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I Grow Soursop Plants :)

Everytime I have chance to go back to Indonesia for a family visit, I always make a chance to enjoy soursop fruit (Lat. Annona muricata). This one fruit has been one of my favorites. Unfortunately it is not accessible in The Netherlands. Not even if it is just imported. No importers are interested to import soursop. Pity!

soursop plant with fruit

Soursop is a tropical kind of plant. It is native to Mexico, Cuba, Central America, The Carribean, northern of South America (Columbia, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela) and the sub-Saharan Africa countries that are within the tropics. But soursop has been growing in the Southeast Asia region for a long time, most probably brought from Mexico through The Philipines. (Wikipedia: soursop)

The name “sirsak” is probably derived from Dutch word zuurzak which means: sour bag. It is because the shape of soursop fruit looks like a oval bag and the taste of the white fruit pulp is sweet and sour.

soursop fruit pulp

During my last going back home I bought 2 soursops from a supermarket not far from my parents’ house. The one who like eating soursop most is not just me. My father has been a great fan of soursop, too. Normally whenever there is soursop at home, we will make a duet. Not singing. But enjoying it… Hahaha… This time I asked my father to collect some soursop seeds while we were enjoying the juicy fruit. Yaamm. My last going back home I did plan to bring some soursop seeds back to The Netherlands. Of course to be planted. And of course to grow the plant indoor.

Am I dreaming that one day my (future) soursop plant would bear fruits? Yes, of course. If I can enjoy having soursop in The Netherlands, especially when it comes from my own garden, then why not? But I have become more interested in growing soursop at home because I have come to know that the plant as a whole has many health benefits. There are even some undergoing medical researches whose initial findings show that certain compounds and chemicals extracted from soursop seeds, fruit, leaves and bark appear to kill cancer cells without harming the normal cells. (Philipine Herbal Medicine)

So a few days after I arrived back in the uncle Gulliver’s land I started to take action. Not only one seed or two. I put 6 seeds into the soil!! All I put in the soil in the pots of already established plants. Such as frangipani, pandanus, jasmine and guava. I put all those 6 seeds in the soil in three different occasions/times with quite some time-distance.

My points of putting the seeds in the pot of some established plants are:

1. not to have some extra pots in the house.

2. to avoid the possibility that the seeds would become rotten because of too much water as well as to avoid the chance that the seeds would become dry and die because the soil lacks of water.

One of the seeds started to germinate only after 10-14 days. That was the one I put in the frangipani pot (I put two seeds there). I was so excited. I let it grow until it became quite in a good shape with 3-4 more pairs of leaves before I finally removed it from it’s surrogate pot and put in a separate one. Now it has almost become a teenager plant that grows proudly and spiritfully. There have even come some young branches from some axils (between the leaves and the main stem).

From 6 seeds all have germinated. Unfortunately the seed that germinated after the first one had its first pair of leaves trapped in its seed cocoon. After several days of being in such situation I become very nervous to do nothing but watching. One day I could not help it anymore and tried to release the trapped leaves from the cocoon. I was not a hero at all. Instead, I became a killer. I broke the top part of the stem.

I did not know that the top part of the stem where the first pair of leaves are supposed to hang on comes from the separate segment and just connects to the lower part of the stem on the segment joint. It’s not one whole stem!

Me? Of course sad. Instead of helping, I killed it.

However I did not pull it out of the soil. I let the stem without leaves or “head” still intact in the soil of the surrogate frangipani pot. After a few days it stayed surprisingly green and fresh. I noticed that there appeared some dots on the peak of the stem. 5-6 in amount. A few days afterwards those dots became fatter. But because I thought the (ex) soursop baby plant would never be able to grow further, although the stem was still green and fresh I finally pulled it out of the soil and threw it into the bin. I felt bad.

Some weeks after that day I found out that a soursop seed in its guava surrogate pot germinated. It happened similar to what happened to the second seed which I finally killed. The first leaves to be were trapped in its seed shell. But this time I let it be so. Let mother nature give her hand. Some days afterwards I took time to check it. OMG! The top part from with its separate segment was broken. And again the main stem that was left still looked green. Fresh. So I let it be that way. I did not pull it out of the soil and throw it into the bin. I was really curious to know what would happen.

And as it happened to the second soursop baby, the top of the stem of this soursop baby started to show some pimples. Hmmm… Interesting! Why it showed the same symptom? I let it grow. After 7-10 days there came leaf buds from those pimples.

Ooohh… I got it now! That’s how the process goes. I regretted even more that I had killed the second soursop baby.

The difference between the healthy baby plant and the one that could not germinate properly from its seed shell is that the healthy baby plant is, of course, able to grow its further pairs of leaves in a good order, while the other one does not have the same chance. It grows in a messy way as you can see from the photo below. But I don’t see it a problem.

One thing has made me concerned. Will my living room be able to bear all those healthy growing soursop babies? Especially when they will have become adult plants? Throwing a healthy plant away (read: killing!) is not something fun for me to do. *cry!*

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2 comments

  1. Hi!
    This week I bought some soursop at:

    Tropische Winkel Nickerie
    Beeklaan 274
    2562 AT ‘s-Gravenhage

    They were very hard en green and needed more maturing. Like with some other unripe picked and shipped fruits this didn’t succeed unfortunately… :-(
    The fruit turned black (although I read on the internet that black skin means the fruit is ripe), and the inside pinkish and some parts brown.
    Not at all like when you eat it ripe from the tree in some country of origin.

    Anyways, it is sometimes possible to buy in The Netherlands.
    I also saw canned and frozen products from soursop available in Rotterdam (searched on the internet).

    Greetings!

    1. hello N.,
      thanks a lot for stopping by, visiting my blog and leaving some words. also thank you for your info about the store in Gravenhage which sometimes sells fresh soursop.
      some tips:
      next time you buy soursop and it is still hard, try to burry it in plenty raw rice for a few days. check every other day if it has ripened further and become soft.
      yes, the black skin is the sign that the fruit is ripe. and you should not worry about the pinkish color. that’s still edible. you can consume it. but if if it taste sour don’t throw it away immediately. try this:
      take all the good soursop meat. move the seeds. put the fruit meat in the blender machine. add some sugar or honey (i suggest sugar) and enough cold water. blend it all until smooth. then you will have soursop smoothy. and some ice cubes. it’s yummy and pretty refreshing on the hot summer days..

      best regards,
      Retno

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