San Pablo Red Custard Apple Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 9 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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The San Pablo Red Custard Apple (Annona reticulata) is not an Apple, but a relative of sweetsop that produces large, red, sweet tropical fruits. Red Custard Apples are native to a wide range of sub-tropical areas such as Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. They are grown in rare fruit gardens throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and the tropical south. The deep green, glossy leaves fall at the first sign of cold weather, but the trees can survive temperatures down to 28ºF.

San Pablo Red Custard Apple Trees grow to heights of 35-feet and widths of between 15 and 30-feet. The fruits are red when ripe and the flesh is sweet with creamy red pulp surrounding several large, easy to remove seeds. They can be grown in the ground within USDA Zones 9 to 11, or in pots and over-wintered indoors in Zones 4 to 11. Add this rare fruit to your edible landscape and harvest your own Red Custard Apples right at home.

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Red Custard Apple Tree Care

San Pablo Red Custard Apple Trees are considered tropical/subtropical evergreen or semi-deciduous fruit trees. They bloom in spring and summer, and the fruit is ready between late summer and fall. They like rich soil that drains well and has a light acidity with a pH of about 5.5 to 6.5. Once the tree is established and growing in the ground, mulch with any organic mulch and do not dig or hoe deeply around the roots and tree base. Water when the soil is dry to 2-inches deep and fertilize in the spring and fall with granulated fertilizer formulated for citrus or mango trees.

San Pablo Red Custard Apple Trees are related to Sapote Trees, so they do well in similar conditions. If you have a healthy Mamey Sapote Tree in your edible garden, then you should be able to also grow a San Pablo Red Custard Apple Tree. Plant in a spot with full sun to partial shade and that is not prone to standing water. You can also grow a San Pablo Red Custard Apple Tree in a lage container with drainage holes. Bring potted trees into a garage or shed when temperatures are forcasted to be below 45ºF.

Red Custard Apple Harvesting and Uses

Grafted San Pablo Red Custard Apple Trees growing in a good spot with proper care will usually begin to produce fruit within 2 to 3 years. Pick fruits when they are deep red and glossy. Use sharp, clean hand clippers to cut the thick stems just above the fruits. Harvested Red Custard Apples can be refrigerated for several days, but they will not continue to ripen further once picked.

Ripe San Pablo Red Custard Apples have red flesh that is the consistency of custard, sweet, and bursting with tropical flavors of banana, pineapple, and orange. They are eaten fresh, used in smoothies, and blended with other tropical fruits to make exotic and refreshing juices. San Pablo Red Custard Apples are also chopped and used as a topping for ice cream to make a cool summer dessert.


San Pablo Red Custard Apple fruits vary in size, shape, and flavor. Some will naturally be sweeter than others, some will have very dense ripe flesh, and others may have a thinner consistency. All are delicious, but the differences among individual fruit can make it challenging to form initial opinions about the fruit in general. Be sure to try a few different ones before making up your mind about the quality and taste of this unusual tropical treat.

Always harvest the last remaining fruit after a big crop. Do not allow dropped fruit to remain under the tree, and remove any fallen or trimmed branches from the tree base. The trees don’t require pruning, but you can prune them to maintain them at certain sizes. Also it is a good idea to always trim the lowest branches to keep leaves and stems from touching the ground. Splashing soil can invite fungus and pests, and tidy, well maintained trees with good airflow go a long way to keep both your tropical fruit trees, and your entire yard, healthy.


How big do Red Custard Apple Trees get?

Red Custard Apple Trees reach mature heights of about 35-feet, and grow to about 30-feet wide or less.

Where is the best spot to plant my new Red Custard Apple Tree?

The best growing location for a Custard Apple Tree is in full sun to partial shade in well drained, slightly acidic soil, within USDA Zones 9 to 11.

Can Red Custard Apple Trees be grown in containers?

Yes, You can grow a Red Custard Apple Tree in a large container that has holes for drainage. Bring potted Custard Apple Trees indoors if weather turns colder than 45ºF.

How fast do Red Custard Apple Trees grow?

Red Custard Apple Trees are considered fast or medium-fast growers. In a good location a new tree can reach 10-feet tall within a year in the ground.