Evergreen, Edible fruit, Shrubs, Trees
South American native. Hardiest of the so-called subtropical fruits. Normally a large multistemmed plant; reaches 18–25 ft. with equal spread if not pruned or killed back by frosts. Can take almost any amount of training or pruning (late spring is the best time) to shape as an espalier, a screen, a hedge, or a small tree.
Oval, 2–3-in.-long leaves are glossy green above, silvery white beneath. Blooms in spring, bearing unusual inch-wide flowers with big central tufts of red stamens and four fleshy white petals tinged purplish on inside; blossoms attract bees and birds. Flowers are edible and can be added to fruit salads or used for jams and jellies. The plant is drought-tolerant, but give it regular water for best fruiting.
Fruit ripens 4 to 5 1/2 months after flowering in the warmest regions, 5 to 7 months after bloom in cooler areas. Oval, grayish green, 1–4-in.-long fruit has soft, sweet to bland pulp with flavor somewhat like pineapple. The best way to harvest is to wait until the first fruit drops, then spread a tarp underneath and give the tree a shake. Repeat every few days. Fruit is sometimes sold in markets; it may be labeled “feijoa” or “pineapple guava.”
Improved varieties ‘Beechwood’, ‘Coolidge’, ‘Mammoth’, ‘Nazemetz’, and ‘Trask’ are self-fruitful, although cross-pollination will produce a better crop. Single plants of seedlings or other named varieties may require cross-pollination.
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