The custard apple tree, or custard apple, is a tree that has its origin in western India, although currently most of the production is centered in Spain. It is a tree highly appreciated for its fruit, the custard apple, exotic fruit of great nutritional and dietary quality. And it is that custard apples, in addition to being very low in fat, are rich in vitamins of groups B and C, in addition to containing phosphorus.
If you want to plant one of these subtropical climate trees in your garden, go ahead and join us in this practical GreenEcology guide on when and how to plant cherimoya.
When to plant custard apple
The most common climate to plant this tree is in spring , which is when its seeds have the best chance of succeeding. However, if you live in a tropical or very temperate climate, without great variations in temperature according to the seasons, you can try to sow them throughout the year .
The main problem with sowing custard apples is that their seeds, in addition to being very hard, contain germination inhibitors. Because of this, germinating them can be a bit difficult at times, and it is not always successful.
How to plant custard apples
It is possible to sow custard apple seeds in the ground, without more care than cleaning them properly of pulp, and that they grow by themselves. However, this process has a good chance of not occurring naturally, so here we are going to teach you how to germinate custard apple seeds for later transplanting.
- Get custard apple seeds. You can buy them, but they also work for one you just ate.
- Clean the seeds completely of any traces of pulp. To do this, prepare a small container with water; you can add a few drops of bleach to the water. Dip the seeds in it to disinfect them. Also, if at this point any of the seeds float, you will know that it is not worth planting it, as it is in poor condition.
- Take them out right away and pat them dry with absorbent paper.
- Very carefully sand or cut a small piece at the narrow end of the seeds; This step is done to improve the chances that the seeds will germinate. Once cut, we can leave them in a glass of water overnight. Some people simply submerge them in water for up to three days without cutting them, but doing this step greatly accelerates their growth, in addition to optimizing their chances of germination.
- When you remove them from the water, wrap them in wet absorbent paper and store them in a container that allows ventilation, in a slightly warm room.
- Dampen the paper a bit again when it dries and keep them in a warm environment, until they are ready to be planted in seedlings or small pots. In about 15 days your seeds should already show a white bud, which is its root.
- Prepare the pot. To do this, use a substrate with good drainage and rich in organic matter. Plant them bud down, but don’t bury them deep: they will find their place.
- Water after planting them, and keep the substrate moist but not waterlogged. Growth in these early stages is still slow, since the hardness of the seeds makes it difficult for the plant to break them to show the cotyledons and their first leaves.
- After one to two months, your seedlings should be ready for you to finally take them outside, in their final location.
Cherimoya care: a basic guide
This tree is small in size, rarely exceeding 8 meters in height and, in addition, it supports pruning very well, making it very suitable for small or medium-sized gardens. These are the main cares of the custard apple tree :
- Location: custard apple requires a great deal of light. If you live in a temperate or mild climate, you can place the tree in full sunlight, without fear of direct impact. If your climate is hot or has summers with very intense sun, it would be better to place it in semi-shade.
- Watering: watering should be done with a high frequency, every other day in the warm months, and a couple of times a week in the cold. Remember to always avoid waterlogging the ground.
- Fertilizer: custard apple requires soils that are very rich in organic matter, so using fertilizers such as compost, bokashi or worm castings will greatly help its growth. In addition, these fertilizers are totally ecological.
- Pruning: pruning should be done in spring or autumn, and its main task is to clean the tree of branches or leaves in poor condition, as well as suckers. Formation pruning, as in all fruit trees, should only be carried out in the first years.