Star apple tree growing tree of the genus Chrysophyllum also known as Caimito or Chrysophyllum cainito, Star apple tree perennial evergreen in colder climate become semi-deciduous plant, grow in tropic and also possible in a frost free mediterranean climate and growing in hardiness zone 11+ and with the right overwinter care when the tree young in hardiness zone 10b.
Leaves color is green, the bottom of the leaf is golden-red color, leaf in elliptic to oval shape.
Flower color is yellow-white the size 1-4 mm and the flowers grow in groups.
Star apple fruit
Fruit are purple with green- purple shell, the inside color is light purple to white and there is a sweet milk-like liquid.
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How to grow Star apple tree – growing condition and care:
More than 3C (37F) when mature, when the tree young can die in less than 5C (41F), but prefer higher temperatures, above 15C (59)
How to care:
Mostly pruning one a year, fertile for growth until arrive to maturity 3-4 times a year, organic matter, mulch, in hardiness zone 10b when the plant young is sensitive better to cover the tree at least 0.5m (2 feet) with dead leaves and better to cover with plastic wrap around the tree (but must be with air and not to touch the tree
What is the best way to start growing:
Plant / Seed ( care explanation bellow) / Vegetative Reproduction – air layer, cutting
Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?
No, but possible and ensure the quality of the fruits also make the tree bear fruits faster than without outside of the tropical zone, air layer even better when that grafting small tree.
Difficulties/Problems with growing:
Outside the tropic very sensitive when it’s young to sun and cold weather
How to plant:
Dig a hole as deep as the current root ball plus extra 20-40%, put in the hole organic matter, hummus and dried leaves and mix it with some soil, put the tree and loos little bit the root ball above the hole, plant the tree and cover it and don’t push the soil too much strong but not too much lightly because it won’t be stable, after this put mulch to keep moist on soil, put water, for the next two weeks put every day (better in the morning) , better to take that the tree will be stable, and if not support it with bamboo or a stick that it won’t fall.
Spring, summer, autumn ( and in the tropic can be also in winter)
Pests and diseases:
Autumn to winter (better after the fruits)
How to prune:
Weak and dead branches, design of the tree, in hardiness zone 10b its important first to let the tree grow up and to prune it in the spring
Size of the plant:
8-20 m, 24-60 feet, smaller outside of the tropic zome
Growth speed in optimal condition:
Slow growing, average growing
Irrigation water management requirement:
Average amount of water / Big amount of water
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun / half shade
Is it possible to grow indoor?
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:
When does flowers bloom?
In tropics in the winter in non-tropic spring
General information about the flower
Small yellow-white flowers grow in groups
Thinning / Deadheading of the blossom:
Wind can cause to thinning
Pollination is done by:
When does it yield:
In tropics in the spring-summer in non-tropic summer
Pests or diseases in Star apple fruits:
Birds, mediterranean fruit fly
What can be done with big quantities of Caimito fruit?
Eat raw, juice, cakes
Work requirements on the fruit:
Sometime needed to cover with net
How long does it take to bear fruit?
3-5 years and outside the tropic zone can be 5-18 years
Ripening of fruit:
Can be picked up before fully ripening
How to eat:
Cut in the middle and eat the fruit itself without the seeds, also don’t eat the peel
How to grow star apple from seed
At least 26C (79 F), high humidity and moist soil, sunny location
Saving seeds until sowing:
Dry, dark location in room temperature
Spring to summer,
How to plant star apple seeds:
Dig hole 4 times bigger than the seeds, use mix of peat soil with perlite or vermiculite, cover it lightly, the vermiculite will keep the seed moist and help it to germinate, better to use separate pots and not to plant directly because better to graft the trees and this can ensure that what you plant will be grafted tree
Better in separate pots, but if sowing directly with transplant 40*60cm (16*24 inches), without transplant 5*4m (15*12 feet)
Depth of Sowing:
1-2cm (0.5-1 inch)
Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist soil, hot weather with high humidity
Watering requires for Seeds:
Average amount of water / Big amount of water, don’t let the soil dry
2-12 weeks, depend the
Condition of seedling:
Warm weather, high humidity and moist soil (in hardiness zone 10b better to cover them overwinter)
Alternative names: Caimito, Cainito, Tar apple, Star apple, Purple star apple, Golden leaf tree, abiaba, pomme de lait, estrella, milk fruit and aguay