This article is about growing guanabana trees. Guanabana is the Spanish word for soursop and graviola. So a guanabana tree is the same as a soursop tree and a graviola tree. The three words guanabana, graviola and soursop can be used interchangeably.
Learn how to grow a graviola tree at home
Want to grow a guanabana tree / soursop tree/ graviola tree that bears a prickly fruit of the same name at home? It is not that hard. However, there are some unique issues that need to be overcome before you can successfully harvest fresh soursop for your DIY growing efforts.
What you need to grow a guanabana soursop tree at home
Here is the equipment and environment you will need to grow guanabana / soursop / graviola trees:
- Graviola / guanabana / soursop seeds
- Warm environment that can be kept above 30 F or -1 C.
- Warm, shady spot for germination.
- Peat pots filled with potting soil
- A large pot
- Garden tools
- Peat, mulch and potting soil
Notes about growing guanabana soursop trees:
A soursop tree can grow from 25 to 30 feet tall (8 to 9 meters).
The tree produces an oval-shaped spiny fruit with a tender yellow/green skin.
Where does soursop grow in the world:
Typically, soursop trees grow in tropical and subtropical countries like:
Mexico, Jamaica, the West Indies, northern South America, China, Australia Southeast Asia - Malaysia, and Vietnam and the Philippines - and in central Africa.
Where does soursop grow in the USA:
In the U.S.,soursop trees can grow in central to southern Florida, southern California, southern Arizona and southern Texas. It also will grow in Hawaii.
The tree that produces soursop fruit needs a tropical climate. It will not survive a frost. The tree will suffer damage at 30 F (around -1 C) and it will die at 26 F (-3 C).
See the image above for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones. The soursop tree grows in zones 10 and 11. in rich.
In Florida that is the zone south or Orlando and Tampa. In California it is the coast regions from San Luis Obispo south and south of Bakersfield. Southern Texas and southern Arizona also match this criteria. See more here.
What kind of soil should soursop trees grow in?
Always plant a graviola soursop tree in rich well-drained soil with 5 to 6.5 pH for optimal growing results. A healthy tree in this environement will thrive and products leaves and fruit, both of which can be harvested for consumption. Leaves can be dried for tea.
How to plant soursop seeds to grow a tree
Indoor guanabana soursop tree planting
- Wash soursop seeds and prepare a warm, shady indoor spot for germination.
- Plant the seeds in peat pots filled with potting soil, less than 30 days after harvesting from fruit.
- Keep the soil moist to the touch. Soursop seeds will germinate in 15 to 30 days if the are viable.
Outdoor soursop sapling planting
If you live in a suitable climate as noted above (no frost, warm tropical or sub-tropical temperatures) you can transplant seedlings outdoors, or accommodate the growth of a tall indoor potted tree in a greenhouse.
- Prepare a sunny, south-facing spot with wind protection in the garden and rake 2 inches of compost into the soil.
- Transplant 12-inch-high seedlings into the yard in the spring, spacing them at least 12 feet apart. Dig holes big enough to hold the root ball of each plant. Cover the base of the plant with soil
- Add 3 inches of mulch to keep moist.
- Water soursop plants often enough to keep the soil moist, but not wet, during hot weather.
- When the weather cools in the winter, be sure to reduce watering. Soursop plants can tolerate drought. That said they can develop pest problems if they are always wet.
- Provide soursop plants with 10-10-10 fertilizer, using a total of one-half pound of fertilizer per tree in the first year. Split the amount quarterly. In the 2nd year, raise the amount to 1 pound. Thereafter use 3 pounds of fertilizer per year.
- Reapply mulch annually to the trees.
- Widening the mulch application area to 5 feet as the tree’s root system expands.
Supplies list for growing a soursop tree
Here are a list of soursop tree growing supplies you will need to grow a soursop tree. The links take you to source where you can by the supplies:
- Soursop seeds
- Peat pots
- Potting soil
- 10-10-10 fertilizer
How to harvest soursop fruit:
When soursop fruit is still firm and yellow-green in color, you can harvest it. Don’t allow the fruit to get soft on the tree.
Ripen indoors. Store picked firm soursop fruit in the refrigerator for several days until it becomes soft to the touch.
See this video on how to test to see if soursop is ripe: