'Pineapple Sugar Apple'
. . . is a hybrid of the sugar apple (Annona squamosa) and the more cold tolerant cherimoya (Annona cherimola).
Atemoya trees grow 10-15' tall in Florida, should be spaced 15-20' apart, and are hardy to zone 9b (25-27degrees). They require full sun to partial shade. Soil pH should be neutral to mildly alkaline (6.6-7.8pH).
They can reach up to 25' tall in their native environment. Trees can be kept trimmed to 6-10' tall if needed.
Atemoya are more cold tolerant than the sugar apple (A. squamosa) and at the same time tolerates tropical heat better than the Cherimola. Can tolerate a light freeze, even to 27 degrees.
It is quite juicy and smooth tasting, and sweet-tart like a vanilla flavored pina colada -- hence the name "pineapple sugar apple". Snowy-white flesh is of a fine texture.
Pulp has fewer seeds than the sugar apple and the flesh is not divided into segments. The seeds of course are poisonous, just like the other members of the Annona family of fruits. Fruit can be as large as 5 lbs if nurished properly.
When you can find them, named cultivars offer advantages:
'Geffner' is very nice, sweet and highly productive. Some say Geffner is the only Atemoya to self pollinate prolifically.
'Lisa' is a soft pink fruit on the inside, some say not as productive as the 'Geffner', but reportedly has outstanding flavor and texture.
Zill's nursery says the 'Lisa' is just as productive and an excellent variety, maybe better than the 'Geffner'.
(I should note, Zill's is one of the most respected wholesale growers in the tropical plant industry.)
Both 'Geffner' and 'Lisa' are grafted varieties.
The fruit is heart-shaped or even rounded with pale-green, bumpy skin near the stem like the sugar apple, and smoother skin like the cherimoya towards the bottom end.
Atemoya has much less seeds than the sugar apple (Annona squamosa).
Atemoya bears protogynous, hermaphroditic flowers meaning self-pollination is rare. The flower, in its female stage, opens between 2-4:00pm, and between 3-5pm on the following day converts to its male stage.
Hand pollination almost always yields superior quality fruits. Without pollination assistance, the resulting fruit can be misshapen or underdeveloped on one side, or not get pollinated at all.
Grafted cultivars available seasonally at the nursery: contact us for details.