Pineapple Guava

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Pineapple guava (8 ft. H x 8 ft. W) at the SC Botanic Garden, Clemson.

The pineapple guava (Acca sellowiana), formerly known as feijoa, is a small, subtropical evergreen tree that’s hardy to about 10 degrees F. In tropical regions it can reach a height of 10 to 15 feet with an equal spread, but in warm temperate areas like ours, expect it to grow 8 to 10 feet high and wide. It’s cultivated for its extraordinary flowers, which are about 2 inches wide and have white sepals arching downward to reveal bright red petals with white margins. In the center of each flower is a cluster of bright red stamens tipped with tipped with g

olden pollen. The green round to egg-shaped fruits, which mature into 2 to 4 inch long blue-green to grayish-green berries, can be harvested in late summer and fall.

Besides the flowers, I’m also enamored with its dense rounded habit and lustrous, almost bluish-green leaves. When breezes lift and turn the leaves over, admire their fuzzy-white pubescent undersides.

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Close-up of pineapple guava berries the first week of July at the SC Botanic Garden.

Besides the flowers, I’m also enamored with its dense rounded habit and lustrous, almost bluish-green leaves. When breezes lift and turn the leaves over, admire their fuzzy-white pubescent undersides.

Besides purchasing it from a reputable nursery, you can also root cuttings of self-fertile cultivars, such as ‘Coolidge’ or ‘Nazemetz.’  ‘NCSU Hardy‘ is a more cold hardy species introduced by NC State University. Expect rooted cuttings to bear fruit in two or three years, whereas seedlings may take four years or more to bear.

Pineapple guava needs a well-drained soil, with a pH between 6 to 6.5.  It also needs to be mulched and watered during dry spells to prevent fruit drop.  They have few, if any, pest problems.  For more information about pineapple guavas, see “Fruit Facts” at the California Rare Fruit Growers web site (www.crfg.org/pubs/frtfacts.html).

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