Atemoya Tree: A mini soursop with nice style

Have you ever heard of a Atemoya tree? This beautiful tropic, a mixture of cherimoya and sugar apple, is a beautiful evergreen perennial with unusual fruits. It was developed in Florida and is now widely used internationally and is becoming increasingly popular. And you will still find native specimens in Florida today!

While it is often mistakenly referred to as African pride, pudding apple, it is more commonly referred to as pineapple sugar apple or mini soursop. The fruits are delicious and have a hint of tropical vanilla aroma.

We have a lot of information about this unique Cherimoya hybrid and its unusual fruits. Read on to learn more about how to wind up your own Atemoya by hand!

Good products for growing Atemoyas:

Brief instructions on care

The Atemoya tree is an unusual fruit hybrid that is fun to grow. Source: vera sayão

Common Name (s) Atemoya, pineapple sugar apple, mini soursop
Scientific name Annona squamosa x Annona cherimola
Harvest month (s) August to October
light Full sun
Water: At least 1 inch per week during the growing season
ground Loamy, rich soil, well-drained, pH 6.6-7.5
fertilizer Two times a year
Pests Mealybugs, scale insects, Chalcid flies
Diseases Phytophthora blight, leaf spots

Over the Atemoya tree

Close-up of immature breathoya fruitA close-up picture of an immature breathoya. The fruit changes color during ripening. Source: Vivilynda

The Atemoya trees have long been referred to as Cherimoya. However, this is a mix of sweet apple and cherimoya: Annona squamosa x Annona Cherimola.

This fruit tree is from Miami, where it was originally developed in 1908 by P. J. Wester, a gardener at the USDA. Seeds were brought to the Philippines in 1911 and its international popularity in tropical regions of the world began. While it may be native to Florida, it grows well in tropical climates worldwide.

The fruit is particularly popular in Taiwan, where it is known as "pineapple sugar apple", while in Lebanon and Israel it is called "achta". "Chirimorinon" is called "Mini Soursop" in Venezuela and Tanzania.

The Atemoya tree is a fast growing perennial very similar to Cherimoya. These trees can easily reach heights of up to 30 feet. It has drooping branches with leaves that are elliptical and leathery, but less hairy than that of the cherimoya tree.

The hybrid plant also bears beautiful flowers that are triangular, long-stemmed and light yellow. An interesting aspect of this plant is that its flowers are hermaphrodite. One day, a flower opens between 2 p.m. and 2 p.m. as a female flower. The next day, between 3 p.m. and 3 p.m., it opens as a male flower full of sticky pollen.

Atemoya trees bear bumpy, heart-shaped fruits that are about 20 cm long. The skin of the fruit is light green and slowly turns yellow when it ripens. The flesh is white with firm, black seeds. Its unique taste is similar to a pudding or flan and has been described as similar to a Pina Colada or vanilla flavor.

Plant Atemoya trees

Atemoya Annona / Cherimola is an interesting plant, but requires care to get started properly. Let us consider what you need to know to properly plant your Atemoya!

When to plant

It is best to plant Atemoya during the rest period from late winter to early spring. This reduces the risk of transplant shock. Regardless of whether you grow from rootstock or in a pot, your Atemoya Annona / Cherimola needs the warmer season to establish itself. So don't plant them too late in the active growing season.

Where to plant

Distance is the key to your Atemoya. Since it is quite large when fully grown, it takes up a lot of space. A distance of 28 to 30 inches is generally considered a good distance, although they can grow a little closer together in an orchard.

Choose a location with full sunshine all year round. Stay away from structures, power lines, or water / gas / sewage pipes to prevent roots or leaves from causing dangerous conditions.

Strong winds can damage the tree roof. Therefore, try to find a place where it is at least partially protected from the wind. Using other trees at least 20 inches away as a windbreak can be effective.

How to plant

Growing the plant from seeds can take a while. Germination takes about four weeks and you shouldn't plant your young tree in the ground until it is at least one year old. Store it in a container beforehand.

When you plant in the ground, you dig a much larger hole than you expect. You want to loosen the soil at least a few meters from the current root size. Change with compost if necessary.

Plant your tree at the same depth as in the pot. For roots with bare roots, the roots should be soaked for a few minutes before planting, and you should spread the roots out so that they are not spiral. In potted trees, the root ball should be broken to ensure that these roots are not spiral. Do not plant the Atemoya deeper than in its pot, especially if it has been grafted.

Mulch around the base of your Atemoya to prevent weeds from developing and keep moisture in the soil.

Atemoya care

Atemoyas on the treeThe average Atemoya tree produces some fruit when well pollinated. Source: mmmavocado

Atemoya is relatively robust, but still prefers some very specific conditions. Here you will find everything you need to know about care and maintenance.

Light & temperature

Annona squamosa x Annona cherimola needs full sun every day. Make sure it gets at least 8 hours of sunlight or more.

Atemoya comes from Miami, Florida and is therefore best suited for warm climates. Its ideal temperature range is between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

While young plants are a little susceptible to frost, old trees can withstand temperatures as low as 26.5 degrees Celsius. If the temperature drops below 40 ° C, you should consider cold protection, e.g. B. Blankets that are wrapped around the trunk and branches.

Irrigation & humidity

Regular and even watering is best for your Atemoya. Although they are somewhat drought tolerant, they perform better when they are not under water stress. Using a watering hose around the base of your tree to water deeply and slowly 2-3 times a week is good for the first year. Reduce watering if you move in the fall and winter. The plant doesn't need as much extra moisture during these months.

Older trees tolerate short periods of drought, but a lack of water during fruiting can reduce fruit size. However, be careful not to add too much water during fruiting. Too much water can make the fruit taste less appealing.

As a rule, one or two centimeters of water per week are sufficient for a fully grown Atemoya tree.


It grows best in deep, loamy to sandy soils with an ideal pH between 6.6 and 7.5. While it tolerates poor soil, changing the soil with a lot of compost is a good start to the health of your tree. These can grow in hard clay, but if the soil is too hard, it takes longer for a healthy root system to develop.

Your floor must drain well. Moist soils that do not drain excess water well can lead to root rot.


Avoid fertilizing your plant until it is 2-3 years old. The young roots are very sensitive to fertilizer burns. For the same reason, avoid fertilizing the soil around newly planted trees. Give them time to settle in and harden a little.

Use a 6-10-16 slow-release granular fertilizer twice a year once your tree is well established. Your first dose should be in the spring, about a month before flowering. The rest should be applied between the flowering and fruiting phases.


Most pollination of Atemoya trees is done by beneficial insects. Certain types of nitidulid beetles are common in Israel, but bees or other useful insects are also good pollinators in the United States.

Hand pollination is an option, but it can be complex. Female flowers open in a day and then close when the sun goes down. The next day, these female flowers are now male pollen producers. You need to find both male and female flowers to do your hand pollination. Use a cotton swab or brush to collect some of the sticky pollen, then apply it to female flowers. Repeat this process as necessary to promote good fruiting.


In the first few years, your cut should open the canopy to allow good airflow. Cuts should be carefully selected to create a strong and resilient framework on which further growth can develop.

Once the tree is four or five years old, you can prune it in the middle of the canopy to shape or increase the light and airflow. At this point, only a light cut is required every year.

Decide on the cut before new buds open in spring. Late winter is ideal for most fruit cutting purposes.


The multiplication of Atemoya is typically done by seeds or by grafting.

The seeds should be planted in soil at a minimum of 70 degrees and kept warm and moist for about 4 weeks until they germinate. A seedling heating mat can help keep the temperature constant.

Fruit wood grafts are often applied to sugar apple rhizomes or cherimoya rhizomes. While sugar apple is preferred in the United States, Cherimoya is often chosen in Israel. For young sugar apple or cherimoya rhizomes, use a tongue graft for optimal development. When grafting on older trees to expand the canopy, a split or bark graft can be used.

Harvest and store Atemoya fruits

Atemoya fruitThe inside of the Atemoya fruit. Note the large, inedible seeds. Source: Chotda

Atemoya fruits can be harvested from August to October. When the fruit ripens and ripens, the color changes from really green to yellowish green. Since Atemoyas do not ripen after harvesting, special attention must be paid to the bumps or areoles on the surface of the fruit. Pale, cream-white lines form around the areoles, which is a sign that the distance between them is widening. Do not harvest fruit until these lines appear!

Use sterile pruning shears to harvest to cut the stem directly above the fruit. Do not pull the fruit by hand to avoid damaging the branches.


Ripe fruits should only be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. For longer storage, remove the peels and seeds and freeze your fruits. This fruit works well for making ice cream or smoothies.


There are few problems that can arise – but let's discuss them!

Growing problems

Over watering can cause serious problems for your system. It is not resistant to root rot or other soil fungi at all, but it must have excellent drainage. Make sure that your Atemoya never has stagnant water to reduce the spread of rot.

Atemoya is susceptible to a condition called "small sheet”Where it produces sheet sizes that are smaller than average. This is not a disease, but a zinc deficiency. Spraying leaves will fix this problem and improve the growth of future leaves.


The Citrus MealybugPlanococcus citri is one of the most common pests of this plant. Other Forms of scale insects including white and pink wax scale and brown olive scale can also collect on the stems or leaves. The use of horticultural and quiescent oil reduces scale and meal bug deposits. Neem oil has a similar effect. For particularly stubborn infestations, use an insecticidal soap with pyrethrin.

The chalcid fly can cause fruit damage and should be removed with fly traps like a yellow sticky trap.


Phytophthora neck rot can manifest around the base of the trunk. Rubber oozes from the bottom of the fuselage and the upper crown roots. For treatment, gently remove the bark and putrefaction and wipe the area with a damp towel to ensure that you have removed everything. Apply copper fungicide to the damaged parts, making sure that it does not return.

Some forms of Mushroom leaf stain can also affect your Atemoya. While these are usually not serious or particularly dangerous for the plant, you can also remove them with a copper fungicide.

frequently asked Questions

Pudding applePudding apples are related to Atemoya, but not the same thing. Source: Vivilynda

Q: Is Atemoya a pudding apple?

A: In the past it was called pudding apple, especially in Queensland and New South Wales. Sometimes it is still called a pudding apple. However, it is a hybrid, Annona squamosa x Annona cherimola. The pudding apple is Annona reticulata, a related species, but not quite the same. The fruits do not have the same taste profile at all, because pudding apple tastes pudding, while the mini-soursop has a vanilla-pina-colada taste.

Q: Is Atemoya toxic to humans or pets?

A: All plants of the Annona species have seeds that are toxic to both humans and their pets. These seeds should be removed before eating the fruit.

The green thumbs behind this article:
Lorin Nielsen
Lifetime gardener

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