(Feijoa sellowiana or sometimes referenced as Acca sellowiana)
Pineapple Guava Tree Overview:
This is one of the best and under-appreciated fruit trees for Southern California. The fruit is delicious and the flowers are also edible to boot! Even if the Pineapple Guava tree did not bear fruit, this evergreen, drought tolerant and disease free tree would be a great addition to any garden.
- The Pineapple Guava fruit is ovoid in shape and flat/dull green in color.
- When hanging on the tree the fruit is easily camouflaged by adjacent leaves. The skin of the fruit has a flat dusky sheen that becomes shinny with a little handling.
- Even though this fruit is not technically a guava, the fruit looks so similar to a guava that it has been given that common name.
- The fruit size is variable but usually ranges from 1.5 to 3 inches long depending on growing conditions and variety.
- The fruit emits a lovely perfume and smells delicious.
- To me the flavor reminds me of juicy fruit gum with a bit more tang and less sweet.
- However, the fruit gets its common name because many people think the fruit taste like pineapple. I personally think this is a subtle similarity. Others have added that they taste a bit of a strawberry flavor in the Pineapple Guava, which to me is a stretch. Others have described a mint flavor, but honestly, I have never tasted a hint of mint flavor in the Pineapple Guava fruit.
- The texture is smooth and a little gritty- like a pear, but not as soft. There are seeds in the fruit (which is likely part of that subtle gritty texture) but they are barely noticeable.
- The skin is inedible; at least as far as I know.
- The flowers are also edible and quite tasty.
- The flower petals are pink-red on the inside and white on the outside.
- The petals are somewhat thick but melting to eat and have a mild sweet flavor with a dash of cinnamon.
- Picking the petals will not affect fruiting.
- Flowers have been blooming for me around June and July.
- One of the great things about this plant is that it fruits in the late fall-early winter when many other fruits are no longer producing. Specifically, fruits have become ripe for me around October to December.
- The fruits will drop to the ground on their own when they are ready. If you pick them off the tree, it will likely be too early and the fruit will be unpleasantly sour and tough.
- In my experience, the fruit often needs an extra day or two on the kitchen counter to fully ripen. When the fruit is optimally ripe, it will give somewhat when pressed and sometimes the skin color will lighten. However, this color change is subtle and if you wait too long the fruit tastes terrible.
- Plants will fruit from 3 to 5 years after sprouting from seed. However, after transplanting the plant from a nursery grown potted plant, it usually takes about a year to fruit. Fruit is born on young wood.
- I planted several Pineapple Guava trees on a curved slope just above a flat pathway. The orientation is such that when the fruits drop from the different trees, they all roll to the same central location for a very easy harvest.
- Not all cultivars are self fruitful and some require another plant for adequate pollination and fruit set.
- It seems that the Pineapple Guava’s natural tendency is to grow as a shrub. Ok, the plant is actually categorized as a bushy shrub.
- However, I train all of my Pineapple Guava plants as medium sized trees, and that’s how I like to think of them. Sorry to all you purists out there.
- The Pineapple Guava can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide… Which is a darn big bush if you are in that naming camp.
- The plant has pale-gray and light brown flaky bark. The leaves are dark green oval and leathery. The leaves are smooth and glossy on the top and velvety-silver on the bottom. It’s quite a lively looking plant.
- One of the most important factors for Pineapple Guava care is providing well draining soil.
- Some have reported that the Pineapple Guava is not picky about the soil. However, I have tried several different mixtures with my trees and it is clear that Pineapple Guava trees do much better when planted with organically augmented soil. Please see my earlier post on my best planting technique.
- The Pineapple Guava tree is somewhat drought tolerant. However, it will drop its leaves if it gets too dry.
- This is especially problematic during a hot spell if the tree is not aggressively watered.
- The best Pineapple Guava care will include regular-diligent deep watering, which will also improve fruit production.
- Will tolerate partial shade, but fruiting will be compromised.
- I haven’t seen much literature Pineapple Guava care and fertilization.
- However, I have been fertilizing the tree with about a half dose of what I give my citrus trees and it seems to be working well.
- The Pineapple Guava tree does best in a non-humid Mediterranean type climate. Therefore, much of Southern California is rather perfect for the Pineapple Guava. However, as you could imagine, coastal areas with a dominant marine layer are suboptimal.
- The plant also prefers a region where the weather is cool for part of the year and needs at least 50 hours of chilling time.
- Chilling time definition: Time away from work that is often spent with friends.
- Chilling time is also defined as the number of hours when the temperature is below 45º F (7 °C).
- The tree is relatively cold tolerant and can withstand temperatures down to 12º to 15º F (-11.11º-9.44º C).
- 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?”
- This tree is basically (and amazingly) pest free.
- However, scale has been reported to be a problem for some, but I have not noticed that yet.
- Fruit flies apparently love the fruit, especially in Florida, but I have not seen that problem yet either.
- The skin is inedible; I like to cut the fruit like a watermelon and bite out the inside. Others like to cut the fruit in half (the other way) and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
- The surface of the cut flesh will quickly turn brown if not eaten right away. However, this can be avoided by dipping in lemon juice.
- Apparently, Pineapple Guava fruit is also used for all kinds of deserts including, puddings, pastry fillings, fritters, dumplings, fruit-sponge-cake, pies tarts, ice cream and soft drinks. The fruit is also made into chutney, jam, jelly, and relish.
- AKA: Brazilian guava, fig guava, guavasteen, New Zealand banana
- Native to the mountains of South America (southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay).
- Feijoa sellowiana Pronunciation: fay-JOE-uh sell-oh-wee-AY-nuh