Black Sapote Tree

Growing Zones in Ground: 10 - 11 / in Pots: 4 - 11

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Description

The black sapote is an exotic fruit tree. These tropical trees have black bark, long elliptic-shaped leaves, and bear a unique fruit.

The black sapote tree is an attractive, evergreen tree with dense foliage. The branches grow little green to white flowers with oblong, leathery leaves. The trees produce a sweet fruit 2-6 inches in diameter that is similar to the shape of a tomato.

The unusual fruit has green outer skin and dark pulp inside. The pulp is described to have the consistency and texture of chocolate pudding. Although there are differences in opinions regarding the flavor, some say that it tastes like sweet chocolate pudding as well.

Native to Central America, these trees grow tall in tropical outdoor climates. When planted in the ground, black sapote trees can reach heights of 40 feet. These trees bear fruit from late fall to mid-winter and are heavy bearers—one tree can produce more than a hundred pounds of fruit per season.

Black sapote trees are commonly grown as houseplants or kept as outdoor patio plants in warmer climates. The USDA recommends that these trees be grown in zones 10 and 11. The high exposure to sunlight, warm temperatures, and high humidity are all contributing factors to the optimal growth of a black sapote tree.

Black Sapote Tree Care

Black sapote trees tend to grow slowly and can take up to five years to mature. They also require lots of sunlight. When choosing a place to plant your tree, be sure to space them at least 25 feet apart and away from the shade of other trees and buildings.

If planted in a pot inside, place them near a window with adequate exposure to sunlight. Potted trees may outgrow the size of their original pots. This can occur every two years, and the trees would need to be replanted into larger pots for further growth.

Black sapote trees like to grow in well-draining or sandy soil with slight acidity. If you’re planting outdoors, place them on a mound to ensure proper drainage. Water the tree no more than 1-2 times a week.

The trunks are delicate and are susceptible to damage from lawn care equipment. Therefore, it’s advised to never use mechanical equipment near the tree. Instead, it’s important to prune the tree during its first few years of growth. This doesn’t hurt the tree and can help shape the tree while encouraging fruit production.

Black Sapote Tree Fruit and Harvesting

The black sapote tree may take up to 4 years before it bears fruit. The size and quality of the fruit will depend on the variety of the tree, and most trees are self-fertile. Other varieties may require cross-pollination to fruit.

The black sapote fruit has thin green skin and becomes olive green when ripe. Therefore, they can be harvested fully green. The unripe fruit is tart and bitter, so it’s best to wait ten days for them to ripen off the branch fully. When ripe, the fruit will stay fresh for 2-6 days.

The fruit can be kept for slightly longer in the fridge but will continue to soften. The ripeness can be determined by the color and softness of each fruit. The inside contains a jelly-like pulp with seeds that are brown, flat, and smooth. The fruit is generally seedless or near seedless.

The flavor is mild and sweet. The flesh can be enjoyed by itself or with added juices from lemons, limes, pineapples, or oranges. It can also be used as a filling for pies and pastries. In various parts of the world, the pulp is typically paired with something sweet and served as a dessert.

Black Sapote Tree Advice

Temperature is an important factor when it comes to the black sapote tree. Like other tropical plants, they are not tolerant of the cold. Therefore, they should be kept in an environment that maintains a temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. They can withstand a mild and short burst of cold, but should be kept at temperatures well above freezing.

Aside from occasional pruning, black sapote trees are generally low maintenance and pest-free. It’s rare, but they can become infected by scales. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies may also pose threats. Look for a minimally toxic pesticide to control these types of harmful invaders.

Black sapote trees will grow well by themselves and generally don’t need fertilizer. However, be careful of the fertilizer used for the surrounding plants, as it may inhibit the tree’s growth. Instead, you can use a balanced granular fertilizer to help them grow.

Use this fertilizer every few months until the tree matures. After they’ve grown, only fertilize twice a year. If you’re not concerned about getting any fruit from your full-grown tree, then refrain from fertilizing it at all.

FAQs

Does the fruit of the black sapote tree have nutritional value?

The fruit contains a high amount of vitamin C and is a good source of fiber and potassium.

Will an indoor black sapote produce fruit?

Unless you have high ceilings, perfect temperature, and lots of sunlight, you’ll rarely get any fruit from your indoor tree.

How tall do black sapote trees grow when planted in a pot?

Black sapote trees will grow a few feet tall when planted in a pot. Their size is dependent on the amount of sunlight they receive and the temperature they live in.

Can you eat the skin?

The skin is inedible, so do not eat it.