Zone 9B, Florida: This is my on-going documentary of my experiences growing GREEN Sugar Apple trees. It covers planting from seed to seed, in container and in ground, fertilizing and pruning, and where to buy seeds, seedlings, or trees. This post will be updated periodically. Post updated 10/29/23.
- Scientific name:
- English names: sugar apple, sweetsop, custard apple
- Vietnamese name: mãng cầu
- Thai: TBD
Origin: Southeast tropical Asia (Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc), and other countries
Sugar apples are easily grown from seed in Florida. The sugar apple tree produces fruit at age two from seedlings so there’s no need to air layer a tree unless you want to ensure taste quality are the same. So far, I only know there are green sugar apple fruits and purple sugar apple. Green sugar apple fruits have green bumpy skin with white to pinkish flesh. The flesh is like a sweet custard. Purple sugar apple has bumpy dark purple skin with purplish and pinkish flesh.
(Side note) Purple Sugar Apple: My friend, Luke, in Orlando me 26 of his purple sugar apple seeds. The fruit of these seeds has been cross pollinated with his Priestley or Geffner Atemoya pollen. He believes the purple sugar apple trees from these seeds will be large in size and of superior quality. It’s going to be a 2-3 year experimental project for me. I am documenting the life of Luke’s Purple sugar apple trees from seed to seed cycle. Documentary coming soon in 2024 since I just started sowing these seeds.
Green Sugar Apple Varieties: There’s no named variety that I know for the green sugar apples, but some varieties can be very gritty while some varieties are not gritty at all. There is also a variety with a pink tinge originated from Thailand. My friend and I also have came across a green sugar apple variety with an unpleasant flavor and smell that caused us to spit out even though my husband could not detect any differences. Vietnamese growers prefer varieties with a sweet, creamy, non-gritty, and slightly chewy texture. This is also a reason why I only sow seeds from the fruit I eat or from growers I know that produces the same superior taste quality to make sure it’s not a gritty kind.
Growing Zones: 9B and warmer
Sunlight: full sun is recommended
Propagation: from seed
My documentary of growing Green sugar apple all starts from the seed. My friend Aiha grows delicious sugar apple and her trees are healthy with big fruit sizes. She donated her harvested seeds in 2023 for me to add to my seed bank for sale to support my garden. I am testing her seeds now.
Germination test of Aiha’s green sugar apple seeds harvested summer 2023:
- Date seed sow: 10/27/23
- Date of germination: TBA
- Germination rate: #/16 seeds
Where to Buy Green Sugar Apple Seeds: I do sell green sugar apple seeds and seedlings. Please refer to my Seeds for Sale inventory or contact me if you are interested in buying green sugar apple seeds from me. Green sugar apple seeds are harvested from my garden or my friends’ garden.
Where to Buy Green Sugar Apple Seedlings: I only sell a few seedlings a year to help support my gardening expenses. I do know some friends who sell and shipping sugar apple seedlings. If interested, contact me for more info. Currently, I have 5 seedlings from sugar apple batch #6 available for sale at $5 for local pickup. It would be $25 for shipping but I only ship seedlings from March to August.
Green Sugar Apple Trees: I know a lot of local friends in Florida selling green sugar apple trees. If interested, contact me for more info.
Growing in Container:
I am growing three green sugar apple trees in containers.
Potting Mix: I use Lowe’s Potting Mix
Watering: at least three times a week
Growing in Ground:
I am currently growing a green sugar apple tree and a red sugar apple tree in the ground in my front yard. This is the first fruit.
Watering: My tree in the ground gets watered three times a week by sprinkler system and from rain.
Spacing: Since green sugar apple trees are native to Vietnam and after seeing Vietnamese gardeners growing sugar apple trees, based on my observations, sugar apple trees have shallow root system. The tree can be planted at least six feet away from the wall and facing east. Since it needs heavy pruning each spring to promote new branching and fruit production, it can easily kept at a manageable size and height. The leaves will or should fall in late autumn to go into dormancy.
Pruning: Pruning is recommended in early spring or end of last frost since sugar apple fruits on new growth. I will just dare stamp pictures of before and after each time I prune my green sugar apple trees here. Sugar apple fruits on new growth so pruning is encourage.
Pest Issues: TBD
Harvesting: I learned that you do not need to wait for sugar apple fruits to fully ripen on the tree. By that time, the critters may have gotten to the fruit by then. Harvest the green sugar apple with you start seeing the gaps between the ridges visible is what food foresters and fruit tree seller Leaph in West Palm Beach told. We can just ripen the fruit on the counter or in a brown paper bag or in the rice container. Do not put the sugar apples in the fridge if it’s not fully ripen. This will stop the fruits from ripening properly.
Storing Seeds: Depending how the sugar apple seeds are stored, it can be good for two years. But I recommending sowing the seeds within the first year from date of harvest.