Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cherimoya, Custard Apple
Annona cherimola

Family: Annonaceae
Genus: Annona (uh-NO-nuh) (Info)
Species: cherimola

Synonym:Annona tripetala
Synonym:Annona pubescens

One vendor has this plant for sale.

26 members have or want this plant for trade.

Edible Fruits and Nuts
Tropicals and Tender Perennials

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Yellow
Pale Green

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; stratify if sowing indoors
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
Scarify seed before sowing
By grafting

Seed Collecting:
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By Ulrich
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By Ulrich
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By WalterT
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There are a total of 9 photos.
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13 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral coriaceous On Jan 30, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The great nineteenth-century scientist and traveller Humboldt is said to have declared that a taste of this fruit was worth a trip across the Atlantic.

The fruit is also said not to travel well---the shelf life is very short, and it bruises easily. The fruits I've occasionally bought here in Massachusetts were tough and were obviously picked too unripe to mature properly, though I got a hint of a heavenly sweet fragrance.

At least 16 cultivars have been selected. If I could plant a tree, I'd choose a grafted cultivar over a seed-grown plant.

The species has also been crossed with the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) to produce a fruit called the atemoya. These hybrids have been developed and promoted in southern Florida, and it's said that some are even sweeter and tastier than the cherimoya. The atemoya is more tolerant of the prolonged high humidity encountered in south Florida than the cherimoya.

Native to the semitropical Andes, these trees are semitropical, not true tropicals, and like temperate plants they have a seasonal chilling requirement for their long-term survival.

Cherimoyas and atemoyas can be grown both in southern Florida and in coastal southern California, though in the US they're only grown commercially in California's San Diego, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

Hand pollination increases fruit set and produces larger and more symmetrical fruits. Here's some good information about why and how:

These fruits are called "cherimoya" in the US and "custard apple" in the UK.

Positive astrogard On Mar 24, 2012, astrogard from Gig Harbor, WA wrote:

I hate to create competition for these Heavenly fruits, but on the other hand I'd love to increase demand. Most of the grocers in the US that carry a lot of organic food (such as Whole Foods and your local food co-op if you're lucky enough to have one, but most others as well, even the supermarket chains) use the same wholesaler. Find a cooperative retailer and if they won't carry them, ask them to order you a case - that's no risk on their part. The pulp freezes very well, though it'll take a little while to pull the seeds (you get good at it soon enough). Try 3-4 parts ripe Cherimoya with 3-4 parts ripe Avocado and 1 part Coffee (!). Or just 3 parts ripe Cherimoya and 1 part fresh Cream. Try it with a few drops of Lemon juice, but not too much, as the Lemon flavor will dominate and you'll think you're eating Key Lime Pie! They're about $8 a pound where I live, so a case might set you back some, but it won't do you any good to keep the money in the bank, so you may as well go straight to Heaven instead. The scent and Essential Oil Ylang Ylang is from a Cherimoya cousin.

Positive missgreenthumb On Aug 29, 2010, missgreenthumb from Cerritos, CA wrote:

this fruit is extremely delicious, l have a three or four year old tree in a large pot. this year l hand pollinated june and july, and now there are propably 15 to 20 fruit growing. they are very slow growing, the biggest are the size of med. size grapes. the best thing to do is forget about them until later in the year.

Positive sergenet On Feb 13, 2010, sergenet from Granada Hills, CA wrote:

I get to eat the most delicious fruit ever once in a while when I buy it from the store. I have had two trees for the last 4 years and have not had any luck with getting a single fruit. I try hand pollinating but so far it has not worked. I must not be doing it right. I will not give up though, I am determined to get fruit on my trees. If anyone has any suggestions on how to collect pollen and pollinate, please help me out. I am planning on getting one more tree later on so I can have an abundance of flowers.

Positive davecito On Jan 10, 2010, davecito from Carrboro, NC wrote:

Very, very delicious fruit.

I don't have a mature plant yet.

However, I managed to have a rather quick germination - 3 weeks - with bottom heat, and keeping soil damp but not wet. Before sowing, I soaked the seeds 3 days, and discarded the floating ones.

In my part of the world, this will be an indoor/outdoor container plant, so fingers are crossed.

The advice I was given regarding care of seedlings:

Transplant into a deeper pot when seedling reaches 3"; cherimoyas will develop a taproot, and can become sluggish (or develop a deformed root system, or rot at the root tips) when the root hits the bottom of a small starter pot.

In the earliest stages of life, seedlings may prefer morning sun/evening shade, or filtered light.

Positive Jimsned2 On Aug 11, 2008, Jimsned2 from Fort Lauderdale, FL wrote:

I have had many of my spanish neighbors rave about the fruit of this tree and have heard it called everything from "ice cream tree" to "Sweet apple", I purchased one last year from tropical gardens on University Blvd in Tamarac Fl, and just this week was gifted with my first fruit, and what a wonderful fruit it is, I've never tasted anything sweeter. I guess it polinated itself cause I sure didn't. I would recomend it for the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Positive dzungmich On Aug 12, 2006, dzungmich from Austin, TX wrote:

We got a box of this fruit from California (about $6 for per large fruit). Very tasty. Sweet and creemy.

My babrsitter somehow got the plant grow from the seeds and we now have about 30 plants (2 feet tall). I gave them out to friends and hope them grow well in Austin Texas

Positive oceanmystic On Aug 7, 2006, oceanmystic from San Diego, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The fruit is quite a treat, the foliage is beautiful. My sunset zone is 23/24.
This last heat wave I saw temperatures of 105 with wind which killed the growing tips and youngest leaves on three of my four trees. The wind exposed some shoots to sunburn. It has taken them a couple of weeks to recover.
The winters since planting have been unusually mild and I have packed the base of the trunks in ice to ensure they have the few chilling hours they need to get off to an early spring start.
Besides eating the fruit (do not give any to your neighbors unless you own a guard dog) the smell of the tree in bloom is heaven. The leaves have a delightful resinous/piney smell when bruised as does the freshly cut wood. The roots have their own smell delicious smell but it is my impression that the whole tree is mildly poisonous except fot the fruit.
The wood is soft and brittle so prune accordingly.
Seeds take a while to germinate and you can get them mailorder at trade winds fruit or order a cherimoya, enjoy the fruit and plant the seeds.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Nov 6, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Not a heat loving tropical but a subtropical from the mid Andes. They do fine in coastal California placed in full sun or light shade.Protect from hot sun or reflected heat.Blooms have the scent of vanilla. A bonus.

Positive askgeorge On Apr 19, 2005, askgeorge from Fallbrook, CA wrote:

I have nearly 100 cherimoya trees and pick and ship 4 to 7000 pounds each season and ship across the U.S. We do hand polinate from late June to the beginning of October, but then have some fruit as early as Jan thru May. Geirge

Positive DawnRain On Apr 4, 2005, DawnRain from Bartow, FL wrote:

This is also a favorite fruit of mine, but not one easy to get in Florida. I am one of those growing it and hoping to find a seedling that can be happy here. So far beautiful plants but no fruit. But I have only been at it a couple of years. They are outdoors through winter with no protection and no harm so far.

Neutral violabird On Apr 3, 2005, violabird from Barnesville, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Wow, how nice to know this grows in the U.S.! I had sampled this lucious fruit while in southern Spain. Would love to have it again. I understand it does not ship well :(

Positive foodiesleuth On May 23, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I agree with Walter T on both the mango and cherimoya being the best fruits in the universe!

I grew up in Cuba where we had a huge cherimoya tree in the back patio that was a wonderful source of fruit all summer long and a great climbing tree for my siblings and me.

Cherimoyas grow here in Hawaii, but they don't seem to be as popular as mangoes.....maybe its all those seeds...

I know my father never climbed the tree to hand pollinate the blooms.....they just formed fruit, every year, all by themselves..or else the fruit fairies would pollinate during the night.....

A cherimoya smoothie is one of the gifts from the gods

Positive WalterT On May 22, 2004, WalterT from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

IMHO the Cherimoya and the Mango are THE most delicious fruits on the planet when truly ripe. Both grow readily in frost free areas of S. California, like my back yard. Cherimoya does have a lot of seeds which sprout and grow readily. For several years I carefully hand pollenated many flowers and none set fruit. Last summer, mother nature set one fruit which grew to the size of a large apple. In the fall another fruit set courtesy of MN and now, not as big as a tennis ball, is still on the branch having gone thru the winter unscathed. In San Diego "winter" is a relative term. Anything under 35F is WINTER and that temperature occurs only a few nights a year and not every year. Now, mid-May, the tree is loaded with blossoms so I am hoping for a bumper crop - 2 or 3 at least!
The leaf in the photo is 5" long.

Positive Ulrich On Jun 18, 2003, Ulrich from Manhattan Beach, CA (Zone 11) wrote:

Pollination has to be done by hand at a specific time to produce fruit.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cerritos, California
Fallbrook, California
Glen Avon, California
Granada Hills, California
Hayward, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Merced, California
Monterey, California
San Diego, California (2 reports)
Santee, California
Upland, California
Vallejo, California
Bradley, Florida
Brandon, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Honomu, Hawaii
Florence, Oregon
Austin, Texas
Houston, Texas

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