Custard apple, Annona reticulata
||High (10-12 hours)
||Medium (2-3x week)
||15" x 25"
The custard apple tree is not especially attractive. It is erect, with a rounded or spreading crown with irregular shape, averaging 25' x 15' in the landscape. The ill-smelling leaves are deciduous, alternate, oblong or narrow-lanceolate. The pale yellow-green, purple-spotted flowers, which occur in drooping clusters. The form of the tree may be improved by judicious pruning.
The large fruit is irregularly rounded or heart-shaped. The skin, thin but tough, may be yellow or brownish when ripe, with a pink, reddish or brownish-red blush, and faintly, moderately, or distinctly reticulated. There is a thick, cream-white layer of custardlike, somewhat granular, flesh beneath the skin surrounding the juicy segments, in many of which there is a single, hard, dark-brown or black, glossy seed. The flavor is sweet. Fruits generally ripen in late summer to fall.
The custard apple tree needs a tropical climate with hot summers and cooler winters, making it a good choice for South Florida. In South Florida the leaves are shed at the first onset of cold weather and the tree is dormant all winter, but will regenerate in the spring.
The custard apple does best in deep, rich soil with ample moisture and good drainage. It grows excellent in the limestone soils of South Florida. The tree is fast-growing and responds well to mulching, organic fertilizers and frequent irrigation if there is dry weather during the growing period.
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