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Strawberry Guava tree

Strawberry Guava tree

(Psidium cattleianum)


Strawberry Guava tree overview:

The strawberry guava is an attractive, carefree, drought-tolerant tree.  It produces abundant amounts of fruit throughout the year.  However, the fruit may be an acquired taste for some.

Strawberry Guava tree

Strawberry Guava fruit

Strawberry Guava fruit Taste:

  • I have read that the Strawberry Guava tastes like passion fruit mixed with strawberry.  However, I have personally never tasted any passion fruit flavor in any Strawberry Guava.  There is just not much tang/tart to Strawberry Guavas like you would expect from passion fruit.
  • However, the Strawberry Guava taste is reminiscent of a strawberry (Although a good strawberry tastes better than the best Strawberry Guava).
  • There are about 5 small hard yellow seeds in the fruit.  Some seeds are harder than others and the seeds seem to soften up a bit when the fruit is extra ripe.
  • Another approach to avoid the tannin flavor is to just avoid the skin all together. Take a tiny bite out of the side of the fruit and like a fruit eating vampire, suck the insides out.
  • However, on the down side, there is an astringent odd-tannin like flavor to the fruit that is hard to explain.  Most of that off-putting flavor is in the skin and that tannin flavor is less noticeable when the fruit is extra ripe.  If you want that extra ripeness, you will have to wait for the fruit to fall off the tree.  When you collect the fruit that has fallen on the ground, it will be a bit mushy to touch.  At this fallen stage the fruit looks less appealing but tastes less astringent.  For myself, I try to get the fruit just before it falls to the ground. For this, I look for the darkest fruit on a branch that easily detaches from a branch.
  • On the plus side the fruit is mildly sweet with a subtle fruity flavor.
  • Overall, the fruit is not my favorite fruit, but not the worst either.  None the less, some people just love the fruit.  Suum cuique (To each his own).
  • The yellow strawberry guava, (AKA) the lemon guava is a very similar plant which produces fruit without that astringent taste. I recently wrote an article on that tree if you are interested.  Here is the link to Lemon Guava Tree Care.


Strawberry Guava appearance

Strawberry Guava cut to show the inside of the fruit

Strawberry Guava fruit appearance:

  • When ripe, the Strawberry Guava fruit is maroon to dark red.
  • The fruit size ranges from the size of a dime to about half the size of a golf ball.
  • The flesh is yellowish-white with splashes of red-pink  dotted with several hard yellow seeds.
  • The skin is thin and easily bruised when the fruit is ripe.

Strawberry Guava Fruit Season:

I use to think the fruit season was April to May.  Although this may still be the main season in Southern California, I am now observing that the tree fruits whenever it wants to.  I usually get multiple crops throughout the warmer months of the year.


Strawberry Guava tree appearance

Strawberry Guava tree with dense foliage

Strawberry Guava tree in Landscaping:

  • Overall the Strawberry Guava is a medium sized tree or large bush with an average growth rate.
  • The Strawberry Guava has multiple small-to-medium sized almond shaped leaves.
  • The dense evergreen foliage makes this tree a great screen.  However, it is also an attractive tree on its own right.
  • The flowers are small white and relatively inconspicuous.
Strawberry Guava tree flower

Strawberry Guava flower


The Strawberry Guava is tolerant of many soil types.  However, like many fruit trees, it prefers at least some organic material. Well draining soil is a must.  Click here to go to my post on the 7  important  steps for tree planting success.



Water deeply about once a week for established trees.  Overall, I have noticed that an established Strawberry Guava tree is rather drought tolerant; the two trees I have here were surviving well without any irrigation when I arrived to the property.

However, regular deep irrigation during fruiting will improve the crop size and fruit flavor.  That being said, the main fruiting season is also the rainy season here in California so in my experience you can get away with ignoring an established tree if you want and it will probably be fine.  That being said, I do water my Strawberry Guava trees regularly.


Full to partial sun.  Fruits better in full sun.



Once a year (spring) with balanced fertilizer.



  • The Strawberry Guava is tolerant to a range of temperatures.  It has been said that it will survive temps down to 22F.
  • On the other side of the temperature spectrum, leaves will get scorched in desert heat.
  • For more information about the lowest temperatures that you can expect in your area, check out my article “Climate Zones: What can I grow in my yard?”


Strawberry Guava tree Pests:

  • The Strawberry Guava tree is relatively pest free. I have had no bug problems so far and I haven’t really done anything to the trees other than some fertilizer and drip irrigation.
  • Birds do like the fruit.
  • I suspect that gophers will eat the roots of this tree.  Therefore, I wold strongly suggest planting your tree in the safety of a gopher cage.  Click here for my easy DIY instructions on how to make a gopher cage.


Strawberry Guava fruit food uses:

  • Many people, including myself will just eat them right off the tree.
  • The fruit is also made into jams.
  • It is also used to flavor beverages, ice creams, and desserts.  (but watch out for those hard seeds).



  • The Strawberry Guava is native to Brazil.
  • In tropical areas the tree is known to be a highly invasive plant (especially in Hawaii).  However, I don’t know of any problems in California and I suspect the ground is too dry here to allow a seedling get started.
  • Psidium cattleianum named after English horticulturist Sir William Cattley.
  • The Strawberry Guava is AKA: Cattley guava, Peruvian guava, Red Strawberry Guava, Purple Guava.



About Thomas Osborne, MD

Dr. Osborne is a Harvard trained Radiologist and Neuroradiologist who loves to share his insight about medicine and gardening.


  1. i am intrest in strawberry guvav plant . so plz sent tha all ditles

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the note.
      The last part of your sentence is difficult to understand.
      Please try to send again and I will try to provide you with the information you are looking for.

  2. nice fruit,.,.,..,.,
    we want to buy this variety,.,.,.,.
    from where this can buy?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Thanks for the note Hamza.

      I dont sell trees, but I know a few places in San Diego that might be able to help.
      Where do you live?
      If you are not from San Diego and you provide your general location (town/city), then perhaps another reader can refer you to a nursery that could help you too.


  3. Hmmm hmm I just love this fruit. Reading this brought back tasty memories thanks.

    Also known as the “Cherry guava” in many countries which alludes to the size and colour of a ripe cherry more than anything else.

    For us the biggest problem was out smarting the birds who also love the fruit and have an uncanny eye for the sweetest, ripest fruit on the tree. They are just perfect when perfectly ripe and the birds know this too. Its a good indicator of the sweetest fruit if there are white peck marks on the fruits thin soft almost black skin. These blemished fruit are the best, dont worry about the little gashes these are the fruit to eat straight from the little tree. The smaller fruit tends to be the sweetest and they need full sun to ripen best.

    They also make the best jelly and jams! A colour and flavour unlike any other that works fantastically with meat and cheeses. For the clearest gem quality ruby jelly you need to slow filter possibly even over night depending on the quantity this also removes the relatively large hard round seeds. Add a little lemon juice to just balance the sweetness and the seeds of the lemon for the pectin. Absolutely delicious, if you like quince jelly you will really appreciate this one too though it hits much loftier tropical notes.

    Not at all watery like a strawberry (lol) but can be astringent and dry in the mouth unless absolutely ripe. It also doesn’t taste like a strawberry at all so dont expect it to. They taste like a guava smells but don’t smell like a guava does. So often guavas smell better than they taste not these.

    There is a yellow variety too but I find that one lacks the sophisticated flavours tending to be just bland sweet and the texture including the skin tends to be a rather grainy pasty snotty yuck in the mouth. As kids we avoided the yellow type even though the fruits are slightly bigger.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Anton
      Thanks for all the great additional info!
      and lol.. I have noticed the same things with those darn birds. They are unfortunately often the best indicator of optimal fruit ripeness.
      The jelly and ham info is great too.

  4. I would like to know the “growing zones” for Cherry Guava. I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

    • Phil that’s an interesting question. I was wondering the same. I’ve had one in the ground for a year or two in a very hot humid tropical zone of the world with dry cooler winters and it has been showing more inclination to grow through the cool season rather than the hot. So I’m almost tempted to say they prefer a cooler temperate climate than other guavas.

      When I was growing up they thrived in the African highlands happily taking light frosty mornings in winter, but the days rarely went bellow 10-15 % . High summer rainfall but not terribly humid.

      On Hawaii they grow up to 1300 meters altitude and bellow where they are a pest species apparently. So they obviously can take a fair amount of cool weather and some fairly tropical climates too though I’ve never seen them on the coast in the tropics personally.

  5. Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for the information about strawberry guava. I planted one strawberry guava tree in my backyard almost two years ago. It was flowering a few times during the year but only few fruit(around 10 fruit) really left on the tree for us to pick them up and eat last year. I live in San Francisco Bay area. Do you have any idea what I can do to promote it fruiting? Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi June
      Thanks for the great question.
      There are a lot of factors to consider.
      In my experience, a strawberry guava tree will not produce a lot of fruit when it is young.
      This just seems to be normal for this tree.
      Things that will promote fruiting include optimal growing conditions such as well draining soil, full sun, adequate watering (esp in the flowering-fruiting season), fertilizer and time.
      Based on what you have described, I would expect that the amount of fruit you harvest should as least double each year for the next few years.

  6. Hi! I live in Hawaii and I have a strawberry guava tree that is about 5-7 years old (got it as a sickly looking twig in a pot from a friend who was moving). Been nurturing it for the past few years and it keeps looking better and better as time passes, my favorite little tree I have right now! I have it growing in a very large container and it is definitely thrivingl!! I recently just did a major trim of a lot of the growing points and right now I have soooooo much new growth and the most fruit buds I have ever seen!! I do have a major problem with birds though. I’m hoping with the abundance of coming fruit I will have some left to enjoy. I also was wondering if a bird deterent, like one of those owl statues, would work…?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Loretta

      Thanks for the note.
      Controlling those birds is really important for many reasons.

      Unfortunately, the strawberry guava tree is a real problem in Hawaii; and is recognized by scientists and land managers as one of Hawaii’s worst invasive species. The seeds are primarily spread by birds and the trees that grow from those seeds are taking over native habitat. Yea, sorry to be the bringer of bad news, but this plant is bad news in Hawaii. See link about the strawberry guava tree invasive problem in Hawaii

      Keeping birds away:
      This is an issue with most fruiting plants.
      I have tried a lot of things but have had the most luck with mylar pinwheels and mylar bird scare tape. One of the keys to success it to only put up the scare devices when there is fruit. If you leave this stuff up for a longer time, then the birds seem to get useto it and it therefore doesnt work as well.

      You can sometimes get these mylar pinwheel in the toy section of big box stores, but you can also get them on line at places like Amazon.
      Rhode Island Novelty of 6″ Pinwheels, 12-Pack

      You might also be able to get the mylar bird scare tape at a local store, but you can also get them on Amazon as well.
      Bird B Gone MMFT-050 Flash Tape Bird Deterrent 1″ x 50 ‘, Pack of 1

  7. I have nursery in India and I M interested in different fruit plants. At present I m selling Thai guava and dragon fruit plants. Please provide me information from where can I get this plants or seeds.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hi Tushar
      Thanks for the note.

      I personally do not sell plants.
      Perhaps another reader can help you.

      In Hawaii, this plant can be invasive and therefore it could be a problem in other areas as well.
      As a result, I would also look into your countries importation laws before purchasing anything.

  8. Hi, i bought a few seeds of these tree online and plant them. Its been aprox 18 to 20 months and they are like 1 1/2 feet tall. I live in Puerto Rico, temperatures are between 85 celsius. i have them in partial sun and i thoug the will be taller. Did they groth that slow ? What recomendation do you have for me?
    Thanks in advance

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hola Kaly
      Thanks for the question.

      Strawberry guava should do well in Puerto Rico.
      In fact, in many tropical areas they grow so well that they are considered an invasive species.
      The biggest issue you might encounter is fruit fly’s getting to the fruit.

      As far as the speed of growth:
      The ones I have grow at a slow to moderate in speed.
      I think they would grow faster if I watered them more.
      However, I cut back on their watering because they are drought resistant plants when established and we are in a major drought here in Southern California.

      Sun light:
      These plants do very well in direct sunlight.
      Therefore, I would consider slowly increasing the amount of sun they get a day, with the eventual goal of full sun.
      The increased light may speed up growth.

      Plant them:
      Planting them in the ground may also speed up growth.
      Most plants (perhaps all plants) tend to grow slower when potted.
      This is for a variety of reasons and I would go on for paragraphs about it.
      Bottom line, if you carefully plant them in a nice spot, they will likely grow faster than they would in a container.

      Best of luck.

  9. In August of 2012, I happily had enough fruit to make a pitcher of Strawberry Guava coladas. So delicious! Funny thing is that I had to search on the internet to figure out what the plant was! I had obviously planted it at some point, but I had no record of what it was. I’m in southeast Louisiana and I’ve gone through many floods. This tree has thus far handled the flooding events just fine! I have a major problem getting the fruits though because of the birds. I’m interested in trying the mylar pinwheels and tape this year.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Liz
      Sounds like some awesome coladas.
      Thanks for the insight about the flooding, good to know.
      And yea, the birds do love the fruit too.

    • Liz that sounds scrumptious!

      Can you tell me how long yours took to fruit? I’ve had mine in the ground now for two years and its at last looking like a small though skinny woody tree. No fruit yet just a few flowers that fell off. I thought they would fruit from day one but…..not here anyway.

      I think Im going to have the same problem with birds here as we had when I was growing up, they eat everything even huge holes in my papaya’s. At night the flying foxes have a go and even one or two adventurous forest rats scale the tall trunks to eat fruit like the jackfruit. I will be happy with one or two anyway. Think the tortoises will gobble up any that actualy make it to the floor, they go mad for anything reddish.

      As long as someone is having a feeding frenzie thats fine by me!

      Aaah I just read Thomas’s reply above that answers my question, they dont fruit when young……little patience then.

      Thomas what fertiliser have you found to be the best?

      • I don’t really know how old my tree is, but I suspect that I probably planted it around the beginning of 2006. That would have it being 6 years old in 2012 when I got all the fruit. However, I’m pretty sure it fruited the year before, I just did not know what it was. I recall seeing the fruit and it was hard, not sure what color it was, and I wondered what it was. And then, it was all gone – thanks birds! My tree is still not large – only about 6 feet. All the animals running around your place sound wonderful!

    • nets do good from protecting from birds eat the fruit

  10. Ah! So that’s what my neighbor’s tree is! Neither one of us knew.

    I wish I had known what this fruit was sooner. I have developed a strong dislike for it because the tree has a huge portion that hangs over my back porch, dumping the ripe fruit onto my porch and surrounding area. The San Diego sun quickly turns it into ‘fruit mush’, which is fantastic for attracting flies who then fly into the house at every opportunity (e.g. a crack in the door or if I even think about walking outside- how do they know??). Last summer my house was filled with flies due to the ripe fruit right outside the door. Not cool flies, not cool.

    The tree must be ancient, because the tallest part is around 15-18′ tall.

    I’ll be cutting all branches off that dump the fruit in my backyard, but first I’ll taste it to see if I want to keep any. 😉

    Thanks for the article and solving the mystery for us!

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Your very welcome Jamie

      The Strawberry Guava fruit flavor is definitely not for everyone.
      They are not my favorite, but I like them better now than I did at first.
      A bit of an acquired taste.

      However, the fruit presents itself differently at various stages of development.
      (more sour/tart when firm and on the tree… More sweet a little later… getting soft around the time they fall from the tree on their own… and downright rank when the flies get to them). The skin is typically less pleasant in flavor at all stages.

      Interestingly, different trees will produce fruit that tastes slightly different and this doesn’t seem to be the result of growing conditions. I have 2 trees growing very close to each other and they taste very different.


  11. P.S. If you know anyone in San Diego who wants a free prolifically fruiting (6 months per year) strawberry guava tree with tons of fruit, let me know! (My neighbor doesn’t care about anything in her backyard and she told me I can cut it down). You dig, you haul, it’s yours.

  12. Hello,
    I have this bush for two years now and I purchased from the local nursery. The plant was a sick looking approx. 4′ tall in the container and I planted in sandy soil. Under full sun with limited water, I’m watering once a week (deep) in Southern California and they like the place (I have 2). The first year I got some guava but this year right now I have a lot (Aug). The fruits sizes are small but a taste is excellent. The bush has cycles of growing… First leaves after flowers and the fruits couple of times a year repeating…Growing pretty fast approx. 10-12 inches yearly. I would like to know what is the approx. max. size they will grow?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey Susie
      Thanks for the question.

      From my experience to date, their size is a bit variable.

      Here in Southern California, I have a mature tree that’s about 15 feet in height… and it doesnt seem to want to grow much more. However, right next to it is another mature strawberry guava that seems to have to be stuck at a lower threshold of about 8f.

      The US forest service site collaborates with my experience. They say that in Brazil the height ranges from 3-16 feet. I know, its a bit odd, but these plants seem to have some individuality (there is also variability in the flavor of their fruit).

      Anyhow, they seem to tolerate being trimmed pretty well, so that’s an option if you want to keep their height in check etc.


  13. hi,

    I have a 2 yrs strawberry guava tree. Every time that the tree has flowers, the flowers fall off from the tree. I have not been able to get any fruits at all, it is in a sun drained position. Can you please advise how to improve in getting fruits. Thanks.

    • Thomas Osborne, MD


      This could be difficult to diagnose over written text but with more info ill give it a shot… Or perhaps others could chime in.

      Few questions:
      How big is your tree (height,width), It is also loosing leaves, what kind of soil, usual temp, growing zone, in ground/container, adjacent plants, size of adjacent plants, any bugs on leaves, watering method, watering frequency, adjacent structures, what side of the house (North, South, etc)?


      • Thanks for your reply. The tree is 90cm high and 85cm wide. It is in ground, next to the fence on its own. There are no other adjacent plants, cannot see any bugs on leaves. Not loosing leaves, in fact have a few branches and starting to get more shoots. I water using a watering can Occasionally during winter and every other day during summer if hot otherwise 2-3 times a week. It is on the north side of the house. There seems to be a few people having the same problems when I googled it but there does not seem to be any response other that if the tree could be still young. I bought it 2 yrs ago from the nursery. I live in Melbourne, Australia.

    • Marie, ya they take quite awhile to start setting fruit in my experience. Initially they do abort flowers first few years untill the bush/tree reaches a certain size. If it’s been around for years then you might try some potassium when you notice buds. They also like chicken manure or something like 3 1 5, high potassium, citrus fert works well too.

      Mine previously took four years to start setting fruit, the trees weren’t particularily tall or wide either, quite slim, a little thing about six foot tall. When they start though they don’t stop, incredibly prolific fruiters. They are faster to fruit in tropical sub tropical warmer climates.

      Another thing that might be upsetting things is soil PH, they aren’t particularily fussy but if your soil is extreme the flowers will fall……and the leaves turn yellow and tend to do the same. They also like moist soil but not waterlogged soil. Try a mulch and rich compost, water well and often if dry around the root area.

      Otherwise you will just have to wait!

      • Thanks very much for your reply Anton. It is reassuring to know that other people do experience the same problem. And thanks for your advice.

        • No problem Marie. Have you ever grown citrus from seed? They have the same problem. Takes six to seven years to see a fruit. Guavas are the same, all of them. Its actually best to start from a grafted tree on good root stock or a cutting from an already fruiting tree. The grafted part (top) would be from already fruiting trees. This is how commercial growers do it. It’s quite complicated to explain but the short of it is this way they will start fruiting more or less immediately as the grafting stock is taken from a tree of fruiting age and stuck on healthy rootstock of any age.

          Unfortunately nursery growers for the domestic market didn’t choose to see this as a problem in Australia and sell little trees grown from seed. I also coincidentally bought my present trees from a garden centre in Australia while visiting relatives there. Sadly it looks like they were seed grown and not cuttings as I thought because its been four years and no fruit. In Australia they call them “strawberry guavas”. We always called then “Cherry guavas”.

          Your tree sounds perfectly healthy so I think you have the same problem. Mine also flowered this year and aborted the flowers which look quite small and weak anyway. The size of your tree is about the same as mine. It’s more about the years though unfortunately rather than the actual size.

          Now you’ve got it the pleasure will be even more rewarding when it eventually happens more or less five years from now! With the Strawberry guava it might hopefully be a little shorter but Im not holding my breath, it may in fact be longer. Though if you’re in a hurry find someone who has a fruiting tree and ask for a few cuttings, they aren’t that difficult to strike I believe. No one grows them around here sadly.

          Here is an excellent site I found for growing guavas,


          They advise stressing the tree to force fruiting, which is a bit drastic but nothing I wouldn’t consider if mine don’t fruit after six years! Unfortunately we have such heavy rain, force droughting the tree in summer here at least would be almost be impossible. You could, most definitely, but on a skiny two year old tree it might damage it to the point of no return.

          Im always surprised at what people can grow in Melbourne! I would’ve thought it was on average a bit chilly. I know someone in Tasie growing a strawberry Guava (same stock imported from the mainland by nurseries there) also not fruiting yet but healthy so I suppose why not….

          Growers for the nursery trade should definitely stop selling this novelty grown from seed, tricking people into think they will have instant strawberry guavas, it’s not fair trade! No where on the pretty label with delicious looking ripe SGs or interesting, attractive little purple plastic pot does it say “be prepared to wait seven years for your seed grown SG to bear fruit”. Growing from seed however is of course a lot easier and that’s why they do it. Pure charlatans.


  14. nice article.u guys should look into pineapple guava coolidge and namemetz.there’s differen varities.

  15. Boi imma get me one of these. tell more about other varieties ???? THANKS

  16. The fruit of my strawberry guava here in Hawaii is not ripening. The berries are about the size of a quail egg and have a brown look to them. They almost appear to be sunburnt and are dropping off of the tree. I haven t been able to find anything online that describes this problem. Can you help?

    • Thomas Osborne, MD

      Hey KLKemp
      Sorry to hear about your brown fruit.
      Is the fruit that drops hard…? or soft and brown inside?
      If it is soft and brown, the first thing I would think of is that you have some sort of bug larva in there such as fruit fly.
      If not, Ill have to think about it some more… Any additional features?

    • Hi KLKemp I recognised that problem immediately. What Im almost sure you are describing is Guava scabby canker, a fungal problem. The fungi mostly involved on Hawaii is Pestalotiopsis spp. (January 2006, Volume 90, Number 1
      Pages 16 – 23. Lisa M. Keith , Maile E. Velasquez , and Francis T. Zee , Tropical Plant Genetic Resource Management Unit, Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, USDA-ARS, Hilo, HI 96720)

      Is it the yellow form of Psidium cattleyanum? We ourselves very long ago had two trees right next to one another both bore fruit heavily, one was the dark red one and the other was yellow. The red one fruited and ripened normally but the yellow one did exactly what you describe. They did look sunburnt at first rather than ripe, sometimes the whole fruit was a hardish brownish colour other times just half the fruit or parts of it. Inside they were soft and quite ripe, sometimes slightly brownish like bruised, but the skin was horrible.

      This anecdotal evidence that it’s the yellow one only however might just be coincidence. But what is definitely true is that some Guavas are resistant, perhaps the red one more so than the yellow one but perhaps also not exclusively on Hawaii.

      You would have to contact your equivalent of an Agriculture and fisheries department to find out what is commonly used now as a cure by way of sprays or if they have resistant varieties of other guava. However Psidium cattleyanum is a noxious weed on Hawaii so you would probably get more help from a friendly Guava farmer.

      There was some successful invitro experimentation with chitosan as a safe alternative to synthetic fungicide for the problem of Guava scabby canker (the official name of the disease) on Hawaii though if this went mainstream I have no idea. (Vol 4, No 3 (2015), El-argawy – International Journal of Phytopathology).

      Anyway now you have a name you can find a solution of some sorts Im sure. Wet weather is mostly the culprit.

  17. i am intrest in strawberry guvav plant . so plz sent tha all details

    my whats app no: 9909268808
    please contact me as soon as possible

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