Sugar Apple Trees bear a sweet, creamy, tropical fruit that has to be tasted to be believed. Sugar Apple Trees are self-fertile and can be grown outdoors in USDA growing Zones 9-11, or in a pot in Zones 4-11 and brought inside during colder months or freezing temperatures. They reach a mature size of between 10 and 20 feet tall, and up to 20 feet wide. The segmented green fruit resembles a rounded pine cone and can be pulled apart easily when ripe.
Sugar Apple Trees are self-pollinating and will produce fruit from a single tree. They can tolerate a range of soil as long as the soil is not mostly clay or other materials that do not drain well. Be sure the soil has good drainage and the planting location gets as much sunlight per day as possible. In the right spot, a Sugar Apple Tree will produce fruit within one to two years.
Sugar Apple Tree Care
In USDA Zones 9-11, it is best to plant your Sugar Apple Tree in the ground. Choose a spot with well-draining soil that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If you are in Zones 4-11 you can grow your Sugar Apple Tree in a pot that has holes for drainage. Choose a pot at least 3 inches larger than the pot the tree came in. Position potted Sugar Apple Trees in the sunniest location available, and bring indoors if temperatures drop below 40 degrees F.
Water Sugar Apple Trees once per week for the first year, unless the soil is still wet below the surface down to 3 inches. If soil remains wet, wait another week before resuming regular watering. When watering potted trees, be sure to water thoroughly and allow excess water to drain. This can be done in a shower, or by moving the tree outside to water. You can also use a pot saucer to catch draining water.
Fruit & Harvesting
Sugar Apples appear as small oval fruit after fragrant blooms. The fruit begins as pale yellow or yellow-green, and matures to a bright green. They will ripen on the tree, and can be picked before they are ready to eat and allowed to ripen for a few days. A ripe Sugar Apple will yield slightly when squeezed, and the interior flesh will be creamy and sweet. Pull apart the segments, or cut and slice the fruit, and eat the creamy flesh. The flavor is like sweet pudding that is a cross between vanilla and pineapple.
The easily removed, large seeds are toxic, as are the leaves and bark of the tree. Avoid eating leaves or seeds. In addition to eating fresh, Sugar Apples are used to make jams, juice, sauces, drinks, salads, and desserts.
Sugar Apple Trees bloom in late spring, and the fruit will be ready about four months after the blooms appear. Harvest the fruit with hand-trimmers and do a taste test to determine if the fruit is ready. Once picked, it may take a few days for the fruit to soften. Sugar Apples have a relatively short window of ripeness. Once soft and ready to eat, they will quickly become overripe. It is best to eat them as soon as they are ready.
Sugar Apple Trees that are growing in the ground should be kept free of fallen limbs or debris stacked against the trunk. Always prune away any dead or damaged branches. Trim lower branches to keep limbs from touching the ground. Limbs that touch or are too near the ground can become splashed with mud during rain. This can invite bacteria and pests that may harm the tree.
What does a Sugar Apple Taste like?
Sugar Apples are a tropical delicacy with a creamy texture and a tropical taste that is described as a cross between vanilla and pineapple. The taste is refreshing and sweet.
How often should I fertilize my Sugar Apple Tree?
Sugar Apples will thrive under much the same conditions as other tropical fruit like mangoes or avocados. Fertilize new trees with a complete fruit tree fertilizer every 4 to 6 weeks in spring and summer. A mature, established tree can be fertilized as little as once every 3 months.
How much fruit will a Sugar Apple Tree grow?
A mature Sugar Apple Tree in good conditions will usually grow between 60 and 100 pieces of fruit per season. Some larger trees may produce more, while younger trees may only grow a dozen or so in their first year or two of fruit production.
Can you grow a Sugar Apple Tree in a pot?
Yes. As long as you use a sturdy container with holes for drainage, and position the tree where it gets the most sunlight possible, you can grow a Sugar Apple Tree in a container.