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How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Posted by eggo z10soCal LBC (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 10, 06 at 1:05

So easy you wish you had done it sooner. This will also work for some of the other Anonas also, like the sweetsop.

There are two things you will need, a film canister (or something of similar size, preferably black to better see the pollen, small and easy to hold) and a #2 (or #3 brush, preferably made of organic hairs which makes the pollen stick to them easier).

Now we will identify the different male/female flower stages. The female stage will come first then followed by the male stage.

Male Flower:
Well take a look at the male stage first so we can identify the parts. The anther (thin and lengthy, falls right off) produces pollen and the stigma (right in the middle and round) will receive the pollen during fertilization. At this stage the petal separates all the way. The anthers will have loosened up and will be producing pollen. However at the male stage, the stigma is no longer receptive. Therefore it rarely self pollinates depending on location/climate. The best time to collect pollen is when the anthers are still a creamy color and the petals are still firm/upright. Once the anthers become darker and the petals wilt, the pollen are no longer as effective.

Female Flower:
Notice the separation of the petals and how it is not open all the way. The stigma is hidden by the petal. It is a reason why bees cant get to the flowers to pollinate them. If you gently open the flower at this stage, you will notice that the anthers are tightly held to the flower with no pollen. At this stage is when the blooms are fragrant.

When is the best time to go out there and start pollinating the flowers? Im in Southern California area, so I do not know if this may differ for you depending on location. Its best to start when you have changes between the male and female stage. This appears to occur at about 1 hr before noon and once again at about 2hrs until sunset with the majority of the change happening here. At these times you will find male and female flowers. When the flowers first open up at the female stage, you have about 24hrs before it becomes a male flower. The male stage last only about 1 hr to 1 hr, the anthers along with pollen will deteriorate quickly.

During the male stage bloom, take the film canister and brush off all the anthers into it. Notice the tiny dust that falls off with the anthers, that will be the pollen youll be using, not the anthers.

Now take your brush to pick up some of the pollen. Then gently open up the female stage blooms, place the brush upon the stigma and gently twirl the brush to spread the pollen across the stigma.

So what happens if you dont have any flowers at the female stage, well the pollen is still effective (not as great) but still effective for about 24 hrs stored in the fridge. After 24 hrs, just discard any pollen left, the effectiveness is so low its no longer worth it.

Marking the Blooms:
To make sure you dont pollinated the flower more than once, some people will mark blooms with a sharpie or some other instrument. I simply break off two of the petals. This way even when the petals have dried up, you can take a look at it and still see if it was one of the flowers you pollinated. I like this method because its a good self assurance that says "hey, I actually did have a hand in this fruiting."

Well that's it. I hope this helps any first time cherimoya pollinators. Its pretty much cherimoya blooming season right now. I'll try to keep the pictures up as long as possible. Feel free to save them if needed.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Congratulations Eggo, great explanation about hand pollination, great pictures also.

Down here in Mxico cherimoyas, sugar apples, poshte, mac (A. glabra), soursop, etc get pollinated by their natural pollinators so no need to do all that stuff, jeje. Cheers.

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Very nice pictures and detailed explanations Eggo. I have been hand pollinating for a couple of years now and gets easier everytime. My Atemoya has about 10 small fruits right now although is a very young tree.

Has anyone ever hand pollinated Chico Sapote (Sapodilla)?

My tree is full of flowers and was wondering if hand pollination will help set fruit better. Looking at the flowers, they are totally different than Cherimoya of course so didn't know where to start.


RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Nice pictures Eggo. I have been pollinating my 2 cherimoya trees for four years now. I got one or two fruits the second year after I bought my grafted tree. The harvest grew until I got about 80 or 90 fruits from my young (6 years old trees) trees last year. This year I have only, maybe 3 fruits from one tree and about 9 from the other. What had hapen? I noticed that the fruits were very slow growing. In one month it is still 1/4 inch in diameter. I prone them early this year (March 15). Could it be the reason or lack of ferlitizer?

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

  • Posted by tomas z9 Rome, Italy (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 29, 08 at 7:16

Eggo, thank you for your explanation, so far it is the best I have ever seen.

I use to collect the stamens in a small plastic bag roughly at the time you recomend, but I have noticed there is very few or mostly no pollen. What could be the reason for it? Mine is a grafted tree so it should be OK.


RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination


My first time here and I have a question. I brought some
seeds from PR this summer and don't have a clue how to plant them. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Cherimoyas will germinate easily in any good potting soil.

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

does female flower become male if already pollinated?

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

1)I would like to know the best time to hand pollinate a female flower.
I have observed the female flowers on my tree to remain as a female for several days before turning to male.
I see no change in the stigma during that time. On other fruits the female is receptive when it is glistening from a liquid excretion done for holding the pollen. I see no such secretion in the Cherimoya flower.

2)Can you determine if the female has been pollinated successfully and if so, what are the indications?



RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

My observations have been with sugar apples. The flower shape and habits are virtually the same.

Tran... if the female is successfully pollinated, it will not become a least not that I have witnessed. is a link to an annona discussion.
I posted a link to a publication that discussed pollination. Many publications state there is a best time to collect pollen and a best time to pollinate the female. I've found that if the pollen is viable, anytime you can find a female in the proper stage, that is the best time to make your attempt. I tried pollinating the female flowers in various stages of development. I believe the best time is when the flowers are somewhat open...petals are split apart. I remove all petals prior to pollinating.

The only indication of success is that the flower does not dry up and fall off soon after pollinating...within a few days. A successful attempt keeps the stem intact and you will notice a tiny version of the fruit forming. Don't be discouraged if even these successful attempts end up dropping. The tree will only keep what it can support.

My best advice is to make sure you collect lots of pollen. Tap the little container several times and you will be able to notice all of the pollen grains sticking to the sides. Make sure it can transfer to your little paint brush. Practice practice practice. You'll get the hang of it soon enough. Pay attention to what works and what does not. Good luck!

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

GREAT instructions. We have a Annona squamosa that has been giving fruit now for 3 years. It will pollinate itself but will produce much more fruit is you hand pollinate. Here the female flowers usually open in the morning and turn to male shortly after noon. Also I have found that it is a good idea to store the pollen in the refrigerator if you save it over night.

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination


I put in two trees this year and am just starting out in my new career as an insect ;-)

Great posting and photos! Thanks!

I have one question - you imply that it is important to mark the flowers so you dont pollinate a flower more than once. I can see how pollinating multiple times would be a waste of time and effort, but the way the post is written it implies that it would be downright harmful. I cant see how this would be. If the flower is receptive to pollin, then it is receptive. If not, not. In nature I doubt the bugs care which flower has been pollinated once, twice, a dozen times.

Am I misreading the posting? Have I read an implication that isnt really there, or is there really some harm that would come from pollinating one flower more than once?


RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

I don't think there is any harm in this Andrew. Afterall, bees and other insects are going to tromp all over each other's work as well.

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

I am having flowers in late March, early April, and my tree did not lose all its leaves before making flowers. I have a difficult time finding receptive female flowers and have been collecting pollen in the late afternoon and then forcing it into flowers that have not yet started to open the next morning. I collected a bit of pollen this afternoon but do not know if I will have receptive females tomorrow. Maybe my tree is too young.

Is my tree out of season? I thought the flowers were supposed to appear in June.

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

Has anyone tried to leave one flower untouched to see if it gets pollinated by itself or any other creature? I have a custer apple tree that is still not producing any flowers...

RE: How To: Cherimoya Pollination

I think I may have pollinated several flowers, but I am still unsure whether I was successful or not. I have not noticed any flowers getting pollinated on their own, and others have told me that their trees did not produce any fruit without hand pollination.

If nothing takes this year, I will try again next year, and I will probably prune the tree later this year, as it is getting overly tall but has some lower branches.


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