Feijoa sellowiana, Pineapple Guava, is an evergreen shrub native to Northern Argentina, Southern Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The plants are well adapted to sub tropical dry areas and can withstand a few degrees of frost. Plants in nature will reach up to 18 feet (5.5 m) tall. Leaves are elliptic-oblong to 3 inches (7.6 cm) long, green above and white-wooly beneath. Bark is light reddish brown at first, turning a darker reddish brown and peeling as the plants age. Plants are grown for their edible fruit with a guava-like flavor. The plant is relatively easy to grow and makes an outstanding container plant, hardy in the landscape in USDA zones 9-10.
Blooming: Flowers are solitary in leaf axils to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) across. The fleshy petals are white-tomentose outside and purplish within, with lots of dark red stamens. The fruit is an oblong berry, green tinged with red, reaching 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) long. Plants grown from seed will take 4-6 years to produce flowers and fruit. Flowers are very showy.
Culture: Feijoa sellowiana do best in full sun to light shade with a well drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix that consists of 2 parts peat moss to 2 parts loam to 1 part coarse sand. The plants are well watered and allowed to dry slightly before watering again. We fertilize them monthly with a balanced fertilizer. Watering of these plants is very critical; too much water will cause a lot of growth but at the expense of flower production. During the winter months, water is restricted to only enough to keep the leaves from dropping or shriveling. We move the plants to our cool room for this period where the nighttime temperature drops to 48°F (9°C).
Propagation: Feijoa sellowiana is propagated by cutting, layers and from seed. We started our plants from seed obtained at a local grocery. Seed was cleaned of all pulp and was surface sown. Seeds germinated in 21-30 days at 70°F (21°C). Seedlings should be kept in a shady area until they are at least 4 inches (10 cm) tall. They are then transplanted into larger containers.
Feijoa sellowiana was featured as Plant of the Week January 25-31, 2008.
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Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.