacked by aphids, mealy bugs, white flies, chalcid wasps, and potato leaf hoppers.

For treating sugar apple pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, and white flies, I recommend a product like neem oil to treat them.

Whiteflies growing on a sugar apple Annona squamosa leaves
Whiteflies on sugar apple. A common sugar apple (Annona squamosa) pest in Florida.

For potato leaf hoppers, an organic pesticide such as Pyganic works great to kill potato leaf hoppers on sugar apples and other Annonaceae fruit trees.

How to grow sugar apple tree from seed

  1. Allow the sugar apple seeds to soak in water for at least 12-24 hours (or longer) to absorb water and begin the germination process.
  2.  Plant the sugar apple seeds in one inch of soil and lightly cover the sugar apple seed.
  3.  Pro tip: I always get better germination results when I plant the opening of the sugar apple seed (there’s only 1) up toward the sky.
  4.  Water the sugar apple seed in the soil once or twice weekly or whenever the soil gets dry.
  5.  It is essential to place your sugar apple pot where it will be warm enough to sprout. I suggest placing it under a tree where it can still get some shade but still get some warmth.
  6.  Fresh sugar apple seeds should sprout within 2-3 weeks of planting during the active growing seasons in Florida. Seeds may be sprouted indoors with a heated seedling kit, My favorite one that I’ve used to sprout several sugar apples indoors is this one.
  7.  Once the sugar apple seeds sprout, it is important to keep up-potting the seedling into bigger pots as it grows to allow the seedling to grow optimally over time.

About the sugar apple tree in Florida

The sugar apple is a tropical fruit tree originating in South America. In Florida, sugar apple has been grown throughout the state, and trees can fruit from Jacksonville down to the Keys.

In recent years in Florida, sugar apples have become a popularised yard tree to include in the home landscape due to their sweet tropical taste and growing compatibility in various types of soils.

Sugar apples make a beautiful specimen to grow in your yard and produce a delicious fruit that has adapted well to Florida conditions.

In Florida, the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is most commonly called sugar apple, but you may hear it called custard apple, Annona, or Anon.

How To Grow A Sugar Apple Tree In Florida
Sugar apple tree in the yard in Florida (A. squamosa)

How to care for sugar apple trees

  1. Ensure that the sugar apple tree is watered at least two times per week during its growing season, which is the spring and summer months.
  2.  When sugar apples are young trees, they might produce flowers and set fruit. Removing fruits from young sugar apple trees younger than 2-3 years of age is vital to allow the tree to grow a strong trunk and branches.
  3.  Sugar apples will lose their leaves at the end of summer, entering the winter season in Florida. The leaves will turn brown, yellow, and even black and look diseased but rest assured, the tree is just going dormant and will wake up in early spring.
  4.  During the growing season, sugar apples can be attacked by pests, including mealy bugs, white flies, potato leaf hoppers, and aphids. Organic pesticides such as Neem oil or Pyganic for leaf hoppers will help your plants thrive.
  5.  Sugar apple trees and other tropical fruit trees thrive when fertilized with organic and synthetic fertilizers. Tropical fruit trees need to be fed with nutrients from a complete fertilizer (NPK) to thrive optimally in Florida.
  6.  Sugar apple flowers can be naturally pollinated in Florida by the nitulid beetle. You can attract the nitulid beetle into your yard by leaving fruit peels under your Annona trees, as that is their food.
  7.  Sugar apple flowers can be hand pollinated and are recommended if you want your fruit to be set nearly 100% of the time. By hand pollination, you will ensure your fruit has a uniform round shape to the fruit.
  8.  Sugar apples benefit from being pruned annually.
  9.  Pruning sugar apple branches can trigger flowers and new leaves to emerge.
Fresh sugar apple fruit harvest in Florida
Fresh sugar apple (Annona squamosa) fruit harvest in Florida.

Questions about growing sugar apples

Does sugar apple grow in Florida?

Yes, the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) grows great in Florida’s subtropical climate.

Is growing a sugar apple tree easy?

Growing sugar apples are easy in lowland areas such as Florida. Not many pests and diseases affect sugar apples, and they are drought-tolerant.

Does sugar apple tree attract rats?

No, while growing, the sugar apple fruit is rock hard, and its taste or smell does not attract rats. The pre-mature sugar apple contains a chemical that prevents animals from wanting to eat it.

Is sugar apple the same as atemoya?

No, Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is different from atemoya (Annona atemoya).

Is the sugar apple tree poisonous?

No, the sugar apple tree is not poisonous.

Is the sugar apple fruit poisonous?

No, the sugar apple pulp is not poisonous and is eaten and enjoyed by millions of people around the globe.

Are sugar apple seeds poisonous?

Sugar apple seeds contain a chemical that may become toxic to humans if consumed in large amounts. It is advised to never eat the seeds of Annonaceae fruit. If you accidentally swallow a seed no harm will happen. Always spit out the seeds of the sugar apple while eating as you would while eating an orange with seeds. It is highly advised not to eat the sugar apple seeds.