Pineapple guava trees are both beautiful and bountiful, yielding a tasty fruit that is guava-like in taste and appearance. Also sometimes known as feijoa, Acca sellowiana is not the same as a common guava tree (Psidium guajava), though they are both part of the Myrtaceae family.
You can grow pineapple guava as a multi-stemmed shrub or prune it as a small tree, with a central trunk. It features silver-green, oval foliage that remains evergreen for year-round interest. In the spring, bright, showy flowers appear. The pink and white petals surround spiky, bright red stamens. These sweet-smelling, vibrant flowers attract various birds—and are edible for humans, too. Pineapple guava trees are slow-growers, making them ideal for containers and small spaces.
|Common Name||Pineapple Guava, Feijoa|
|Botanical Name||Acca sellowiana|
|Plant Type||Perennial, Tree, Shrub, Fruit|
|Mature Size||20 ft. tall, 20 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full, Partial|
|Soil Type||Loamy, Moist but Well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Flower Color||Red, Pink, White|
|Hardiness Zones||8-11, USA|
|Native Area||South America|
Pineapple Guava Care
The pineapple guava is an easy fruit tree to grow. These trees are low-maintenance and resistant to pests and diseases. They may encounter a problem with black scale or fruit flies, but this is uncommon. They are vulnerable to windy conditions so be sure to plant them in a protected location.
Many varieties are considered self-fertile, however planting a second tree as a cross-pollinator will increase the fruit production of both trees. To guarantee a rich yield, hand-pollinating can be done between the two trees.
Blooms appear in the spring and the fruit ripens in the fall. The edible blooms are said to taste like minty guava and are popular in salads and as a drink flavoring. Fruits are 2 to 3 inches long, oblong in shape (like an egg) and green. The taste has been described as a combination of banana, pineapple, guava, and kiwi. Young plants may take several years before fruit development begins. When ripe, the fruits will fall off the tree. Collect these from the ground to harvest the sweet, flavorful fruits.
Native to the subtropics and hardy in USDA growing zones 8 to 10, the pineapple guava tree prefers abundant sunshine. Plant these trees in an area with full sunlight for the best results. However, in areas with very hot summers, the pineapple guava will benefit from some afternoon shade.
Rich, well-draining soil is preferred with pH levels from neutral to slightly acidic. They can tolerate salty soil and air, which makes them great choices for coastal areas. One thing they do not tolerate is soggy soil. If soil conditions are less than ideal, be sure to amend the soil before planting to ensure that it drains properly.
Pineapple guava trees enjoy consistently moist soil, so a regular watering schedule is recommended. However, you need to beware of overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
These trees are considered drought tolerant once established, but a consistent lack of water will affect the yield and quality of the fruit produced. Water the tree just enough to keep the soil moist to the touch—no more and no less.
Temperature and Humidity
Despite its tropical appearance, pineapple guava is actually very hardy. This tree can withstand temperatures down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit. Subtropical climates are more ideal than tropical climates, since temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit can become detrimental. The pineapple guava thrives in moderate temperatures and moderate-to-low humidity levels.
Pineapple guava trees appreciate a well-balanced fertilizer given once or twice a year. When potted, these trees do best when fertilized twice a year. Adding a fresh layer of compost annually will also help provide needed nutrients.
Types of Pineapple Guava
- Acca sellowiana 'Apollo': This variety is self-fertile and will pollinate with different varieties. It produces medium-sized fruit that ripens at the end of the season. This fruit is described as having a slight gritty texture.
- Acca sellowiana 'Coolidge': This variety produces large, early fruits and is popular in cooler growing zones. It is considered self-fertile.
- Acca sellowiana 'Nikita': This variety is among the earliest to produce fruits. It has a small, compact growing habit perfect for containers or small spaces.
These easy-going plants can be pruned regularly or irregularly, depending on your desired shape. Pineapple guava can be kept as a shrub or small tree and thrives in both scenarios. Their slow-growing nature means they do not need a lot of attention when it comes to pruning.
Propagating Pineapple Guava
Propagation can be done through cuttings, and it is best to do this in the fall. To propagate, you will need a sharp pair of garden snips, light soil, a small pot, and rooting hormone. Then follow these instructions:
- Using the snips, cut a small softwood cutting from the bottom of the shrub. A cutting around 10-12 inches is ideal. Be sure the cutting has some healthy leaves and a few nodes on it.
- Remove any leaves on the lower section of the cutting.
- Dip the cut end into a rooting hormone. Shake away the excess powder.
- Gently plant the cutting into a light soil mix, such as those used for seed starting. A mix of peat, sand, or sawdust is also a good choice. Keep the cutting moist and in bright sunlight.
- Roots should form in about two months and can be transplanted to the garden at this point.
How to Grow Pineapple Guava From Seed
These plants grow well from seed, but take a considerable amount of time to mature enough to produce fruit. Fruiting may take four years. It is also important to know that this option of propagation does not often produce trees that are identical to their parent. To grow these trees from seed, you will need well-draining small pots, light soil, grow lights, and a heating mat.
- Plant the seeds indoors in the early spring. Bury each seed around 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep.
- Keep the soil moist and place the pots on a heating mat under grow lights. Keep the heating mat on constantly. Turn the grow lights off overnight.
- Germination should occur around three weeks. Wait until the seedlings are strong and all threat of frost is gone to transfer them to the garden.
If you are starting the seeds outdoors, simply plant them in the late spring when all threat of frost has passed. Keep the soil moist and watch as a new tree comes to life.
Potting and Repotting Pineapple Guava
Because pineapple guava does well when pruned and grows quite slowly, they make perfect container shrubs. When choosing a pot, be sure it has adequate drainage holes. Choose a pot size that will accommodate the final desired size of the shrub.
Once planted, be sure to water the shrub regularly and fertilize twice a year. If the shrub must be repotted, tilt the container onto its side to loosen the roots. Gently slide the shrub out of the container and plant it in a slightly larger container. Fill it with well-draining, rich soil and place it in a protected yet sunny location.
Owing to its hardy nature, pineapple guava trees do not require special care to survive the winter as long as temperatures stay above 15 degrees Fahrenheit. For unusually cold winters, it is best to provide some protection from the elements, such as wrapping the tree in burlap and adding a thick layer of mulch around the base.
How to Get Pineapple Guava to Bloom
Pineapple guava trees produce beautiful, showy blooms in the spring. Each bloom consists of soft, pink and white petals surrounding bright red, spiky stamens. These showy flowers are sweet-smelling and have edible petals. They reach up to 1 inch in size.
Pineapple guava trees flower abundantly in the spring. To help encourage this, add a fresh layer of compost or a slow-release, well-balanced fertilizer each spring. Be sure the tree receives enough sunlight and water. If any late spring frosts are coming, be sure to cover and protect the delicate blooms from frost damage.
Common Problems With Pineapple Guava
Pineapple guava is a very easy-going, low-maintenance fruit tree. Problems are rare but keeping an eye out for these signs can help you avoid any issues that may arise.
If the leaves are turning yellow, this is a good indicator that the soil pH level is not balanced. Pineapple guava trees like neutral to slightly acidic soil, so yellowing leaves can mean that the soil is too alkaline. To fix this, amend the soil with compost or another acidifying agent.
Falling Leaves and Small, Unripe, and Falling Fruit
These are all signs that the pineapple guava is lacking water. Simply increase the amount and frequency of watering. Aim to keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy.
How big does a pineapple guava tree grow?
Pineapple guava trees generally reach up to 15 feet tall, but they can reach above 20 feet tall. These trees can be pruned to stay a smaller size.
How long does it take for pineapple guava to produce fruit?
Depending on the circumstances, pineapple guava trees usually take three to four years to start producing fruit.
Do you need two pineapple guava trees to produce fruit?
This depends on the variety. Many varieties are considered self-fertile. However, to ensure the biggest fruit yield possible, having two trees is a good idea. Hand-pollination can be done to guarantee a good yield.