Annona reticulata, otherwise known as Custard Apple (Chirimoya - Cuba), is a small tree that grows to 10-20 ft tall. This deciduous plant is native to West Indies to Central America and South Mexico, and grows in USDA Zone 9-11. It is relatively easy to maintain; as long as it is provided with regular water, mulching, organic soil, fertilization and irrigation in extended drought periods.
The Custard Apple tree has fragrant, inconspicuous flowers that hang down in drooping clusters. The fruit, ranging in size from 4" to 6" in diameter, is roundish to heart-shaped to irregular and has a tough, thin skin that varies in colour from yellow to brown to red when ripe. The flesh of the fruit is thick and creamy-white and has a custard-like texture. Redder fruits have a hint of pink in the flesh and red lines running through. The taste of the fruit can vary significantly, but the best ones are sweet and juicy with a distinctive flavor.
This versatile and edible fruit offers numerous health benefits. It is packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin C, B-complex and minerals like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and minerals. Custard Apple is also a good source of dietary fiber. A mature tree can produce up to 15-20 fruits in a single season, making it a great option for home gardens. In areas with cold climates, the tree can be grown in a container and kept inside when temperatures drop below 30s F.
All in all, the Custard Apple tree is an undemanding species that produces a nutritious fruit. With proper care and maintenance, this attractive plant can be a wonderful addition to any garden.