How to Grow and Care for Pineapple Guava

Pineapple guava trees produce tasty fruit with a guava-like appearance and taste. It sometimes goes by the name feijoa pineapple guava or Acca sellowiana.

The tree is different from the true guava tree known as Psidium guajava. But both belong to the Myrtaceae family.

You can grow pineapple guava as a small tree or a multi-stemmed shrub. It has oval silver-green leaves that remain as an evergreen shrub.

In spring, vibrant flower petals appear in pink or white, surrounded by spiky red stamens. The blossoms attract pollinators to birds that enjoy the flower petals.

The fruit-production tree is a slow-growing shrub ideal for containers and small spaces. You can grow pineapple guava as a dense hedge. It also has a compact growth habit ideal for tight spots.

Plant Name: Acca sellowiana

Other Name: Pineapple Guava, Feijoa

Plant Type: Perennial, Tree, Shrub, Fruit

Native Areas: South America

Light Requirement: Full sun to partial shade

Watering: Moderate

Fertilizer: Well-balanced fertilizer

Toxicity: Non-toxic

Temperature: Average summer temperatures

Propagation: Softwood cuttings

Growth: 20 feet tall and wide

Soil Type: Loamy well-draining soil

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8-10

Pineapple Guava Care

pineapple guava fruits

Growing pineapple guava fruit is not too difficult. The pineapple guava plants are low maintenance and resistant to diseases and pests. You may encounter some problems with fruit flies or black scales.

Still, pineapple guavas are vulnerable to wind, and it helps to provide them with protected locations. Another note is that many 🍍 pineapple guava varieties are considered self-fertile, but it helps to plant a second tree to help with cross-pollination.

Where needed, you can hand-pollinate two trees, and the pineapple guava flowers appear in spring, followed by fruit that ripens in the fall. The feijoa sellowiana fruit is full of Vitamin C and is a favorite fruit for many.

The pineapple guava fruit is two to three inches long with an oblong shape and green. The tree has green leaves, and the fruit tastes like kiwi, guava, banana, and pineapple. Another notable thing is that the tree is not only for the fragrant fruit but also for edible flowers.

Young pineapple guava plants can take a few years before they fruit, and ripe fruit will fall to the ground.

Feijoa Soil

well-draining soil for pineapple guava

The evergreen tree prefers well-drained soil that does not become soggy. They are sensitive to soggy conditions, so ensuring good drainage is crucial. The pineapple gem thrives in slightly acidic soil to neutral soil with a soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.

Adding organic matter to the soil, such as aged compost or well-rotted manure, can improve soil structure and fertility. This is beneficial for growing pineapple guava as they appreciate nutrient-rich soil. Applying a layer of mulch around the base of the pineapple guava shrub helps retain moisture.

It will also help regulate soil temperature and reduce weed competition. Organic mulch, like wood chips or straw, works well. Feijoa pineapple guavas don’t do well in heavy clay soils that can become compacted and poorly drained.

Avoid clay-heavy soils; consider amending them with organic matter to improve drainage.

Light

pineapple guava under full sun to partial shade

When it comes to pineapple guava fruits, they thrive in areas with full sun to partial shade. Ideally, they should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. This is particularly important for fruit ripening.

While pineapple guava fruits can tolerate shade, they produce the best fruit when they receive plenty of sunlight. Adequate sunlight helps in the formation of flowers and the subsequent development of fruit.

In regions with hot and intense sun, providing some afternoon or dappled shade during the hottest part of the day can be beneficial, especially during summer.

This can prevent sunburn on the leaves and fruit. While pineapple guava can tolerate partial shade, it’s crucial to avoid planting them in deep or dense shade, leading to poor fruit production, weaker growth, and a low-quality fruit harvest.

Consider the orientation of your planting area. In America, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, south or southeast-facing locations often receive the most sunlight throughout the day, which can be ideal for pineapple guava trees.

When planting multiple pineapple guava trees, ensure they are spaced adequately to allow for good air circulation and sunlight penetration to all parts of the tree.

Watering Pineapple Guava Fruit Tree

Properly watering pineapple guava (Feijoa) fruit trees is crucial for their growth, production, and overall health. Pineapple guava trees require regular and consistent watering during the first year after planting to help them establish their root systems.

Water deeply once a week, providing enough moisture to keep the soil evenly moist but not waterlogged. Apply a layer of mulch around the tree’s base to help retain soil moisture and regulate soil temperature. Mulch also helps reduce weed competition.

You can reduce the watering frequency for mature evergreen shrubs after it is established. When you water, provide a deep soak rather than shallow, frequent watering. This stimulates the roots to grow deeper into the soil, making the tree more resilient to drought.

You may need to increase the watering frequency during prolonged dry weather or drought. Be mindful of the tree’s water needs during these times.

Pineapple guava trees are sensitive to soggy soil. Ensure the planting site has good drainage to prevent water from pooling around the roots. Pay special attention to watering during the fruit development stage. Consistent moisture is essential for proper fruit formation and growth.

During the dormant winter months, pineapple guava trees require less water. Reduce watering frequency but ensure the soil doesn’t completely dry out.

Temperature and Humidity

temperature and humidity of pineapple guava

Pineapple guava plants (Feijoa) is a versatile fruit shrub that can withstand temperatures down to about 10°F (-12°C). It can also tolerate occasional frosts. In warmer climates, it thrives but can withstand high temperatures in hot summers.

The ideal temperature range for pineapple guava is between 60°F to 80°F (15°C to 27°C) during the growing season. It can tolerate temperatures outside this range but may not perform as well. Pineapple guava prefers moderate humidity levels.

While it can adapt to various humidity conditions, it thrives in areas with 40-60% relative humidity. Once established, pineapple guava is considered drought-tolerant. It can handle periods of lower humidity without significant stress.

Yet, during extended dry spells, supplemental watering may be necessary. Adequate humidity during the flowering and fruit development stages is essential for successful fruit production. Dry, low-humidity conditions during this time may result in fallen fruit and early ripening.

In regions where frost is a concern, consider protecting during bloom and fruit-set periods to maintain fruit quality.

Feijoa Shrub Fertilizer

slow release fertilizer for pineapple guava

Fertilizing your feijoa pineapple guavas helps to produce fruit. You can use a well-balanced feed in early spring when active growth begins.

Use a balanced, slow-release granular fertilizer with an N-P-K (Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium) ratio of around 10-10-10 or 14-14-14. This provides essential nutrients for overall plant health and fruit production.

Organic fertilizers like well-rotted compost or composted manure can also benefit feijoa shrubs. They improve soil fertility and provide a steady release of nutrients. Distribute the fertilizer evenly around the base of the feijoa, starting a few inches away from the trunk and extending to the drip line (the area under the outermost branches).

Water thoroughly after applying fertilizer to help nutrients penetrate the root zone. Feijoa pineapple guavas benefit from annual fertilization in early spring. Nonetheless, you can monitor the shrub’s growth and appearance to determine if additional feedings are needed.

Pruning

Pruning pineapple guava shrubs is an integral part of their care and maintenance. Proper pruning helps control the shrub’s size and shape, encourages healthy growth, and can improve fruit production.

The best time to prune pineapple guava shrubs is in late winter to early spring, just before new growth begins. This period ensures you don’t interfere with developing new pineapple guava flowers and fruit. Use sharp and clean pruning tools like hand or loppers to make clean cuts.

Disinfect tools with rubbing alcohol before and after pruning to prevent the spread of diseases. Start by identifying and cutting out any dead or diseased branches. These can harbor pests and diseases and should be removed entirely.

Thin out crowded areas by selectively removing some of the branches. This helps improve air circulation and sunlight penetration. Prune back branches to get the desired shape and form. You can even give it an inverted umbrella shape.

The fruit tree can be shaped into a single-trunk tree or a multi-stemmed shrub, depending on your preference. You can prune back some older, non-productive branches to encourage new growth and fruiting wood.

The fruits develop on new growth, and removing older branches helps stimulate new growth. Remember that tree fruits are on new growth, so avoid removing too many young branches where fruiting occurs. Another notable thing is the fruit tree has shallow roots.

Pineapple Guava Propagation

Pineapple guava can be propagated through several methods, including seed, cutting, and layering. Each method has its advantages and is suited to different situations. Here’s a guide on how to propagate pineapple guava:

Propagation from Seeds:

  1. Pineapple guava seeds can be collected from ripe fruit. When fruit ripens, remove the seeds.

  2. Rinse the seeds to remove the slightly gritty pulp.

  3. Allow the seeds to air dry for a day or two.

  4. Plant the seeds in seed-starting trays or small pots filled with well-draining potting mix.

  5. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.

  6. Keep the soil moist but not soggy.

  7. Place the trays or pots in a warm, well-lit area.

  8. Germination typically takes 2 to 6 weeks.

  9. Transplant the seedlings into larger pots when they have developed several leaves and are large enough to handle.

  10. Once the seedlings are well-established and have grown to a suitable size, they can be planted outdoors in their permanent location.

Propagation from Cuttings:

Propagating pineapple guava from cuttings is a common and reliable method.

  1. Take cuttings when the shrub grows in late spring or early summer.

  2. Choose healthy, non-flowering shoots that are around 6 inches long.

  3. Cut just below a leaf node.

  4. Remove the lower leaves to expose the node.

  5. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone (optional, but can improve success rates).

  6. Plant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix or directly in the ground.

  7. Water the cuttings and cover them with a plastic bag or plastic wrap to create a mini-greenhouse effect.

  8. Place the cuttings in a bright, indirect light location.

  9. Keep the soil consistently moist. Roots should develop in 4 to 8 weeks.

  10. Once roots have formed, transplant the cuttings to their permanent location in well-drained soil.

Propagation from Layering:

Layering is another method to propagate pineapple guava. It involves bending a low-growing branch to the ground and encouraging it to root before severing it from the parent plant.

  • Select a flexible, low-hanging branch close to the ground in early spring.

  • Remove a small section of bark (about 1 inch) from the middle of the branch.

  • Dust the exposed area with rooting hormone.

  • Dig a shallow trench in the soil where you want the new plant to grow.

  • Bury the wounded part of the branch in the trench, securing it in place with a small stake.

  • Water the area and keep it consistently moist.

  • Roots should form over several months.

  • Once the new plant has developed strong roots, it can be severed from the parent plant and transplanted.

Overwintering

Overwintering this evergreen plant is done in colder regions to protect them during the winter.

In late fall, before the first frost, apply a thick layer of organic mulch, such as straw or wood chips, around the base of the pineapple guava shrub. This mulch will help insulate the root zone and keep it from freezing.

Water the evergreen plant deeply before the ground freezes to ensure it enters winter with adequate moisture. After the shrub has gone dormant and leaves have fallen in late fall or early winter, prune the pineapple guava slightly to remove any dead or weak branches.

This will help reduce the risk of damage from snow and ice accumulation. If you anticipate heavy snowfall or ice accumulation in your area, consider wrapping the shrub with burlap or a frost blanket to protect it from the weight of snow and ice.

Be sure to secure the wrapping material in place. If strong winds are a concern in your area, consider erecting a temporary windbreak, such as a burlap screen or wooden barriers, to shield the shrub from harsh winter winds.

If you have pineapple guava trees in containers, move them to a protected location, such as a garage or unheated greenhouse, where they can stay dormant during the winter. Ensure they receive occasional water to prevent the roots from drying out completely.

Types of Pineapple Guavas

Pineapple guava has several varieties and cultivars of pineapple guava, each with slightly different characteristics in flavor, fruit size, and hardiness. Here are some common types of pineapple guavas:

  • Feijoa ‘Apollo’ is a popular cultivar known for its large fruit. The fruit is typically larger than the standard, with a sweet and aromatic flavor. It’s a favorite among growers for its productivity.

  • Feijoa ‘Mammoth’ are known for their colossal fruit size. They can produce fruit that’s nearly twice the size of standard feijoas. The flavor is sweet and aromatic.

  • Feijoa ‘Coolidge’ is a cold-hardy feijoa cultivar that tolerates temperatures lower than other varieties. It produces medium-sized fruit with a sweet and pleasant flavor.

  • Feijoa ‘Pineapple Gem’ is known for its sweet and aromatic fruit. The fruit is medium-sized and has a distinct pineapple-like flavor.

Common Problems

Pineapple guava is a hardy and low-maintenance plant, but like any fruit-bearing shrub, it can experience common problems and pests.

Pest Problems:

  • Aphids: These tiny insects can infest the leaves and tender shoots, causing leaves to curl and become distorted. You can control aphids by spraying the affected areas with a strong stream of water or using insecticidal soap.

  • Scale Insects: Scales are small, round, or oval insects that attach themselves to the stems and leaves, sucking sap from the plant. You can gently scrape them off with a soft brush or use horticultural oil to control scales.

  • Whiteflies: Whiteflies are small, white insects that feed on the underside of leaves and can cause yellowing and weakening of the plant. You can control whiteflies using insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Fungal Diseases:

  • Leaf spot causes dark spots on the leaves, eventually leading to leaf drop. Prune and remove infected branches and ensure good air circulation around the plant to prevent the spread of the disease.

  • Powdery mildew appears white on the leaves. Improve air circulation, and consider using fungicidal sprays if the problem persists.

  • Pineapple guava can experience fruit drop, especially if there is insufficient pollination. To improve the fruit set, consider planting more than one Acca sellowiana to encourage pollination by bees and other pollinators.

  • Overwatering can lead to root rot in pineapple guava. Ensure the soil is well-draining and allow it to dry out slightly between watering. Avoid planting in waterlogged areas. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Pineapple guava, scientifically known as Feijoa sellowiana, is a fruit-bearing shrub or small tree native to South America. It produces green, egg-shaped fruit with a sweet and aromatic flavor.

The fruit of pineapple guava is often described as having a unique flavor profile that combines elements of pineapple, guava, and mint. It has a sweet, slightly tart, and aromatic taste.

Pineapple guavas are typically ripe when they fall from the tree or are easily plucked from the branch. Ripe fruit will have a slightly soft texture and may have a pleasant aroma.

Yes, pineapple guavas’ skin is edible and often eaten along with the flesh. However, some people prefer to peel them before consuming them.

While some pineapple guava varieties are self-fertile and can produce fruit without cross-pollination, having multiple plants for cross-pollination often improves fruit yield and quality.

Yes, you can grow pineapple guava in a container. Choose a large container with good drainage, use a well-draining potting mix, and ensure the plant receives sufficient sunlight.

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