Soursop / Annona muricata (Germination of Custard Apple – Annona Squamosa is identical)
Soursop (Annona muricata) has its place amongst a unique plant family, Annonaceae, whose members include the cherimoya, custard apple and sugar apple, or pinha. Soursop trees bear strange-looking fruit and are native to tropical regions of the Americas.
The fruit of the soursop tree has a spiny outer skin with a soft, heavily seed-laden pulped interior. Each of these cauliflorous fruit may attain over a foot in length and, when ripe, the soft pulp is used in ice creams and sherbets.
The soursop tree can reach height of 30 feet and is soil tolerant, although it flourishes in well drained, sandy soil with a pH of 5-6.5. A tropical specimen, this low branching and bushy tree does not tolerate cold or strong sustained winds. It will, however, grow at sea level and up to elevations of 3,000 feet in tropical climes.
Plant seeds at a depth of ½ inch
Tip: Soak seeds overnight before planting.
Days to Germination: 15 – 30 days
- Collect and wash guanabana soursop seeds and prepare a warm, shady indoor spot for germination. Plant the seeds in peat pots filled with potting soil, less than 30 days after harvesting. Keep the soil moist to the touch. Soursop seeds germinate in 15 to 30 days if viable.
- Prepare a sunny, south-facing spot with wind protection in the garden and rake 2 inches of compost into the soil.
- Transplant 12-inch-high seedlings into the yard in the spring, spacing them at least 12 feet apart. Dig holes large enough to contain the root ball of each plant. Cover the base of the plant with soil, then add 3 inches of mulch to keep it moist.
- Water soursop plants often enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet, during hot weather. When the weather turns cool in the winter, reduce water intake. Soursop plants tolerate drought well, but can develop pest problems if kept too wet.
- Treat soursop plants with 10-10-10 fertilizer, using a total of one-half pound of fertilizer per tree during the first year, splitting the amount at quarterly intervals. In the second year, increase the amount to 1 pound. Each year after that, use 3 pounds of fertilizer.
- Reapply mulch to the trees each year, widening the application area to 5 feet as the tree’s root system grows.