Growing Black Sapote | How to Grow Black Sapote and Care

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Learn How to Grow Black Sapote in this article. Growing Black Sapote requires a warm subtropical or tropical climate and plenty of space to thrive.

The black sapote is an evergreen subtropical fruit tree, which is native to Central America and Mexico and cultivated for its tasty fruit. It belongs to the persimmon genus. It’s a stately tree with large foliage and can reach 20 m in height. Keep reading this article to learn how to grow black sapote.

USDA Zones: 10, 11

Difficulty: Easy

Other names: Diospyros Digyna, Diospyros Nigra, Black Persimmon, Chocolate-Fruit, Chocolate Pudding Fruit, Zapote Negro, Schwarze Sapote, Zapote Prieto, Chocolate Persimmon.

Black Sapote Tree Information

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Black Sapote leaves are simple, leathery, elliptic to oblong, tapered at the edges, bright and dark green in color. The flowers appear in the leaf axils, solitary or in small clusters. They are tubular and small.

Black sapote flowers may have male and female organs at the same time, or only male. The fruits are about 2-6 inches in diameter. The pulp of the unripe fruit is initially white, astringent, and irritating, but the maturation makes it brown and even black and it becomes sweet and juicy, though slightly mild in flavor.

Black sapote fruits are also called chocolate pudding fruit due to their taste. When ripe, the fruits are left with the shell slightly “wrinkled”, of green-brown color, they look withered. They are harvested just before full maturity. It can be eaten fresh, or with milk. Interestingly, it is also served as a dessert, accompanied by ice cream, milk, whipped cream, lemon juice, and orange juice.

How to Grow Black Sapote


Growing black sapote is possible from seeds, air layering, and grafting. Seeds must be sown when the temperature is warm. Either buy seeds from quality sources or pick some from fully ripe fruit. Clean and wash them with water before sowing. You can also soak seeds in water for 24 hours for a better germination rate.

Sow seeds in a seed tray or small pot in seed starting mix about 2 cm deep. The period of germination is approximately 3 – 4 weeks. The location where seeds are kept must be bright and warm 68 F (around 20 C).

A black sapote tree that is grown from seed sometimes does not come true from seed and sometimes male trees are germinated too. Therefore, it is better to grow a grafted tree.

How to grow Black Sapote in Pots?

Growing black sapote tree in a pot is possible. Usually, commercial growers plant seedlings in the pot until they become 1-2 feet tall before planting them on the ground.

You can continue growing it in the container. For this, choose a pot with sufficient drainage holes in the bottom. Use a high-quality organic potting mix that is light and fluffy.

Repot the plant to one size bigger pot when the plant has outgrown existing pot or every two years or so. All the other growing requirements given below are similar.

Requirements for Growing Black Sapote


Growing black sapote needs a sunny and warm location that is sheltered from the wind and cold drafts. It is not suitable for urban areas since the falling of fruits can cause a lot of dirt on the sidewalks and streets. However, it is quite possible to plant it in the home orchard or yard.


It grows in all soil types, preferably in light and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter.


Unlike most other species of the same genus, the black sapote does not tolerate prolonged drought. Nevertheless, it is resistant to moist soils. It is better to keep the soil slightly moist and the plant must be watered regularly and deeply, especially when it is young and establishing. Once the tree matures (5 years or more) frequent watering is not required and the tree must be watered only in dry periods.


Black sapote trees must be spaced 25 feet apart from each other.


Optimum temperature is like other tropical fruit trees. Also, remember the plant tolerates mild cold and a mature tree can bear temperature down to 28 F (2-3 C below zero).

Black Sapote Tree Care


Black sapote tree doesn’t require much fertilizer. The application of organic fertilizer is sufficient.


Before planting and when the tree is young, weed the site regularly as much as possible, especially the grasses growing near it, to avoid the competition for moisture, nutrients, and light.


The crowns grow naturally well-branched and do not need regular cutting. However, it can be pruned to control the shape and size and for the better penetration of sunlight across the branches.

Pests and Diseases

In general, the healthy black sapote tree remains pest free. Although, in rare cases, it can be infected by scales; by cochineals in winter or with spider mites in the summer. Diseases are also uncommon but can occur in cold places or due to overwatering.


Most of the varieties are self-fertile but those varieties that are not bisexual require cross-pollination.

Harvesting Black Sapote and Uses

A tree grown from seeds may take 5 to 6 years to flower. Harvest time for black sapote fruits varies from December to February and June to August.

Black sapote fruits are usually harvested unripe at the time when they are fully grown (2 – 6 inches in diameter) and their skin color changes from shiny green to dull green.

To know about black sapote fruit uses and harvesting, read this article.

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    • I beg to differ. LOL. My black sapote fruit actually tastes very much like chocolate. Maybe trees vary in taste and quality of their fruit somewhat? I gather the fallen fruit off the ground when it’s fully black, mix the pulp with some honey, a few drops of lemon juice and a touch of salt, and put in in the frig until good and cold. Yum!

  1. I live in Ventura County and I have a little Chico sapote which is really just a small black sapote. My tree is small and I’ve only had one fruit so far and it was very delicious and totally black and mushy. This year the tree is bigger about seven feet tall and there is a lot of baby fruit on it now. I remember my fruit was mildly sweet, did taste like chocolate pudding, but it was a light flavor. The consistency was very silky and slightly gelatinous kind of like a thick gravy when you stir it really fast in a bowl.

  2. A sapote chico or sapotillo is not a black sapote. What you have in your garden is a black sapote also called black persimmon because it is from the same family. They are also closely related to the ebony family. The chico on the other end tend to have the shape of an egg, light brown, and taste like caramel.

  3. Can anyone help?
    Female flowers are opening and not pollinating, they just dry out and fall off.
    I water 2-3 times per week with diluted worm water.
    Am I over watering?

    • I really don’t know, i suppose it depends on other conditions such as tree location, soil type and rainfall. But having said that, I have a tree with the same issue. The tree itself is lush and healthy, but every year its flowers fall off infertile. I ended up planting another tree as well and the new tree produced fruit the same year that I planted it! I am so thrilled. I am wondering if the first tree may in fact have served as a cross pollinator, as the second tree, although still small, is loaded in fruit. Just a thought. _ Ellie

  4. We just found a small Zapote Negro tree in Port Isabel, TX and bought it! I’m determined to get it thriving, but I live about 250 miles up the Gulf coast. I think the way to go would be in a container rather than in the ground. Mainly because we’re out in the open wind and it could get down to 20 degrees in a worst case scenario.

  5. I have had a black sapote tree for about 6 yrs. it has grown slowly but has never produced a flower or fruit or anything. What do I need to do? Thanks

  6. I live in Rockingham just south of Perth in Western Australia.
    I purchased a Black Sapote from a garden outlet, labelled “self fertile”. It was approximately 2 feet high. ? age but I guess about 2yrs old.
    I have had it for about 2-3yrs in a medium sized pot. This year it had its first fruit about 7 or so.
    They weren’t large due to the container size I think, but very tasty. Not overly sweet but silky texture. I enjoyed them.
    I plan to pot it up to a half 44 gal plastic drum soon and I will have to prune it so as to manage the transplant.
    It has already started to flower again so I may also reduce the chance a a decent crop but I have no choice. It’s summer here now so I will have to protect it from the really hot days with some shade cloth until it starts to cool into autumn. Wish me luck please. Thank you for this forum.
    Moya Donegan
    Western Australia

    • Hi, I just bought one of these and was worried I had made a mistake as I live in Rockingham too. It is quite windy here and my soil is not the best. So pleased to hear it is fruiting and maybe i will keep mine in a pot too.

      • Hi Rachel. I just purchased my tree from Bunnings at Port Kennedy Rockingham an bought a big pot.. l ve placed it in my courtyard an are looking forward to it growing.

      • Hi Rachel, how is your choc pudding tree going?
        Have you kept it in a pot or in the ground?
        I kept mine in a container due to the size in the ground.
        Mine got a lot of mealybug on the half size fruit last year which I treated with Meths with fairly good results.
        I got a good number of fruit but only about the size of a large egg. Probably due to the container size which it has outgrown and haven’t reported yet.
        Just curious to see how you have got on.
        Moya Donegan
        Waikiki / Rockingham.

  7. Have about twelve fruit on my tree after four years. Had one on last year but failed to pick it . Fruit this year all at various sizes going to pick the largest one ,it is 10 cm in diameter and has changed to a dull green . Looking forward to trying it , tree is very healthy and about 3 metres tall, growing in an orchard with other trees of different varieties.
    Live near Tully Qld.

  8. I live in Cocoa Florida and my tree is about 25′ Tall.Most of the fruits about the size of a large grapefruit. I don’t dip any thing to it just let it grow wild. Wish I could insert a picture of my tree. It is loaded this year.I give all my fruit to my neighbors and friends.


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