Growing Sapodilla from Seeds

Growing Sapodilla - Manilkara zapota - From Seeds to Tree

Sapodilla - Lamut - Growing from Seeds

Sapodilla - Manilkara zapota - also known as Chicku, Sapote and Lamut is a tree which can grow to more than 30 m tall with an average trunk diameter of 1.5 m. The average height of cultivated specimens is usually between 9 and 15 m with a trunk diameter not exceeding 50 cm. With its wide spread root system it is wind-resistant and the bark is rich in a white, gummy latex called chicle. The leaves are medium green and glossy, eliptic in shape and 7-15 cm long. An unripee fruit has a firm outer skin and when picked, releases white chicle from its stem. A fully ripened fruit has saggy skin and does not release chicle when picked.
The fruit is a large berry, 4-8 cm in diameter; its flesh ranges from a pale yellow to an earthy brown color with a grainy texture alike a ripened pear. Each fruit contains one to six seeds. The seeds are hard, glossy, and black, resembling beans, with a hook at one end that can catch in the throat if swallowed. A ripee Sapodilla fruit has an exceptionally sweet flavor, an unripe fruit is hard and contains high amounts of saponin, drying out the mouth. The trees can only survive in warm, typically tropical and subtropical environments, they die easily if the temperature drops below freezing. From germination, the Sapodilla tree will take anywhere from five to eight years to bear fruit and yield fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round.

Sapodilla Seeds

Sapodilla - Lamut - Growing from Seeds

Sapodilla Seeds

Sapodilla seeds are viable over a very long period, so if you can not get fresh fruits to peel the seeds off you can get them by mail order.
Clean your seeds and soak them in water for 24 hrs. Now spread them on a wet paper towel, cover with a second paper towel and place this sandwich in a ziplock bag with some air inside. Alternatively you can place your paper towels into a plastic tray spead the seeds, cover and place in your ziplock bag.
Place the bag in a dark and warm place and wait your Sapodilla seeds germinate.

Seeds germinated after 2 weeks

Sapodilla - Lamut - Seed after 2 weeks

Two weeks old germinated Sapodilla Seeds

Germination of Sapodilla seeds takes about two weeks. After this time open the ziplock bag and look at the seeds; they should have germinated and developed a root as shown in the picture.
Remove the Sapodilla seeds gently from the paper towel and plant them about 1cm deep into 10cm pots or suitable plastic bags filled with a good potting mix. Put the pots in a bright area with no direct sunlight and keep the soil moist.

Seedling after 3 weeks

Sapodilla - Lamut - Seedling after 3 weeks

Three weeks old Sapodilla seedling

After 3 weeks, about a week after planting the germinated seeds the seedlings start to emerge from the soil. Don't forget watering the seedlings to keep the soil moist but not soaked.

Seedling after 4 weeks

Sapodilla - Lamut - Seedling after 4 weeks

four weeks old Sapodilla seedling

After 4 weeks the Sapodilla seedlings have a height of about 5 cm and have developed their first set of leaves. Continue to keep the soil moist and watch the little trees growing.

Two months old Sapodilla seedling

Sapodilla - Lamut -  plant 2 months old

Two months old Sapodilla Seedling

After two months the Sapodilla seedlings are about 15 cm high and have developed several sets of leaves. Keep watering regulary and transplant to a larger 20 cm pot after 3 months.

Young Sapodilla - 6 months old

Sapodilla - Lamut -  plant 6 months old

Six months old Sapodilla plant

The Sapodilla tree is around 50 cm high and has developed several branches. It is ready to be planted outdoors or in a large pot with about 50 cm in diameter.