The Pantin Mamey Sapote Tree (also called Key West Mamey) is one of the most popular Sapote Trees among home growers. This giant tropical berry is also grown commercially in Florida and the tropics. The trees are easy to grow and can produce hundreds of fruits each year. Not only is the fruit considered a delicacy, but picking your own each season is a great value, since individual Mamey Sapote Fruits can sell for as high as $10 each. Ripe Key West Sapotes are between 5 and 10 inches long and 8 inches wide. Their creamy pink to orange flesh has flavors of peach, sweet potato, and honey with a slight almond nutiness.
Pantin Mamey Trees grow to heights of 50 feet or taller and widths of between 15 and 30 feet. They have long oval leaves that are deep green and heavily ribbed. The best place to grow a Pantin Mamey is in the ground in USDA Zones 9 to 11, or a pot within Zones 4 to 11. They are self-pollinating and grafted trees can start making fruit in 3 to 5 years. Plant a Pantin / Key West Mamey Tree in your edible garden and harvest your own crops of this one of a kind tropical fruit.
Pantin Mamey Trees can live for as long as a century and in good locations can make fruit for their entire lifespans. Choose a planting location that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day and that has soil that drains well. Unlike some fruit trees, Pantin Mamey Trees do well in rugged, sandy soils with high amounts of gravel. They like to be watered deeply and fertilized twice per year in the spring and fall. Use tropical fruit tree fertilizer or granulated fertilzer formulated for citrus and avocados. Always water fertilizers in well after applying.
When planting, remember that a Pantin Mamey tree will reach 50 feet tall and up to 30 feet wide. Plant in a location with at least 20 feet of growing room on all sides. Clear the ground of weeds and grass and dig a hole twice as wide but as deep as the rootball. Backfill with a blend of compost and sand and water the new tree in well. Water every other day for one week, then when the soil is dry to 2 inches deep. Reduce watering when rainfall is heavy or frequent.
Pantin Mamey Fruit Harvesting
Pantin Mamey Trees usually bloom in spring or summer, but they can also bloom at other times of year depending on rainfall, sunlight, and tree age. Pantin Mamey Fruits take a long time from blooming to ripeness, and the fruits will slowly mature over a period of 1 to 2 years on the tree. This long ripening timeframe is part of what makes Mamey Sapotes expensive in the markets, on the rare occasion when you can find them at all. Patience and taste tests are the best tools for cutting a perfectly ripe Key West Mamey Sapote.
When the fruits are at least one year old, choose a large one and, with it still on the tree, lightly scratch the fruit’s skin. If the scratch shows green underneath the brown skin, then it is not ready. If the scratch reveals orange underneath, then that fruit can be picked. Once harvested, the Pantin Mamey Fruit will slowly soften until it is ready. Check each day for firmness until it starts to yield to a gentle squeeze. Once the fruit softens in this way cut it open the next day.
Pantin Mamey is one of the most sought after fruits in the world. The ripe flesh is creamy and has the smoothness of dense pudding. While the outside skin is rough and light brown, the ripe inside is a dazzling display of pink and red with streaks of cream and orange. The complex, pleasing flavor is a blend of peach, apricot, honey, and almond. The single, large, glossy black seed is never eaten raw. Many in the tropics love Mamey milk shakes made by blending ripe Pantin Mamey with ice, sugar, and cream (or just vanilla ice cream). The fruit is also eaten fresh, added to salads, and frozen into fruit bars.
If you are limited on space, or live in an area where freezing winters are expected, you can grow a Pantin Mamey Tree in a container. Start with a 3 to 5 gallon pot and use potting soil with perlite for drainage. Be sure the pot has holes for drainage and position the tree outside in full sun if possible. If growing indoors, place the Mamey tree in a sunny south-facing window. Bring outdoor potted Pantin Mamey Sapote Trees inside (or into a shed) when temperatures drop below 40ºF.
Repot your potted Pantin Mamey Tree every spring using a larger pot until the tree is growing in a 15 gallon or larger container. It is common for potted trees to drop leaves when they are moved inside or back outside for the seasons, or when they are repotted into larger pots. The fallen leaves will regrow and this process does not harm the tree itself.
Do Pantin Mamey Trees need a pollinator tree?
No. Pantin Mamey Sapote Trees are self-fertile, so a single tree will grow fruit.
Where does the Pantin Mamey Tree come from?
Mamey Sapote Trees are naitive to Mexico and Central America, but the Pantin / Key West cultivar was discovered growing in Key West, Florida in the 1950s.
Can you eat Pantin Mamey Seeds?
Pantin Mamey Sapote Seeds are not usually eaten, outside of very long and complex commercial procedures to remove the toxin within them. The fruit is safe to eat and has no toxicity in the flesh.
Can I grow a Pantin Mamey Sapote Tree in a pot?
Yes, Pantin or Key West Mamey Trees can be grown in large pots with holes for drainage.
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