Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Grow a Sugar Apple Tree


Sugar apple tree seeds are poisonous, if ingested.

The sugar apple tree is a small, deciduous tropical fruit tree with irregular branches and an open crown. Unlike the standard apple tree, this tree produces fruit that has a hard outer shell and a layered fleshy inside. It thrives only in tropical areas that have limited cold air and high humidity.

Plant your sugar apple tree is a well drained area that receives at least 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. The tree is impartial to soil types but prefers a sandy loam. Promote this preference by filling its planting hole with 50 percent compost and 50 percent native soil. Though the tree is impartial to soil types, it will not tolerate wet feet. Ensure that the area is well-drained, preferably at a high elevation to prevent settling water and flood conditions after watering or rainfall.

Avoid growing grass within five feet of the sugar apple tree. The tree is quite susceptible to trunk injury which may be caused by lawn mowers and weed eaters. The tree is also a very noncompetitive tree and should not be planted near other trees as it is easily robbed of its nutrients and water intake.

Fertilize your young sugar apple trees every six weeks during its growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains a combination of nitrogen, phosphate, magnesium, and potassium. Apply at a rate of ¼ pound per application, slowly increasing as the tree grows. Mature trees should be fertilized no more than four times per year, using a fertilizer combination of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium. Seasonal applications are ideal.

Promote vigorous growth of young trees. Most sugar trees will not produce fruit for the first 3 years. However, if fruit is produced during this period, promptly remove the developing fruit from the tree. This will allow the tree to focus its energy on growth rather than fruit production. The sugar apple will begin to mature around its third year and begin to produce fruit.

Ensure proper irrigation by watering the sugar apple tree regularly. The tree is drought tolerant but compensates the lack of water by reducing fruit production and foliage. Promote a healthy tree by watering regularly from the early spring through the fall’s harvest. Increase the watering schedule during the hot, dry summer months and reduce in the spring and fall. Always adjust the watering schedule for rainy and dry periods. Never water the sugar apple tree after the leaves have dropped for the fall, nor during the winter, as this may cause root rot and potential tree death.

Avoid pruning the sugar apple tree during its first year. Begin the pruning process during the second year, removing any dead, dying, or wilted branches and foliage. Trim back branches to establish branching among its central leader. Head back branches and thin to promote even formation and wide crotch angles. Selectively prune the tree each spring, removing one-third of the previous year’s vegetative growth. Complete this process before the growing season begins, no later than early April.

Garden Guides