The graviola tree (Annona muricata) is a relatively small growing evergreen tree (15 to 18 feet) which produces a 6- to 10-inch wide heart-shaped fruit which is yellow-green in color. It is believed to an indigenous tree to the neotropical regions, and grows throughout Southern Mexico, Peru and Brazil. Graviola is also referred to as Soursop and is hardy in zones 10 and 11. The graviola tree is grown for its botanical and ethnobotancial properties.
Growing a Graviola Tree
According to the plantoftheweek.org, graviola is best started from a seed. As recommended by Purdue University, scratch or nick the surface of each seed.
Use seed starting mix and fill up four-inch pots. Place the pots into an irrigation tray. Fill the tray up with one to two inches of water. Firm down the soil in each pot after they're well compacted.
Poke one-inch deep holes in each pot. Drop two graviola seeds into each hole. Cover up the seeds with no more than one-inch of the seed starting mix.
Place the tray of pots into a clear plastic bag, or cover securely with clear plastic wrap. Place the covered tray in a warm location which will remain between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Keep the tray shaded and add water to the irrigation tray as needed to keep the soil moist.
Germination is typically 14 days, but can take as long as 30 days. Once seedlings emerge, ventilate by loosening the plastic wrap, or opening the end of the bag. Maintain moisture levels, make sure the soil in the pots does not dry out.
Once the graviola seedlings have grown to approximately 10 to 12 inches in height, transplant them into larger pots, or plant them directly into the ground if you live in a growing region which is conducive to growing a graviola tree out of doors.
Fill up a large growing container, such as a barrel, with a growing medium of two parts peat moss to two parts loam to one part sand or perlite. Water the soil in the container thoroughly. If planting in the ground, space holes 15 to 20 feet apart.
Dig a hole which is twice the depth and width of the planting receptacle. Tap the rim of the pot to remove the pot. Gently place the graviola into the hole. Scoop in soil around the gravola until the hole is filled with soil.
Create a small ridge of dirt approximately two inches high and approximately 10 to 12 inches in diameter, around the tree. This is necessary for irrigation. Water the graviola tree using a slow stream of water. (See the tips section for further information on caring for graviola).