Feijoa Pineapple Guava

The feijoa or pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) is a small, evergreen tree with attractive flowers and whitish-backed leaves. The plant is hardy to about 14 degrees F, so it is adapted to south Georgia. Severe freezes will kill the plant to the soil line, but it will regrow rapidly the following summer. Feijoas bloom in late spring and ripen in the fall. The fruit is egg-shaped and has green skin with a yellowish pulp. The fruit has a pineapple/spearmint flavor, and the flowers have fleshy edible petals. The petals are sweet, and many people enjoy them as much as the fruit. In some countries, birds eat the petals and help with cross-pollination.

Adjust the soil pH to 6.0 to 6.5 prior to planting, and plant the bushes 8 to 12 feet apart. Little is known about the fertilizer requirements of feijoa, but 1 to 2 ounces of 10-10-10 in March and July of the first year is suggested. Increase the amount by 1 ounce per application per year until the bushes are 8 years old; then use that amount for each application. Water as needed to keep the bushes growing.

Prune feijoas into small, single-stemmed trees. As the trees mature, remove selected branches to keep

the trees somewhat open and productive. Keep the top of the tree narrower than the bottom to increase light penetration.

Available varieties of feijoa include ‘Mammoth,’ ‘Triumph,’ ‘Coolidge,’

‘Apollo,’ ‘Gemini,’ ‘Nazemetz’ and ‘Trask.’ Most feijoas are partly self-pollinating but produce better crops if planted with three varieties for cross-pollination. In Georgia, feijoas appear to have problems with the transfer of pollen, since the blossoms are visited by a few insects and birds. Hand pollination by snapping off a recently opened blossom of

one variety and dusting it on the recently opened blossom of another variety may prove beneficial to increase fruit size and set.