The cherimoya tree, or custard apple, is a tree that originates from western India, although currently most of the production is centered in Spain. It is a tree highly appreciated for its fruit, the custard apple, an exotic fruit of great nutritional and dietary quality. And it is that cherimoyas, 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 guide from EcologíaVerde on when and how to plant cherimoya.
When to plant cherimoya
The most common climate to plant this tree is in spring, which is when your seeds have the best chance of succeeding. However, if you live in a tropical or very temperate climate, without large variations in temperature depending on the seasons, you can try 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 is not always successful.
How to plant custard apples
it’s possible sow cherimoya seeds in the ground, with no more care than to properly clean them of pulp, and let them 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 cherimoya seeds for later transplanting.
- Get cherimoya seeds. You can buy them, but they also serve the ones 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 chlorine to the water. Dip the seeds in it to disinfect them. Also, if at this point any of the seeds floats, you know that it is not worth planting, because it is in poor condition.
- Take them out immediately and dry them with absorbent paper.
- Carefully sand or cut off a small piece at the narrow end of the seeds; this step is done to improve the chances of the seeds germinating. Once cut, we can leave them in a glass of water overnight. There are those who 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 take them out of the water, wrap them in wet absorbent paper and store them in a container that allows ventilation, in a slightly warm room.
- Lightly moisten the paper again when dry and keep them in a warm environment, until they are ready to be planted in seedbeds or small pots. In about 15 days your seeds should already show a white shoot, which is its root.
- Prepare the pot. To do this, use a substrate with good drainage and rich in organic matter. Plant them with the shoot downwards, but do not bury them deep: they will find their own place.
- Water after planting them, and keep the substrate moist but without flooding. Growth in these early stages is still slow, as the hardness of the seeds makes it difficult for the plant to break them open to reveal the cotyledons and first leaves.
- After between one and two months, your seedlings should be ready for you to finally take them outside, in their final location.
Custard apple care: basic guide
This tree is small in size, very rarely exceeding 8 meters in height and, in addition, it withstands pruning very well, making it very suitable for small or medium-sized gardens. These are the main care of the custard apple tree:
- Location: cherimoya requires a large amount of light. If you live in a temperate or mild climate, you can locate the tree in full sunlight, without fear of direct incidence. If your climate is hot or has summers with a very intense sun, it will be better to place it in semi-shade.
- Irrigation: 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 ones. Remember to always prevent the floor from becoming waterlogged.
- Pass: The custard apple requires soils that are very rich in organic matter, so using fertilizers such as compost, bokashi or earthworm humus will greatly help its growth. In addition, these fertilizers are totally ecological.
- Pruning: pruning must 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. Training pruning, as in all fruit trees, should be done only in the first years.
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