Cherimoya Seedling Advice

marinfla(10 South Florida)November 14, 2010

I posted last month that on October 1st I germinated 7 Cherimoya (Fino De Jete seeds)All of them have survived so far and have 4 leaves now. I transplanted them from the drinking cups to 4" containers with MG potting mix and have them growing in the backyard out of direct sunlight. I have read a lot but still don't feel confident.

What should I expect to see/experience from now to the next

few years?

When to move them to bigger containers?

Do they need to be pinched to make them branch out?


Any little idea is important!

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Here in SoCal, I have my cherimoyas in full, direct sun. You may want to plant them in bigger containers, as they have a long taproot. With proper nutrients, they will grow around 3 feet in 1 year. If growing to graft them later, then I suggest not to pinch them in order to branch out. That way, you'll have a single stem to graft.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2010 at 8:06PM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

No I don't have any plans to do any grafting. I am just going to grow these out to see what happens but I am unfamiliar with these type of trees. I know lots about germinating & growing mango seedlings but cherimoya-- need help.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 9:37AM
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They are fairly undemanding plants, treat them like you would your mango seedlings and you should be ok. Rodney is right, if you can, plant them in taller containers. I do have multiple seedlings that are in 1gal containers and 2+' tall though. I've even grafted on 1gal plants with success, so taller pots is not mandatory, just better. They have average water needs though many of mine have dried out completely to the point of wilting and recovered perfectly (not recommended). Instead of mango/citrus/avo ferts try using a balanced one preferably organic and in mild dosage. If you want bushier plants, I've read to prune 1/3-1/2 of last years growth. Typically in CA they will shed their old leaves in early spring, this is the time to prune (and graft).

good luck,

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 12:56PM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

Thanks Ethan, Do these cherimoyas grow true the the mother plant when you grow them from seed? If it does, why is grafting done? I know mangoes and avocado are always a cross so they have to be grafted to get exact duplication from budwood of the desired cultivar. I think I will get taller containers as you recommended since I am not sure if I will container grow or plant them in the ground down the road. I guess I have a year or two to decide. How tall should I let the seedlings grow before snipping the top off to encourage branching?

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 8:51PM
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I planted a bunch of seed from a store bought fruit about 2 years ago. I found the plants with midday shade grew much faster, perhaps twice as tall as the others.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 8:08PM
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I don't know if cherimoyas grow true from seed or not? If the fruits came from a place like where they have multiple cultivars blooming at one time, then perhaps not? On the plus side there are many examples of quality seedling cherimoyas being grown. I think some of the biggest reasons for grafting are seed to flesh ratio, time to fruit and multigrafting to save space.

As for cutting them back to encourage branching, some of mine are close to 3' tall with no side branches. When spring rolls around I'll cut them back to 1-1.5' and repot them from 1gal to tall 5gal.

BTW, on a side note, I think some mangoes come true from seed, the polyembrionic ones send out a sprout that is true to the parent.

Abayomi, definitely when younger and even when mature in my climate (HOT/dry) they appreciate some midday protection, they look much greener. The ones that grow in more sun do have a shorter node length though.


    Bookmark   November 18, 2010 at 10:32PM
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Hey Marinfla,

With my knowledge, I would say that cherimoyas grown from seed grow to be very close to the parent tree and always produce excellent quality fruit. As for the reason why cherimoyas are grafted is usually because it allows a tree to mature much quicker. It will start to produce fruit around 3 1/2 to 5 years. Trees grown from seed will take up to 7! Trust me, a friend of mine planted one and he waited many years. Sadly, I don't remember exactly how many years. When I see him again I'll ask him. Also, you can have many different varieties on one tree.


    Bookmark   December 9, 2011 at 1:41AM
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marinfla(10 South Florida)

Hi Daniel
It has been a year and all of them are 3 1/2 to 4ft tall and I have pruned them back to encourage branching. (I have 4 left as I gave some of them away) They all are very healthy with stems(trunks) that are as thick as the base of my thumb. Wow 7 years ... I was hoping to see fruit much sooner :( I have an avocado seedling that is huge (exceeding 35 feet tall, maybe more than 40) and it is 6 years old- I am losing my patience waiting for it to fruit. My patience factor is going down as my age goes up!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 2:24PM
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Marin - I will help you lose your patience completely...your seedling avocado may never fruit, actually, chances are very high that you will get little to no fruit as long as you decide to keep the tree. I will also grow VERY tall in height, much taller than a grafted avocado. I have seen some that were 60 feet, or possibly better. before it was cut down due to NO fruit. They also do not grow true from seed. You are much better off breaking out the chain saw and shovel, investing in a 7/15 gal and getting fruit the following year and every year thereafter all while have a much more manageable tree.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 3:58PM
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Hi Marin,

My grafted pierce and booth produced fruits on their very first year on the ground. They are now going on their third year and are holding about 60 fruits total. Seedlings are fast growers and some have produce fruits as early as 3 years here in Socal. I forgot your location in Florida but from what I've read cherimoyas don't do well in South Florida. Best of luck to you.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2011 at 5:24PM
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Hi Marinfla,

Don't give up... The friend I was talking about that had waited 7 year said that every year after that, his tree would produce a ton of fruit of high quality! :) Sadly, he moved out of his place where he had planted it. That must have been really discouraging!!! I have planted some seeds 6 months ago and they are about half a foot tall with around eight leaves that are 3 1/2 inch long. By the way, do you live in an area where cherimoyas self pollinate do to the humidity? Talk to you later...


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 1:22PM
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Help! My cherimoya are showing signs of distress!
The lower leaves are turning yellow, browning. I thought that it was from too much sun and so I moved all 3 out of direct sunlight.
It hasn't seem to change anything.
They are planted in potting soil and I have occasionally added organic fertilizer from leftover egg shells an veggie leftovers.
I water every 2 days or so ...
Do they need more water? Sunlight? Fertilizer?
Or is it from some sort of disease? Pest?

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:59AM
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2nd cherimoya ... Less distressed but showing signs...

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:01AM
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3rd cherimoya - pride of the group. This one is planted in a 3gal container whereas the other two are in milk cartons. Maybe this is the key?
Although this one is also showing burnt edges along the tips of its leaves...

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 10:03AM
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Looks wonderful. 1 of my 4 seeds just sprouted and its true they do have a long taproot!

Im in zone 8a-b i believe, Southern Mississippi to be exact.

Seeds were purchased online...

Edit: Did not want to name the store after reading business policy...

This post was edited by Maschil on Wed, Apr 3, 13 at 12:58

    Bookmark   April 3, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I'm pretty sure Cherimoya have a dormancy period in the winter. I live in south fl. We do much better with atemoya a hybrid with sugar apple. My graftling gave me a fruit it's 2nd year in the ground. It goes dormant every winter & drops leaves just before the spring. BTW my avocado tree was grown from a seed and it gives us tons of big, fabulous creamy fruit every year! It has been in the ground for over a decade though. It gave fruit after about 7yrs with bigger yeilds with each passing year.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   April 4, 2013 at 2:24AM
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thanks! nice picture... my tree has about 3 leaves now!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 9:08PM
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