Feijoa sellowiana pineapple guava

Pineapple Guava

If gardening were an Olympic sport, pineapple guava might be a contender for best all-around shrub. This attractive evergreen can be grown throughout Florida and is a favorite for its attractive silvery foliage, unusual flowers, and edible fruits.

Characteristics

Pineapple guava was named a Florida Garden Select plant in 2009 by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. It can be grown anywhere in Florida and is especially suited for coastal area gardens because it tolerates salt spray. The plant is also commonly known as feijoa.

Pineapple guava can easily be pruned to form a dense hedge or trained into a small tree with a single trunk. Left unpruned, it can reach up to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide. For added interest, try training it as an espalier. The evergreen, egg-shaped leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and have silvery, slightly fuzzy undersides that often give the entire plant a slight bluish cast.

The flowers appear from April through May and are 1 to 2 inches across. The fleshy petals are white or a soft pink and the stamens are a striking burgundy. An extra perk is that the flowers are edible and can be added to salads and other dishes.

Between August and October, the egg-shaped fruits begin to mature and ripen, starting out gray-green and then turning a reddish-brown. They fall off the plant when they’re ready to eat, though they can be picked earlier and left to ripen on a kitchen counter. Some people liken the flavor of the fruits to that of guava, while others say that it’s closer to a minty pineapple. Eat them fresh by cutting them in half and scooping out the pulp, or turn them into a delicious jelly.

Pineapple guava is now known scientifically as Acca sellowiana, though some sources still refer to it as Feijoa sellowiana.

Planting and Care

Pineapple guava will grow in full sun to part shade and in a variety of soil types, though it prefers a slightly acidic soil. It does well with minimal pruning and care and typically won’t require much irrigation beyond normal rainfall. It has no major pest or disease problems.

Gardeners who want to enjoy fruit may wish to purchase one of the named self-fruiting varieties like ‘Coolidge’ that have shown to perform well in Florida. Pineapple guava can be grown from seed, but seedlings are slow growing and may not produce high quality fruit.

Also note that fruit set may be low in extreme southern Florida, since the plants fruit better when they’re exposed to cold temperatures for a certain period of time each winter. Extreme heat in summer may also cause them to drop fruit prematurely.

For more information on pineapple guava, contact your county Extension office.

Feijoa Pineapple Guava Info: Tips On Growing Feijoa Fruit Trees

One of the easiest fruits to grow, pineapple guava gets its name from the flavor of the fragrant fruit. Pineapple guava is ideal for small spaces because it’s a small tree that doesn’t need a second tree for pollination. Find out more about growing pineapple guava in this article.

What is a Feijoa Tree?

Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) is an attractive, evergreen tree or shrub with many landscape uses. It’s ideal for warm, western climates and well suited to home gardens. The plant grows 12 to 15 feet (3.5-4.5 m.) tall and wide. The edible flowers bloom in May, followed in late summer or fall by sweet, fragrant, reddish fruit that drops to the ground when ripe.

Feijoa fruit trees and shrubs look best when you prune them lightly. Clipping them into a formal shrub destroys their natural shape and reduces the fruit yield. It’s best to remove side branches that are less than 1 foot (.3 m.) off the ground. If you want to grow the plant as a tree rather than a shrub, remove the lower branches up to one-third of the tree’s height over a period of several years.

Feijoa Growing Conditions

Gardeners in warm, western climates will love growing pineapple guava for its delightful fragrance, attractive flowers, and tasty fruit. The tree is very easy to care for and requires very little pruning.

Although it is considered hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11, it can’t tolerate the high humidity of the Southeast. It withstands winter temperatures as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 C.). In fact, the fruit tastes better when the tree is exposed to some freezing temperatures.

Feijoa pineapple guava performs well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers rich, organic, well-drained soil with an acid or slightly alkaline pH. When the pH is too high, the leaves turn yellow. Newly planted and young trees need weekly watering in the absence of rain. As the tree matures, its drought tolerance increases.

Pineapple guava needs light fertilization every other month in most soils. Use about half the recommended amount of 8-8-8 fertilizer for the size of the tree. Scratch it into the surface of the soil and water deeply to distribute the fertilizer.

You’ll find plenty of uses for pineapple guava. It makes a dense informal hedge or screen that needs very little pruning. Use it as a container or specimen plant on patios and other places where you can enjoy the intense fragrance of the fruit. The plant provides cover for wildlife, and the flowers attract hummingbirds. Space the shrubs five feet apart for a barrier hedge and 3 feet (1 m.) apart for a foundation planting.

SelecTree: Tree Detail

General Notes

Utility friendly tree.

Strawberry Guava is grown as an evergreen shrub or small multi-trunk tree, for its attractive shiny foliage, pleasant fragrant flowers, and less often for its edible fruit, as a novelty (especially ‘Coolidge’ and ‘Nazemetz’). Once established, it does not require excessive care, other than occasional pruning to thin out excessive growth. The underside of leaves are white.

Has fragrant Flower.

Native to South America.

Family: Myrtaceae

Synonyms

Acca sellowiana

Additional Common Names

PINEAPPLE GUAVA, FEIJOA

Tree Characteristics

Rounded Shape.

Has Evergreen foliage.

Height: 18 – 25 feet.

Width: 18 – 25 feet.

Growth Rate: 24 Inches per Year.

Longevity Less than 50 years.

Leaves Oval, Glossy Medium Green, No Change, Evergreen.

Flowers Showy. Fragrant Purple, Red or White. Flowers in Spring. Has perfect flowers (male and female parts in each flower).

Gray or Mostly Green Berry, Large (1.50 – 3.00 inches), fruiting in Fall or Winter Edible.

Bark Light Green or Red Brown, Exfoliating or Scaly.

Shading Capacity Rated as Moderately Dense in Leaf.

Litter Issue is Wet Fruit.

Scientific name
Acca sellowiana (O. Berg) Burret
Pronunciation
fay-JOE-uh sell-oh-wee-AY-nuh 3
Common names
English: pineapple-guava; German: Feijoa; Portuguese: goiaba-do-campo, goiabeira-serrana; Spanish: falso guayabo, guayaba brasilera, guayaba chilena; Swedish: feijoa 4
Synonyms
Feijoa sellowiana f. elongata Voronova; Acca sellowiana var. rugosa (Mattos) Mattos; F. obovata (O. Berg) O. Berg; F. schenckiana Kiaersk.; F. sellowiana (O.Berg) O. Berg; Orthostemon obovatus O. Berg 10
Relatives
Blue grape, Myrciaria vexator, cattley guava, Psidium cattleianum; cherry of the Rio Grande, Eugenia aggregata; grumichama, E. brazileinsis; guava, P. guajava; jaboticaba, Myrciaria spp.; pitomba, E. luschnanthiana; stoppers, Eugenia spp. 7
Family
Myrtaceae
Origin
Native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay 1
USDA hardiness zones
8A-11, grows well in Central and North Florida
Uses
Fruit; ornamental specimen; hedge; screen 3
Height
10-15 ft (3-4.6 m)
Spread
10-15 ft (3-4.6 m)
Crown
Irregular; dense; rounded 3
Plant habit
Rounded, dense shrub 8; compact and erect or spreading 7
Growth rate
24 in. (61 cm) per season
Longevity
Less than 50 years
Trunk/bark/branches
Bark light green or red brown; exfoliating or scaly
Pruning requirement
Needed for strong structure 3
Leaves
Evergreen; stiff, shiny green above, light grayish-green underneath 8
Flowers
Thick white petals; scarlet stamens; edible 8; flowers in spring; has perfect flowers; showy
Fruit
Gray-green; oval; ripe fruit rarely found on bush, usually drops 8
Season
August to October 8
USDA nutrient content pdf
Light requirement
Partial sun or partial shade, full sun 3
Soil tolerances
Sand; loam; slightly alkaline; acidic; well-drained; well-drained
pH preference
5.5-7.0
Drought tolerance
High
Aerosol salt tolerance
High
Soil salt tolerance
Very good 8
Cold tolerance
Hardy to 14°F (-10°C) 8
Wind tolerance
Very sensitive to high wind.2
Roots
Not a problem
Invasive potential
It is not considered a problem species and may be used in Florida 3
Pest resistance
Free of pests or diseases of major concern 3
Known hazard
None known
Reading Material
Feijoa sellowiana: Feijoa, University of Florida pdf
Fact Sheet on the Feijoa, California Rare Fruit Growers
Feijoa sellowiana, Floridata
Feijoa, Fruits of Warm Climates
The Feijoa (Feijoa Sellowiana, Berg), Manual Of Tropical And Subtropical Fruits
Pineapple guava is now known scientifically as Acca sellowiana, though some sources still refer to it as Feijoa sellowiana.
Origin
The feijoa is native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay where it is common wild in the mountains.1
Description
Feijoa sellowiana, or Pineapple Guava, is a gray-green evergreen shrub or tree (depending on pruning) which produces small, tasty fruit in late summer and early fall. The plants can be pruned to form a hedge or a small tree and will withstand several degrees below freezing. 3
If gardening were an Olympic sport, pineapple guava might be a contender for best all-around shrub. This attractive evergreen can be grown throughout Florida and is a favorite for its attractive silvery foliage, unusual flowers, and edible fruits.
Pineapple guava was named a Florida Garden Select plant in 2009 by the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association. It can be grown anywhere in Florida and is especially suited for coastal area gardens because it tolerates salt spray. The plant is also commonly known as feijoa. It appears to be free of serious pests and diseases.1
It is a warm-temperate to subtropical plant that also will grow in the tropics, but requires at least 50 hours of winter chilling to fruit, and is frost-tolerant. When grown from seed, feijoas are noted for extremely slow growth during their first year or two, and young plants, though cold tolerant, can be very sensitive to high wind.2

Fig. 18

Leaves
The evergreen, egg-shaped leaves are 2 to 3 inches long and have silvery, slightly fuzzy undersides that often give the entire plant a slight bluish cast. 1

Fig. 4 Fig. 5

Flowers
The flowers appear from April through May and are 1 to 2 inches across. The fleshy petals are white or a soft pink and the stamens are a striking burgundy. An extra perk is that the flowers are edible and can be added to salads and other dishes. 1

Fig. 9 Fig. 10

Fruit
The fruit, maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor, which tastes like pineapple, apple and mint. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear, gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin.
Feijoa fruit has a distinctive, potent smell that resembles that of a fine perfume. The aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds that exist in the fruit. 2
Also note that fruit set may be low in extreme southern Florida, since the plants fruit better when they’re exposed to cold temperatures for a certain period of time each winter. Extreme heat in summer may also cause them to drop fruit prematurely.1
Varieties
Most varieties are grafted onto a rootstock, which tends to sucker. Regularly rub off suckers below the graft union.
Harvesting
Fruits ripen in 5-7 months. Between August and October, the egg-shaped fruits begin to mature and ripen, starting out gray-green and then turning a reddish-brown. They fall off the plant when they’re ready to eat, though they can be picked earlier and left to ripen on a kitchen counter. The fruit emits a strong long-lasting perfume, even before it is fully ripe.1
To be appreciated, this fruit must be eaten at the proper degree of ripeness. M. Viviand-Morel says, “Everyone knows that the finest pears are only turnips if eaten a trifle too soon or a trifle too late.” The observation is applicable also to the feijoa.5
Light pruning in the summer after fruit is harvested will encourage new growth and increase yields the following year. Thinning the plant also permits easier harvesting. 9
Pollination
Plant at least three varieties for proper cross pollination. 8
It has been said that feijoa pollen is transferred by birds that are attracted to and eat the flowers, but bees are the chief pollinators. Most flowers pollinated with compatible pollen show 60 to 90% fruit set. Hand pollination is nearly 100% effective. Two or more bushes should be planted together for cross-pollination unless the cultivar is known to be self-compatible. Poor bearing is usually the result of inadequate pollination. 9
Propagation
Gardeners who want to enjoy fruit may wish to purchase one of the named self-fruiting varieties like ‘Coolidge’ that have shown to perform well in Florida. Pineapple guava can be grown from seed, but seedlings are slow growing and may not produce high quality fruit.
When grown from seed, feijoas are noted for extremely slow growth during their first year or two.2

Seeds are separated by squeezing the seedy pulp into a container, covering with water, and letting the liquid stand for 4 days to ferment. The seeds are then strained out and dried before sowing. The seeds will retain viability for a year or more if kept dry. Germination takes place in 3 weeks. The plant fruits in 3 – 5 years from seed. 9
Planting
The feijoa requires little care beyond good soil preparation before planting. Subsequent cultivation is inadvisable because of the plant’s shallow, fibrous root system which should be left undisturbed. If planted for its fruit, fertilizer should be low in nitrogen to avoid excessive vegetative growth. It should be watered liberally during hot, dry spells.1
Pruning
It can be trained as a tree, a hedge or an espalier. The silver green foliage makes it a great scrub, small tree or topiary. It can be used as a focal point in the landscape or as a privacy screen.
Pineapple guava can easily be pruned to form a dense hedge or trained into a small tree with a single trunk. Left unpruned, it can reach up to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide. For added interest, try training it as an espalier (Fig. 16).
To train trees, prune right after harvest. Since the wood is brittle, keep branches with wide crotch angles and prune off ones with narrow angles. You can also trim plants during the growing season, but avoid shearing off flowers and developing fruit.1
Fertilizing
Fertilize trees once or twice during the growing season.
Irrigation
Although pineapple guavas are moderately drought tolerant, they need regular watering to produce high-quality fruit. Depending on your climate and soil type, give established trees a deep soaking every week or two during summer. Water young trees oftener and make sure you soak the rootball thoroughly.
Pests/diseases
No pests or diseases are of major concern
Food Uses
When preparing feijoas for eating or preserving, peeling should be immediately followed by dipping into a weak salt solution or into water containing fresh lemon juice. Both of these methods will prevent the flesh from oxidizing (turning brown). The flesh and pulp (with seeds) are eaten raw as dessert or in salads, or are cooked in puddings, pastry fillings, fritters, dumplings, fruit-sponge-cake, pies or tarts, or employed as flavoring for ice cream or soft drinks. Surplus fruits may be peeled, halved and preserved in syrup in glass jars, or sliced and crystallized, or made into chutney, jam, jelly, conserve, relish, sauce or sparkling wine. 6
The thick petals are spicy and are eaten fresh by children and sometimes by adults. The petals may be plucked without interfering with fruit set. 6
Eat them fresh by cutting them in half and scooping out the pulp, or turn them into a delicious jelly.1

Fig. 20 Fig. 21 Fig. 22

Fig. 20. Feijoa pannacotta at Vino Vino. The wonderful world of Feijoa in dessert, in vodka, all over the place.
Fig. 21. Guava pineapple. Refreshing!
Fig. 22. Spiced Pineapple Guava (Feijoa) Chutney
Other Uses
The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. 2

The wood is moderately heavy, compact, elastic, splits easily, very durable even in adverse conditions. It can be used for small works, posts, stays etc. The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal. 11
Further Reading
Feijoa (Feijoa sellowiana), Neglected Crops
Feijoas, Sub-tropical Fruit Club of Qld Inc.
Hand Pollinating Video ext link.
Florida Crop/Pest Management Profile: Guava and Wax Jambu, University of Florida pdf 5 pages (archived)
The New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association ext link.
Pineapple Guava Botanical Art
List of Growers and Vendors

Gardening : No Hedging: Pineapple Guava Rates Best

If asked to name the most rewarding shrub in my yard, I could give an instant answer–the pineapple guava. It is a beautiful evergreen shrub that bears delectable fruit and makes a marvelous privacy hedge because it can be pruned radically. And best of all, once established, it thrives on neglect.

The pineapple guava, Feijos sellowiana , is not a true guava and will tolerate much harsher climatic conditions than its namesake. It is widely adapted to Southern California climatic zones. Its ability to survive a temperature range of 10 degrees to 110 degrees makes the pineapple guava the hardiest of the subtropical fruits.

Well Received

In the last few years, the fruit of the pineapple guava has made an appearance in specialty produce markets where it is sold as feijoa and has been well received by shoppers. A recent issue of California Grower reports that commercial plantings of the fruit are occurring at various locations around the state.

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If you’ve never sampled the grayish-green fruit of the pineapple guava, it has amber-colored flesh that is aromatic and juicy. The flavor might be described as pineapple-like, with papaya overtones. It is delightful for eating fresh; simply slice the fruit open and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh. The fruit also makes marvelous jellies and jams.

The shrub itself has glossy medium-green to gray-green leaves, which are silvery-white underneath. From a distance, the coloring would be similar to an olive tree. It blooms in May or June and produces exotic blossoms with large, white, fleshy petals that feature brilliant red stamens covered with golden pollen. The sweet petals are edible and lend a gourmet touch to salads. The fruit are egg-shaped and range in length from 1 to 4 inches and are usually borne in huge quantities. They ripen five to six months after blossoming and drop to the ground when fully ripe.

The shrub offers many options as to training. It may be shaped to a small, multitrunk patio tree or a thick privacy hedge, a background shrub or espalier plant. If left unpruned, the pineapple guava will obtain a height of 15 to 20 feet; however, it can be maintained as low as 3 or 4 feet. Pruning should occur in late winter but it may be trimmed at any time.

The pineapple guava likes a sunny location but will tolerate partial shading. As to soil, it will thrive in a good, well-drained soil, but it also will make acceptable growth in all but the most soggy of soils.

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Pineapple guavas should be grown from container plants. There are a number of varieties, some of which require cross-pollination with another cultivar and some of which are self-fruitful.

Coolidge is the most widely available variety. It does not require another variety as a pollinizer and produces heavy crops of small fruit. Nazemetz produces large fruit of superior flavor. It is also self-fruitful. Trask produces large fruit of fine flavor and is sterile without a pollinizer. Nazemetz makes a good pollinizer for Trask. Pineapple Gem is a reliable producer of smaller, tasty fruit.

The plants should be planted 2 to 4 feet apart if utilized for a small hedge or 4 to 6 feet apart if grown as a large privacy screen or planted individually as a small tree. Set the plants at the same level they were in the nursery container. A light application of a timed-release fertilizer at the time of planting will help get them off to a fast start.

Health Shrubs

Water during the transplanting process and then two times a week for the first six weeks. Water deeply on a 7- to 10-day schedule, depending upon water-holding capabilities of your soil. In a couple of years, when the shrubs become well-established, a deep monthly watering will suffice. The pineapple guava has amazing drought-tolerance capabilities and, when an older plant’s roots reach deeply in the soil, it can go for extended periods without irrigation; however, this isn’t a good practice.

Fertilize in early spring with a general-purpose fruit tree fertilizer or slow-release fertilizer tablets. The pineapple guava is almost pest-free and requires no insect control.

The fruit should be allowed to ripen on the plant and drop to the ground when fully ripe. Gather the fruit from the ground and refrigerate to avoid spoilage. If planted in desert areas, the pineapple guava may not produce fruit.

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