Annona muricata, or Soursop, is a mid-sized evergreen tree native to Tropical America. In nature, the trees have a smooth grey-brown bark and will reach about 25 feet (7.6 m) tall. The glossy, dark green leaves are lanceolate, reaching 6 inches (15 cm) long. The fruit is used in making sherbets and for drinks. The leaves, seeds, bark, root and fruit have been used medicinally. The trees are fairly easy to grow, and their size is easily controlled by selective pruning and container size. They are hardy in USDA zones 10-11.
Blooming: In the greenhouse, the trees bloom in late summer to early fall. The flowers are borne singly and may emerge anywhere on the trunk or branches. Flowers are 1.5 to 2 inches (3.8-5 cm) long and are triangular, with 3 yellow-green fleshy outer petals and 3 closely set inner petals that are pale yellow.
Culture: Annona muricata need full sun to partial shade with a rich, moist soil mix. We grow ours under 25% shades at all times. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The trees are kept moist at all times, and we fertilize them weekly with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. If the plants experience drought-like conditions, the leaves will drop before it will grow new ones. Since flowering and fruit set is in late summer and fall in the greenhouse, water is somewhat restricted in the winter months, but the soil is never allowed to dry thoroughly.
Propagation: Annona muricata is best propagated from seed. Fresh seed will germinate in 15-30 days.
Annona muricata was featured as Plant of the Week October 5-11, 2007.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.