Growing Guanabana: A Step-by-Step Guide to Growing Your Own Soursop Tree
Guanabana, also known as soursop, is a tropical fruit with a unique flavor that is highly sought after for its health benefits.
Growing your own soursop tree can be a rewarding experience, but it requires some effort and knowledge about growing Annonaceae fruit trees.
In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to growing your own soursop tree, from selecting the right location to harvesting your fruit.
Good products at Amazon for growing Soursop
- Osmocote Plus – 15-9-12 Soursop Fertilizer
- Florikan Soursop Fertilizer
- Pyganic – Organic Soursop Insecticide
- Organic Super Green Kelp Foliar Spray
Soursop Quick Care Guide
|Common names||Soursop, Guanabana, Mang Cau Xiem, Graviola|
|Scientific name||Annona muricata|
|Months of harvest||July through December|
|Sun requirements||Full sun for best fruiting|
|Water requirements||Two to three times per week, depending on the weather|
|Soil requirements||Tolerates many soils as long as well draining|
|Fertilizer requirements||Two to three times per year with Osmocote or Florikan|
|Pests||Potato leaf hopper, Annona seed borer, Scale, Whiteflies|
|Diseases||Root rot, Branch dieback|
Soursops come in many varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes. Some soursops have a golden color, known as the golden soursop, and others are known for having no fiber.
Some popular soursop varieties that can be found in the nursery trade are
- Miami (Self-pollinating)
- Cuban fiberless
- Whiteman fiberless
- Giant Proflific
- Beverly fiberless
- Golden Soursop (Yellow Soursop)
If you want to grow your own soursop tree, you can order one straight to your doorstep.
Choosing the Right Location
The first step to growing a healthy soursop tree is selecting the right location. Guanabana trees require full sunlight to part shade to thrive, so choosing a spot with at least six hours of direct sunlight daily is essential.
Additionally, soursop trees prefer a warm and humid climate, so they should be planted in a location with a consistent temperature of 70-80°F.
Soursop is known to be more of an extreme tropical fruit tree, meaning they are sensitive to cold weather. A microclimate is ideal for soursop, protecting them from more freezing temperatures in winter.
Selecting the Right Soil
Soursop trees require well-draining soil with a pH between 5.5-6.5. The soil should be rich in organic matter, such as compost or manure, and free from rocks and debris.
Planting Soursop (Annona muricata)
Soursop trees can be grown from seed but are often grafted onto a rootstock for improved disease resistance and fruit quality. Typically soursop is grafted onto soursop (Annona muricata) seedling.
Dig a hole twice as wide and deep as the root ball when planting your seedling.
Gently remove the seedling from its container and place it in the hole, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Backfill the hole with soil and water thoroughly.
Watering and Fertilizing the Soursop Tree
Soursop trees require regular watering, especially during dry periods. Water deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged.
It is important not to overwater your soursop tree, which can lead to root rot. Additionally, soursop trees require regular fertilization to ensure healthy growth and fruit production.
Use a balanced slow-release fertilizer, such as Osmocote plus 15-9-12, and apply it every two to three months during the growing season.
Soursop trees also benefit significantly from monthly foliar sprays, which help them absorb essential nutrients through their leaves.
If your soursop tree is yellow, spraying chelated iron will make it a healthy dark green color again.
Soursop flowers are more round and globe-shaped than sugar apple, atemoya, and cherimoya flowers.
On the other hand, Atemoya, cherimoya, and sugar apple flowers are typically more elongated and triangular in shape.
Soursop flowers also tend to have a more pronounced fragrance than the other three types of flowers, with a strong, sweet scent that is hard to miss.
Soursop flowers are generally about 2 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. They have a distinctive heart-shaped or oblong shape with petals that are typically yellow-green.
The petals are pointed and curve back towards the stem, giving the flower a slightly triangular appearance.
In terms of texture, soursop flowers are delicate and smooth to the touch. They have a slightly waxy surface on the outside and are soft and tender on the inside. The flower can grow from branches or even the trunk of the soursop.
The soursop flower can also be hand pollinated to guarantee fruit set on the soursop tree.
Pruning Soursop Tree
Pruning and training your soursop tree can help to promote healthy growth and fruit production.
Begin by removing any dead or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are crossing or rubbing against each other.
Next, train the remaining branches to grow outward and upward, using stakes or trellises to support them if necessary.
It is essential to prune your soursop tree regularly to ensure it maintains its shape and does not become too large or unwieldy.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Soursop trees are susceptible to various pests and diseases, including potato leaf hoppers, Annona seed borers, mealybugs, scale insects, and fruit rot.
To prevent these problems, inspect your tree regularly for signs of infestation or disease. Use insecticidal organic sprays such as Pyganic – my favorite go-to Annonaceae fruit tree pest spray or horticultural oil to control pests.
Remove any infected or diseased branches or fruit to prevent the spread of disease.
Additionally, practicing good sanitation, such as removing infected leaves and fruit, can help to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.
Harvesting Your Fruit
Soursop fruit typically ripens six to eight months after flowering. The fruit should be harvested when it is mature but firm, as it will continue to ripen off the tree.
You can tell when the soursop is ready to harvest because it will start changing its color from dark green to a light green/yellow color. The fruit may begin to get soft in certain parts, and a sweet and sour aroma may arise.
To harvest your fruit, gently twist it off the tree, careful not to damage the stem or fruit. Soursop fruit can be eaten fresh or used to make juice, smoothies, and other recipes.
Frequently Asked Questions About Soursop
Q: How long does it take for a soursop tree to bear fruit?
A: A soursop tree typically takes 3-4 years to bear fruit from seed.
Q: How often should I water my soursop tree?
A: Depending on weather conditions, soursop trees should be watered twice a week or more deeply.
Q: Can soursop trees be grown in containers?
A: Yes, soursop trees can be grown in containers, but they may not grow as large or produce as much fruit as trees planted in the ground.
Q: How do I know when my soursop fruit is ripe?
Soursop fruit will be ripe when soft to the touch and has a sweet and sour aroma. It should be harvested when it is mature but still firm. The soursop will continue to ripen off the tree.
Q: How do I prevent pests and diseases on my soursop tree?
Inspect your tree regularly for signs of infestation or disease, and remove any infected or diseased branches or fruit. Practice good sanitation by removing fallen leaves and fruit. Use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil to control pests if necessary.
Q: Are soursops poisonous?
A: Eating soursop fruit pulp is not poisonous. The seeds and the skin of the soursop fruit contain small amounts of Annonacin, which can be toxic to humans if consumed in large quantities – so it’s advised never to consume the skin or the seeds of the soursop fruit.
Q: What’s the best fertilizer for soursop?
A: The best fertilizer to grow soursop is Osmocote plus or Florikan. These slow-release fertilizers are preferred over instant-release fertilizers due to slow-release fertilizers containing micronutrients that don’t burn the soursop’s root system and give continuous feed over a few months, which the soursop prefers rather than all at once.
Growing your own soursop tree can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it requires some effort and knowledge. By selecting the right location and soil, planting the seedling properly, and caring for your tree through watering, fertilizing, pruning, and pest management, you can enjoy a healthy and fruitful soursop tree in your backyard.
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