Friday, June 10, 2011

The New Additions: Pineapple Guava

Are you familiar with Pineapple Guava a.k.a. Feijoa?  I'm not, but I've got four new shrubs of it planted along my back fence line next to the espaliered apple and pear.  I took a local orchard class that covered it, and I've read up on the topic, but I have yet to taste or see the fruit.  I'm really looking forward to trying it though!  Currently the plant is in bloom with these fabulous flowers:

They are a big hummingbird attractor for obvious reasons (their centers are Hummingbird Feeder Red).  Also, the flowers are edible!  Now tell me that's not cool.  There was a recent post on Sunset's One Block Diet blog about making a nasturtium cooler... maybe I can modify it and use pineapple guava petals instead!  I will have to be diligent though if I am going to come up with 20 blossoms like they used in their recipe.  Maybe I'll make a very small batch of Pineapple Guava Syrup.

From everything I have learned and read, pineapple guava are really forgiving plants.  They thrive in a Mediterranean climate, are evergreen (leaves are dark green on top and pale grey-green on the bottom), and require very little in the way of maintenance.  They can be pruned into a hedge shape or tree, but if you want fruit you need to be cautious with your pruning.  The plant bears fruit on new wood so prune right after harvest; if you prune in spring you might seriously deplete your crop.

Future Pineapple Guava Hedge along fence line

Fruit are typically ready to harvest 4 to 7 months after flowering.  In my climate, I'm expecting to harvest the pineapple guavas around October.  When the fruits are ripe, lay a tarp under the plant and shake it vigorously - the fruits will fall to the ground.  If you do grow them, you will want to be aware of potential issues with vermin.  I'm told the fruit they drop is quite enticing to the rodentia.  However, if you stock your garden with a squirrel-hunting dog and a pair of everything-hunting cats, you should be all good!

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