Pop Quiz Answer: Pineapple Guava

Fruit forming. photo credit: Kurt Stüber, via Wikimedia Commons

Yes indeed, as so many of you guessed, that was a picture of our pineapple guava. For those of you who haven’t seen one, meet the pineapple guava, aka feijoa or Acca sellowiana: a small, evergreen tree or shrub that bears tasty green fruits which have a Jolly Rancher-like flavor. The fruit form off of flowers that taste like cotton candy. The trick is not to eat too many flowers or you end up with no fruit.

It shouldn’t be confused with regular guava, as it tastes much better. In my opinion.

Pineapple guava has pretty silver grey foliage, evergreen foliage, as I said, so can make a really nice addition to the landscape. I’ve heard of folks planting them in rows to form a hedge. It’s a great plant for small spaces. The fruit forms late in the year, which is also nice, since so few other fruit trees bear so late.

But yes, I’m sorry, like so many things we mention here it is plant that prefers a warm climate. It’s hearty to 12 degrees, and generally recommended for zone 8 and up, though I think some people have successfully grown it in colder places with special care. But when grown in a climate which is comfortable for it, the pineapple guava is a really sturdy, easy plant. We utterly ignore ours. It gets some of our laundry greywater once in a while.  That’s about it in terms of care. It doesn’t seem prey to insects or other ailments. All we have to concern ourselves with is keeping the birds and squirrels away from the fruit–which we do by netting the tree.

Okay, next quiz is going to be really hard…

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  1. I’d much rather eat the flowers any day. the fruits give me an upset stomach. this is one of those zero input crops for our region.

  2. Not that it’s *that* far out of range, but they do just fine here in Athens, Ga (7B);they’re used as low-maintenance landscape plants here too. I didn’t know you can eat the flowers too, that’s exciting news.

  3. I love feijoas..they sell them for $2.49 per fruit….I am in NC and B/c I love them I will now try to grow one…Thanks for the info.

  4. From what I understand, you’re fine as long as you only eat the petals of the flowers. They should still be able to set fruit. I don’t know if their removal makes it harder for the bees to locate them, though.

    The nursery also advised us to be sure to get two plants, preferably from different places. They are cloned so buying two from the same place may get you two pretty plants but no fruit production. One can also check the leaves to find two plants with slightly different looking leaves to avoid having clones.

  5. I had a Pineapple Guava tree in my front yard in high school. It was so delicious – we ate them constantly. Just cut them in half and scoop them out with a spoon. Great memory!

  6. I’ll second that eating flower petals does not destroy chances of fruit set. In at least part of their native range they are pollinated by a bird that eats the petals.

  7. i hand polinate my tree but the birds eat the red center of the flower.then i don’t have any fruits. help… how do i prevent this!

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