How to Grow Annona reticulata Plants in your Garden

Annona reticulata, more commonly referred to as the Custard apple or Sugar apple, is a warm climate thriving small tree.

It is a tropical plant that can be grown in zones 10 to 11, and is thus not tolerant of frosts; though it may tolerate a short light frost once established. Leaf drop often occurs if growing in cooler areas.

It is a fast-growing deciduous evergreen tree that belongs to the Annonaceae family (soursop). In the right areas it can be used in the garden as an ornamental plant or grown for its fruits.

The tree typically grows between 20 to 35 feet (6 to 11 m) tall and 15 to 30 (4.5 to 9 m) feet wide.

Dog apple
Annona reticulata photograph by Tatters.

Sugar Apple trees are very troublesome to grow indoors as a houseplant due to their winter sensitivity.

The leaves produce an ill smell and hang in an alternate pattern. Each of its leaves is approximately 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 cm) long.

Plants bloom in spring, carrying flowers up to about one inch (2.5 cm) long. These are a yellow-green and appear in clusters.

The five inch (13 cm) long fruit yielded from the Annona reticulata is heart-shaped or irregularly shaped. Fruits can reach up to two pounds (0.9 Kg).

It has a sweet taste and though not cultivated, the fruits can be used to produce preserves, drinks, puddings, and ice cream.

The tree also holds medicinal properties; the leaves can be traditionally used to treat abscesses and ulcers.

Annona reticulata fruit that has not ripened is rich in tannin, which is thought to help with problems such as diarrhea and dysentery. The juice found in the leaves can be used to eliminate lice.

Gardener's HQ Guide to Growing Dog Apple

Annona reticulata thrives in rich, moist soil. The soil needs to be well-drained.

The tree grows best in climates with a mild winter but no frost.

It can be grown in greenhouses, in which case expect autumn fruits; it is unlikely to produce either its summer blooms or autumn fruits if grown as an houseplant.

Annona reticulata may attract the chalcid fly, which can ruin fruit yield for the year. Mealybugs can also be an issue.

Places in the world with fruit bats must cover the trees with nets or bags to prevent damage and loss of yield.

Annona reticulata Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Annona reticulata
  • Common Name: Dog apple
  • Growing Zone: USA: 10 to 11; UK zone H1 – grow indoors only.
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 300 to 600
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 180 to 300
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: Yellow
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Rounded

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Average pace
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Alkaline, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Slightly alkaline, Well drained
  • Soil Moisture: slow

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance:
  • Propagation: Seed (poisonous)
  • How to Prune:
  • Pests:
  • Diseases:

Further Information

  • Can Attract:
  • Tolerant of:
  • Best Garden Use: Areas requiring pest tolerance, Screen, Specimen
  • Family: Annonaceae.
  • Closely Related Species: Custard Apples, Soursop.

  • Miscellaneous: Fragrant flowers, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms
  • Genus Detail: Annona
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Annona Reticulata. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow plants for butterflies and Zanthoxylum americanum plants.