Custard Apple, Red (Annona reticulata)

Custard Apple, Red (Annona reticulata)

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Red custard apple (Annona reticulata, sugar apple, custard apple, bullock's heart) is a close-but-kooky relative of sweetsop varieties like A. muricata and A. squamosa. The Red Custard Apple is cast off as the Ugly Duckling of Annonas, but no tropical food forest would be complete without it. It is native to the West Indies, Central America, and South Mexico, and a cultivated crop from southern Mexico to Peru and Brazil. The Annona reticulata tree grows upright and irregular at times. It droops with oblong, semi-evergreen leaves that shed upon any inconvenient winter chill. In the springtime, Annona reticulata blooms with clusters of yellow-green flowers. In the summertime, custard apple fruit forms polygonal plates of red, brown, and yellow.

Red Custard Apples can vary in size, shape, quality, and taste. That makes it difficult to gauge a good first impression of the Red Custard Apple, since you never know what you’ll get. The Red Custard Apple tree fruits heavily when popular varieties of the sugar apple tree aren’t in season yet. Red annona fruits should be picked once they are ripened on the tree, since they will not ripen well if picked green. How you enjoy red custard apples is totally up to you. You can scoop the flesh from the skin and eat it as-is, with a side of ice cream, or blended into a milkshake. The most important thing to remember with red custard apples is enjoy and accept them as you are.

Annona (from Taíno annon) is a genus of flowering plants in the pawpaw/sugar apple family, Annonaceae. The generic name derives from anón, a Hispaniolan Taíno word for the fruit.

Plant Type
Tropical/Subtropical Evergreen or Semi-Deciduous Fruit Tree/Shrub

Harvest Season
Late-Summer to Fall
Prune seasonally to develop strong branches

Mature Size
Up to 35 feet

Soil & Moisture
Rich, well-drained soil with light acidity suit these warm-weather plants best.  Provide regular moisture and humidity, but be careful not to over water. Annona's are intolerable to water-logging. Requires deep watering during growing/fruiting seasons and less during winter dormancy.

Light Requirements
Full Sun, Part Shade

Overall, expect best fruit production with more sun

Self-Fertile
Yes

Growth Rate
Fast to Medium

Zone Hardiness
Outdoors 9-11 with frost protection; Patio/Greenhouse 4+

Annona's (especially Soursop) may defoliate during the winter in subtropical regions (40 degrees or lower), but remain evergreen in their native deep tropical habitats. Sugar Apples are generally tolerant to 28 degrees, whereas some Annona's like Soursop will need more cold protection if growing outdoors in Zone 9.

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Our Annona's include Sugar Apples, Red Custard Apple, Soursop, Pond Apple, and Cherimoya fruit trees. Shop all of our Annona fruit tree types and varieties.