How To Plant Agbalumo Tree [Complete Guide]

Agbalumo, also known as African star apple or cherry, is a popular tropical fruit native to West Africa. Its scientific name is Chrysophyllum albidum, and it is highly regarded for its juicy, tangy-sweet flesh and unique flavor.

If you’re a fan of this delightful fruit and want to enjoy its bounty right in your own backyard, you’re in luck! In this complete guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of planting an agbalumo tree and nurturing it to thrive.

1. Choosing the Right Location

Selecting the ideal location for your agbalumo tree is crucial for its growth and productivity. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Sunlight: Agbalumo trees thrive in full sun exposure. Choose a spot in your garden that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily.
  • Soil Quality: Agbalumo trees prefer well-draining soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 6.5. Conduct a soil test to determine the pH and make necessary amendments to achieve the optimal soil conditions.

2. Obtaining Agbalumo Seeds

The first step in planting an agbalumo tree is acquiring viable seeds. Here’s how you can obtain them:

  • Harvesting: If you have access to mature agbalumo fruits, carefully remove the seeds from the pulp. Rinse the seeds to remove any remaining flesh and let them air dry.
  • Purchasing: If agbalumo fruits are not readily available, you can purchase seeds from local nurseries or reputable online seed suppliers.

3. Preparing the Seeds

Proper preparation of agbalumo seeds improves their germination rate. Follow these steps:

  • Scarification: Agbalumo seeds have a hard outer coat that may inhibit germination. To enhance seed viability, scarify the seeds by carefully nicking or filing a small notch on the seed coat.
  • Soaking: Soak the scarified seeds in water overnight to help soften the coat and promote germination.

4. Germinating the Seeds

To successfully germinate agbalumo seeds, follow these guidelines:

  • Container Selection: Fill a seed tray or small pots with a well-draining seed-starting mix.
  • Planting: Place the scarified seeds in the tray or pots, burying them about half an inch deep. Ensure the seeds are spaced apart to allow room for root development.
  • Moisture and Warmth: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. To aid germination, maintain a warm environment with temperatures around 80-90°F (27-32°C). You can use a heating mat or place the seeds in a warm location like the top of a refrigerator.
  • Patience: Germination can take anywhere from two to six weeks. Be patient and continue to provide the necessary care and conditions for the seeds.

5. Transplanting Seedlings

Once the agbalumo seedlings have grown to a suitable size, it’s time to transplant them into larger containers or directly into the ground. Follow these steps:

  • Container Selection: Choose containers with sufficient drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Use a potting mix that provides good drainage and nutrition.
  • Transplanting: Gently remove the seedlings from the seed tray, taking care not to damage the delicate roots. Place each seedling in its new container, ensuring the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.
  • Watering: After transplanting, water the seedlings thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. Maintain regular watering, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

6. Planting in the Ground

If you prefer planting your agbalumo tree directly in the ground, follow these steps:

  • Digging the Hole: Dig a hole that is wider and deeper than the root ball of the seedling. Loosen the soil in the hole to promote root growth.
  • Placing the Seedling: Gently place the seedling in the hole, ensuring it is at the same depth as it was in the container. Backfill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots.
  • Watering: Give the newly planted tree a thorough watering to settle the soil. Continue to water regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.

7. Caring for Agbalumo Trees

To ensure healthy growth and fruit production, provide proper care for your agbalumo tree:

  • Watering: Agbalumo trees require regular watering, especially during dry periods. Provide deep, thorough waterings to keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Fertilization: Apply a balanced fertilizer formulated for fruit trees in the spring and early summer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosage and application.
  • Pruning: Prune your agbalumo tree annually to maintain its shape, remove dead or diseased branches, and promote airflow and sunlight penetration. Pruning in late winter or early spring is ideal.
  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to help conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide essential nutrients as it decomposes.

8. Harvesting Agbalumo Fruits

The joy of growing an agbalumo tree culminates in the rewarding harvest.

Here’s how to know when the fruits are ready to be picked:

  • Color Change: Agbalumo fruits mature from green to yellow or orange when ripe. Wait until the fruits develop their vibrant color.
  • Firmness: Gently squeeze the fruits to assess their firmness. Ripe agbalumo fruits should yield slightly to pressure but not be too soft.
  • Easy Separation: When gently twisted or pulled, ripe agbalumo fruits should easily detach from the stem.


Planting and growing an agbalumo tree is a rewarding experience that allows you to enjoy the delicious fruits right from your own garden.

By selecting the right location, obtaining quality seeds, providing proper care, and patiently nurturing your tree, you can savor the unique flavor and taste of agbalumo. So, roll up your sleeves, follow this complete guide, and get ready to embark on a fruitful journey with your very own agbalumo tree!


How long does it take for an agbalumo tree to bear fruit?

Agbalumo trees typically start bearing fruit between 5 to 8 years after planting. The exact timing may vary depending on various factors such as growing conditions and the specific variety of agbalumo.

Can I grow an agbalumo tree in a container?

Yes, you can grow an agbalumo tree in a container as long as you provide sufficient space, proper drainage, and regular care. However, note that container-grown trees may be smaller in size and produce fewer fruits compared to those grown in the ground.

Are agbalumo trees susceptible to pests and diseases?

Agbalumo trees can be affected by pests and diseases such as fruit flies, mealybugs, anthracnose, and powdery mildew. Regular inspection, proper sanitation, and appropriate pest and disease management practices can help minimize these issues.

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