CALL US +1.772.337.1959


Tropical Fruit Point

​​​​​​​​Sugar Apple

  • Common name: Sugar apple, sweetsop, custard apple
  • Scientific name: Annona squamosa
  • Family name: Annonaceae
  • Origin: Tropical America
  • Height: 15 to 20 ft
  • Width: 15 to 20 ft
  • Growth: Moderate
  • Zone: USDA Zones 10-13
  • Light needs: Full sun
  • Salt tolerance: Low
  • Soil/pH/Texture: Can tolerate many soil types, including sand and limestone, as long as the soil is well-drained. Prefers a slightly acidic pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
  • Moisture: Moderate water needs, soil should ideally be kept moist but never flooded
  • Drought tolerance: Tolerant of drought, although prolonged periods of drought will cause leaf drop and poor fruit production.
  • Pests/Diseases: Pests include the Annona seed borer, scale, mealybugs, and ambrosia beetle. Annona seed borers are the most important sugar apple pest, causing fruit damage and decay. Fruit rot is a common disease of sugar apple which is caused by fungi.
  • Growing conditions: Should be grown in a sunny, warm area. Unlike other members of the Annona family, it is quite drought tolerant. However, prolonged droughts will cause poor growth and fruit production, so it is recommended to irrigate it during dry spells. It also tolerates many soil types, including sand and limestone, so it can be planted in a variety of areas. It is, however, not frost tolerant, and below freezing temperatures can damage and kill it. Fertilizing it regularly in small amounts promotes better growth and fruit production. This plant has few natural pollinators in Florida, so it is commonly pollinated by hand.
  • Characteristics: This small tree rarely exceeds 20 ft in height and has reddish-brown, lightly fissured bark and a broad, open crown. Leaves are light green, lanceolate, and may reach 4 inches in length. The leaves are hairy when young and smooth at maturity. Flowers are small, produced singly or in small clusters, and are yellow-green and inconspicuous. The fruit is an aggregate of many flower pistils, and is similar to a large raspberry in structure, being composed of many segments that are easy to separate when mature. The skin of the fruit is green, and the pulp is white. This pulp has a custard-like consistency and is edible.
  • Propagation: By seed or by grafting. Seed is the most common method, as grafting tends to be unsuccessful. Seeds should be scarified before planting for quicker germination.
  • Wildlife: In its native habitat, the flowers are pollinated by beetles. It is a host plant for the tailed jay butterfly.
  • Facts: The fruit has the taste and texture of custard. It is also a good source of vitamins. Fruit pulp is often used to make juices and ice cream. The seeds are poisonous but still useful, as they are ground up and used as pesticide in many places.
  • Designer considerations: As a small tree, it is a great choice for gardeners who want to add trees to their landscape but have limited space – it also has the added benefit of producing delicious fruit. It also looks good near walkways and porches. 

Sugar Apple