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It is a wise decision to grow sugar apples in your garden. Sugar apple, also known as custard apple is rich in nutrients.
In this article, I will give you step by step guide on how to grow sugar apples.
So, Let’s get started:
Understanding sugar apples
Sugar apple (Annona squamosa) is a tropical fruit that is covered by gray, blue, or green scales on the outside. In the inside of this fruit, creamy and juicy yellow-white flesh is found.
This fruit is different from other fruits and looks unusual. So, many ask the same question – Are sugar apples edible?
Sugar apples are totally edible. The flesh of sugar apples is sweet, minty, and custardy in taste. It has a rich sweet flavor. The seeds and flesh of this fruit are also used for different purposes.
When the flesh becomes soft, you can eat the sugar apples. Cut them in half and take out the flesh (try using a spoon). Remove the seeds from the extracted flesh.
You can add the flesh of this fruit in salads, ice creams, milkshakes, and many more.
How to grow Sugar Apple seedlings?
Sugar apple fruits are very delicious and are widely desired. You can even grow this fruit for business or economic purposes. Let’s get started on how to grow sugar apple seedlings:
#1 Collecting the seeds
You can collect the seeds easily through your local garden center or, through the fruit itself.
Cut the fruit in half and take out the seeds through flesh. You won’t be having any problem while removing the seeds from the fruit. They are big enough to separate easily.
Once you have collected the seeds from the fruit, you need to wash them properly so that any flesh does not remain in the seed. The flesh of the fruit that gets stick to the seed may cause the seed to rot while storing them.
#2 Storing the seeds
It was easy to collect the seeds right?
Now, you need to store them which won’t be that easy like collecting seeds. The seeds of this fruit are recalcitrant. They are difficult to store even at an appropriate temperature.
So, you need to plant the seeds in a short interval. First, place the seeds in a paper towel and store them in a glass jar. Make sure that you do not store them for a longer period.
While storing, do not let the seeds to be dry. You need to provide moisture to the seed. So, add another piece of soaked paper towel inside the jar so that the seeds will be moisturized.
#3 Planting the seeds
After storing the seeds in a jar, they will be ready to be planted after 3 days. Before planting the seeds in the soil, make sure that the soil is of good quality.
Chose fertile, loose, and deep soil for sowing the seed. You can grow apple sugar fruit in any, loam or clay soil too. To grow plants in clay soil, you can check our content on vegetables that Grow in Clay Soil.
You need to find a spot where the seeds will get enough sunlight to grow. The seed of this fruit germinates well in presence of light and warmth. You can also install grow lights for artificial light.
You can plant the seeds in a container 3 inches deep. The container should have drainage holes and its soil should be moist. Sow the seeds 3 inches deep into the soil.
Once the seeds are matured, you can transplant them in your garden where a good amount of light can be received by it. Sugar apples do not like cold climates. So, try to transplant them during the warm season.
#4 Caring for the sugar apple plant
Once you have sowed the seed, the seed will germinate in about 30 days. After germination, there are few important things to consider:
Temperature is a crucial thing to look at while the seeds are germinating. The temperature should be maintained between 50F to 85F. The seed can tolerate some more heat but will die if the temperature falls below 32F.
Watering the sugar apple plant is very challenging. You need to make sure that the soil is moist without over-watering it. So, once the soil completely dries out, water the soil immediately. Water the plant every 2 to 3 weeks and once the flower blooms, water it more often.
Humidity helps with flowering and pollination. If you want better production of sugar apple, maintain the humidity above 60%.
Fertilization increases the growth rate of the plant. To know about plant growth, check our content on How Many Inches Does a Plant Grow in a Week? Organic fertilizer is best recommended for this plant to grow.
Pruning is the process of cutting down unwanted branches and leaves. This helps the plant to grow well and will balance the structure of the plant. You should prune this plant in the spring season.
Pests are attracted by this plant as they are sweet. This will cause a decrease in production. So, cover the plant with plastic or paper.
Pollination should be taken care of if you want a high production rate. Study about different insects and birds that help in the pollination process. You can also conduct pollination yourself.
#5 Harvesting sugar apples
Your sugar apples will be ready to be harvested after about 3 years from planting. To harvest, you should be very careful not to damage the plant as they are extremely delicate.
Harvesting sugar apples are confusing as all the fruits may not be ripe at the same time. You need to select individual fruit to harvest when they are ripe. You can observe the color and size of the fruit if they are ripe or not.
Once you have recognized the ripe fruit, harvest them by cutting the stem with a sharp knife. Be careful not to harm the plant.
How long do sugar apples bear fruit?
Once you have successfully grown the plant, you can easily achieve production for more than 10 years if you have taken good care of the plant.
For a longer period of time, you need to keep the plant free from diseases. The diseases are mainly caused by rain and humidity. Anthracnose and leaf spots are the two most dangerous diseases found in this plant.
So, if you maintain the good health of the plant, you will be able to get good production for a long period of time. After about 5 years, the production will start to decline.
Sugar apple benefits
Sugar apples are rich in nutrients. They contain a high percentage of carbohydrates, dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Consuming sugar apple will be helpful for your eye, blood pressure, digestion, and even your mood.
As sugar apples are sweet, many people with a proper diet are asking a question – How much sugar is in a sugar apple?
Well, to answer that, consider consuming a sugar apple as consuming a candy bar in terms of sugar content. About 19 grams of sugar is present in an average-sized fruit.
You now might have understood how to grow sugar apple seedlings. You can grow a healthy plant if you have followed the above guidelines.
One last secret from me, try adding the sugar apple to your smoothie drinks for a taste of the tropics.