Custard Apple

bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Introduction
bulet.jpg (4991 bytes) Climate and soil
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Varieties
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Propagation
Planting and Season
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Interculturing
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Special Horticultural Practices
bulet.jpg (4805 bytes) Irrigation
Application of Manures and Fertilizers
Harvesting and yield

Post Harvest Handling

Plant Protection







Custard Apple (Annona squmosa L.) is one of the finest fruits introduced in India from tropical America. It is also found in wild form in many parts of India. It is cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Bihar, Orissa, Assam, and Tamil Nadu besides India, it is common in China, Philippines, Egypt and Central Africa.

It is very hardy, medium in growth and deciduous in nature. The fruits are generally used as fresh, while some products or mixed fruits like custard powders, ice creams are prepared from the fruits. Besides high nutritive value, it has also a high medicinal value. Unripe fruits, seeds, leaves and roots are considered and used in medicinal preparations.

Climate and Soil:

All annonas are tropical origin and grow well in hot and dry climate with varying degrees of difference. Custard Apple requires hot dry climate during flowering and high humidity at fruit setting. Flowering comes during hot dry climate of May but fruit setting takes place on onset of monsoon. Low humidity is harmful for pollination and fertilization. The Custard Apple withstands drought conditions cloudy weather and also when the temperatures go below 150C. Annual rainfall of 50-80cm is optimum, though it can withstand higher rainfall.

The Custard Apple is not very particular about soil conditions and flourishes in all types of soils like shallow, sandy, but fails to grow if the subsoil is ill drained. It can grow well in deep black soils provided they are well drained. A little salinity or acidity does not affect it but alkalinity, chlorine, poor drainage or marshy-wet lands hamper the growth and fruiting.


The following are some of the varieties grown in different agro-climatic regions of the country.

  • Red Sitaphal

  • Balanagar

  • Hybrid

  • Washington

  • Purandhar (Pune)


The annonas are commonly propagated by seeds. Recently some researchers have developed some techniques in vegetative methods and budding can be adopted for multiplication. The seedlings of local custard apple have proved a good rootstock for many improved varieties and hybrids. Seeds treated with 100 ppm for 24 hours germinate quickly and uniformly.

Planting and Season

Planting is done during rainy season. The pits of 60x60x60cm at spacing 4x4m or 5x5m or 6x6m depending on soil type are dug prior to monsoon and filled with a good quality FYM, single super phosphate and neem or Karanj cake under dry conditions and with drip irrigation system planting at 6x4m has given good growth and better fruit setting.


For good plant growth, the weeding should be done to keep away the weeds. Intercropping with some legumes, peas, beans and merigold flowers are commonly taken by the growers. Normally, no crop is taken during winter as the plants go under rest.

Special Horticultural Practices

For uniform flowering and for early flowering and also to check the flower and fruit drop and for improving fruit size, following growth regulators are used.

  • For defoliation and bringing the plants under uniform rest Ethyrl at 1000 ppm is sprayed one month after the harvest of the fruits.

  • For better and early flowering Biocil a ml per litre of water is sprayed just prior to flowering.

  • 10 to 20 ppm NAA is sprayed twice during the flowering period to reduce the flower and fruit drop.

  • During fruit development 50 ppm GA + 5 PPM 6BA + 0.5 CPPU, foliar spray improves the fruit size and luster of the fruits.


In general, custard apple is grown as a rainfed crop, and no irrigation given. However, for early and bumper harvest of the crop. Irrigation on flowering i.e. from May should be given till regular monsoon starts. For better flowering and fruit setting, mist sprinkling is better over flood or drip system of irrigation as it helps to lower down the temperatures and to increase in the relative humidity.

Application of Manures & Fertilizers

Generally, no manures or fertilisers are applied to rainfed crop. However, for early and bumper harvest with a good keeping quality, the following dose is recommended to a fully grown tree. Biomeal 10kg; 5:10:5:1 kg ormichem micronutrient mixture 0.250kg at the time of flowering and another dose of 10:26:26 or 19:19:19 mixture after fruitsetting. Foliar spray with 8:12:24:4 -10 g/lit, twice during fruit development. Occasionally, zinc or iron or both deficiencies are noticed and can be taken care of by spraying chealed zinc or ferrous.

Harvesting and Yield

The custard apple is a climacteric fruit and harvested at the maturity state when the fruit starts to change colour from green to its varietal colour shade. Immature fruits do not ripe. Swallowing some apical buds-showing inner pulp is also an indicator of maturity. A well grown tree yield above 100 fruits weighing 300 to 400gm. The season of harvest is from August to October.

Post Harvest Handling

The fruits do not withstand cold storage as well as handling after ripening. Firm but mature fruits can be kept at 60C. temperature for about a week, but such fruits loose aroma and attractive ness and also develop some cipid taste

Plant Protection

Though the crop is hardy but suffers from the following pests:

Mealy bug
Scale insect
Fruit boring caterpillar

Leaf spot, Anthracnose, Black stone. Spraying with neem oil, Meenark and some herbal preparations is recommended.