Lakshman phal (Soursop) Farming in india

Soursop, also known as Lakshman phal, is a tropical fruit tree that is native to the Americas. It requires specific cultivation requirements to thrive. Here are some important factors to consider when cultivating soursop:

Soursop or Lakshmanphal
  1. Climate: Soursop thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. It prefers temperatures between 68°F (20°C) and 86°F (30°C). The tree is sensitive to frost and cannot tolerate temperatures below 41°F (5°C) for extended periods.
  2. Sunlight: Soursop requires full sunlight for optimal growth and fruit production. It should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
  3. Soil: The tree prefers well-draining, loamy soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. Soursop can tolerate a variety of soil types, including sandy and clay soils, as long as they are well-drained.
  4. Watering: Soursop trees need regular watering, especially during dry periods. However, it is important to avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. Allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings.
  5. Fertilizer: Soursop benefits from regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and fruit production. Apply a balanced fertilizer with a ratio such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 every three to four months. Additionally, organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, can be applied to the soil annually.
  6. Pruning: Pruning helps to maintain the shape of the tree, promote airflow, and remove dead or diseased branches. Prune soursop trees during the dry season to minimize the risk of disease transmission. Be cautious not to remove too much foliage, as the tree relies on its leaves for photosynthesis.
  7. Pollination: Soursop trees are primarily pollinated by beetles and other insects. In some cases, hand pollination may be necessary to ensure fruit set. Gently transfer pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers using a small brush or cotton swab.
  8. Pests and Diseases: Soursop is susceptible to various pests and diseases, including fruit flies, aphids, mealybugs, and fungal diseases. Monitor the tree regularly and take appropriate measures to control any infestations or diseases. This may involve using organic or chemical insecticides or fungicides.
  9. Harvesting: Soursop fruits are ready for harvest when they reach maturity and turn slightly yellowish-green. The fruit should yield slightly to gentle pressure when ripe. Harvesting is usually done by hand, using pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut the fruit from the tree.

By following these cultivation requirements, you can increase the chances of successfully growing soursop or Lakshman phal in your area. However, it’s always beneficial to consult with local horticultural experts or extension services for region-specific guidance.

Fertilizer schedule and Nutrition by stages

When it comes to fertilizing soursop or Lakshman phal trees, it is important to provide them with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth and fruit production. Here is a general fertilizer schedule that you can follow:

  1. Young Trees (First Year):
    • Month 1-3: Apply a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 10-10-10 or 14-14-14 once every two months. Use approximately 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fertilizer per tree.
    • Month 4-6: Increase the amount of fertilizer to 1/2 to 3/4 cup per tree. Continue applying the balanced fertilizer every two months.
    • Month 7-12: Use 3/4 to 1 cup of balanced fertilizer per tree. Apply every two months.
  2. Mature Trees (Second Year and Onward):
    • Yearly application: Apply a slow-release fertilizer with a ratio of 8-3-9 or 14-14-14 in early spring before the growing season starts. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the amount to use based on the tree’s size and age.
    • Supplemental feedings: During the active growing season (spring and summer), you can provide additional nutrients by using a water-soluble fertilizer with a balanced ratio (such as 10-10-10 or 14-14-14) every three to four months. Dilute the fertilizer according to the package instructions and apply it around the tree’s drip line, avoiding direct contact with the trunk.

It’s important to note that the fertilizer requirements may vary depending on the soil quality, tree health, and specific nutrient deficiencies. Conducting a soil test can help determine the nutrient levels and guide your fertilization approach.

Additionally, remember to water the tree thoroughly after applying fertilizer to ensure proper absorption and prevent potential fertilizer burn. Monitor the tree’s growth and adjust the fertilizer application as needed based on its overall health and response.

If possible, consult with local horticultural experts or extension services for region-specific fertilizer recommendations, as they can provide guidance tailored to your specific location and soil conditions.

Stages of Growth and care instructions

Soursop or Lakshman phal trees go through several growth stages before they start fruiting. Here are the common growth stages and the corresponding care requirements:

  1. Seedling Stage:
    • Care: If you are starting from seeds, plant them in a well-draining potting mix and keep the soil consistently moist. Place the pot in a warm, sunny location. Protect the seedling from cold temperatures and provide regular watering to promote healthy growth.
  2. Vegetative Stage:
    • Care: During this stage, the tree focuses on developing a strong root system and growing leaves and branches. Provide full sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours a day. Water the tree regularly, ensuring that the soil is moist but not waterlogged. Apply a balanced fertilizer every two to three months to provide essential nutrients for growth.
  3. Flowering Stage:
    • Care: As the tree matures, it will begin to produce flowers. These flowers are typically large and yellow-green in color. Provide consistent sunlight and water during this stage. To promote pollination, encourage insect activity in your garden and avoid using chemical insecticides that may harm pollinators.
  4. Fruit Set and Development Stage:
    • Care: After successful pollination, the flowers will develop into fruit. During this stage, it is important to maintain optimal growing conditions. Ensure the tree receives full sunlight and provide regular watering to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Monitor for pests and diseases, and take appropriate measures to control them. Mulching around the base of the tree can help retain moisture and suppress weed growth.
  5. Fruit Maturation Stage:
    • Care: The fruits will take several months to mature and become ready for harvest. During this stage, continue providing adequate sunlight and water. Pay attention to the changing color of the fruit as it ripens. Protect the fruits from pests and diseases by using organic or chemical treatments as necessary. Harvest the fruits when they are mature and slightly yellowish-green in color.

Throughout all these growth stages, it’s important to regularly monitor the tree’s overall health and address any issues promptly. Prune the tree as needed to maintain its shape, promote airflow, and remove dead or diseased branches. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of nutrient deficiencies and adjust fertilization accordingly.

Remember, specific care requirements may vary based on your location, climate, and soil conditions. Consulting with local gardening experts or extension services can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific region.

Harvest and post harvest Processing

After harvesting soursop or Lakshman phal fruits, there are various post-harvest and processing methods you can consider to preserve or utilize the fruit. Here are some common approaches:

  1. Cleaning and Sorting:
    • Wash the fruits gently with clean water to remove any dirt or debris.
    • Sort the fruits, discarding any damaged or overripe ones.
  2. Fresh Consumption:
    • Soursop fruits can be enjoyed fresh by cutting them open and scooping out the pulp.
    • Remove the seeds before consuming as they are not typically eaten.
  3. Freezing:
    • Peel the fruits and remove the seeds.
    • Cut the fruit pulp into desired sizes or blend it into a puree.
    • Place the pulp or puree in airtight containers or freezer bags.
    • Label the containers with the date and freeze them.
    • Frozen soursop can be used later in smoothies, desserts, or other recipes.
  4. Juice and Nectar:
    • Extract the pulp from the fruits and strain it to remove any fibers or seeds.
    • Mix the pulp with water and sweeten it to taste, if desired.
    • Bottle the juice or nectar in sterilized containers.
    • Pasteurize the bottles by heating them in hot water for a specific duration to extend their shelf life.
    • Store the bottled juice or nectar in a cool, dark place or refrigerate them.
  5. Jam and Preserves:
    • Prepare the fruit pulp by removing the seeds and blending or mashing it.
    • Cook the pulp with sugar and lemon juice over low heat until it thickens to a desired consistency.
    • Pour the hot jam into sterilized jars, leaving some headspace, and seal them tightly.
    • Process the jars in a water bath canner for the recommended time to ensure proper preservation.
  6. Drying:
    • Peel the fruits and remove the seeds.
    • Slice the fruit pulp into thin pieces or chunks.
    • Arrange the slices on drying racks or trays.
    • Dry the fruit in a dehydrator, an oven set at a low temperature, or under the sun until it becomes leathery and dry.
    • Store the dried soursop in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

Areas of Cultivation in India

Soursop or Lakshman phal can be cultivated in various regions of India where the climate and growing conditions are suitable. Here are some areas known for soursop cultivation in India:

  1. Coastal Regions: Soursop thrives in coastal regions with a tropical climate. Areas such as the coastal regions of Maharashtra (including Konkan region), Goa, Kerala, and Karnataka provide favorable conditions for soursop cultivation.
  2. Northeastern States: Certain parts of Northeast India, including Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram, have suitable climatic conditions for soursop cultivation. The warm and humid climate of these regions is conducive to the growth of tropical fruit trees.
  3. Southern States: Soursop is grown in various parts of southern India due to the favorable climate. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana have regions where soursop cultivation is practiced. The tropical and subtropical climate of these states supports the growth of soursop trees.
  4. Andaman and Nicobar Islands: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, provide an ideal environment for soursop cultivation. The islands’ tropical climate, fertile soil, and high humidity make them suitable for growing a variety of tropical fruits, including soursop.
  5. Other Suitable Regions: Soursop cultivation is also practiced in certain pockets of other states in India, such as Gujarat, Odisha, West Bengal, and parts of central India. These regions may have localized pockets with suitable microclimates for soursop cultivation.

Market Potential Of Lakshmanphal in India

The market for soursop or Lakshman phal has been growing in recent years due to increasing awareness of its health benefits and unique flavor. Here are some aspects of the market for soursop fruit:

  1. Domestic Market: In India, soursop has a growing demand in the domestic market. It is consumed both fresh and in processed forms such as juice, nectar, jam, and desserts. The fruit is sought after for its distinct taste and potential health benefits. The domestic market primarily caters to local consumption, including households, restaurants, and juice bars.
  2. Export Market: Soursop has gained popularity in the international market as well. Export opportunities exist for fresh soursop fruits, dried soursop, soursop puree, and processed products. The fruit is exported to countries with a significant diaspora population from tropical regions, as well as to countries where soursop is gaining recognition for its health properties.
  3. Health and Wellness Industry: Soursop is increasingly recognized for its potential health benefits and medicinal properties. It is believed to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. This has led to a demand for soursop in the health and wellness industry, where it is used in the production of dietary supplements, herbal remedies, and natural health products.
  4. Juice and Beverage Industry: Soursop is popular in the juice and beverage industry due to its unique flavor. The fruit is used to make soursop juice, nectar, smoothies, and other beverages. Soursop-based beverages are marketed as natural and exotic options, appealing to health-conscious consumers looking for alternative flavors.
  5. Indigenous and Traditional Medicine: Soursop has a long history of use in traditional medicine in various cultures. Its leaves, bark, and roots are believed to have medicinal properties and are used in herbal remedies and traditional healing practices. The market for soursop-based traditional medicines exists, particularly in regions where such practices are prevalent.

As the demand for tropical fruits and healthy, natural products continues to rise, the market for soursop is expected to expand further. However, the specific market dynamics, pricing, and distribution channels may vary across regions and countries. It is important to conduct market research and understand the local market trends and consumer preferences before entering the soursop business.

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