University of California
UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County
Its very name suggests that pineapple guava is planted as a food-producing shrub, but, just as often, gardeners select it as an evergreen specimen plant for its ornamental qualities.
Clusters of attractive bluish green leaves with grayish white undersides cover cinnamon-colored bark on rather thin, upright stems that can be trained into tree form. Eye-catching, inch-wide, white flowers add to the décor with their center tuft of large, white-tipped red stamens. Each flower gives the promise of a tangy, late fall fruit.
- Despite the common name of this South American native, pineapple guava is neither a true guava nor a pineapple, but fruits do somewhat resemble a true guava or pineapple in taste.
- Known previously as Feijoa sellowiana, the genus name of pineapple guava is now more correctly known as Acca sellowiana. Pale green, oval fruits 1-4 in. long are known as feijoas.
- Most improved varieties are self-fertile but not all are. Know the pollination requirement when you purchase a tree. Fruit production is normally heavy, but two plants usually produce an even more bountiful crop.
- Dozens of named varieties are available, differing slightly in fruit shape and tree size. ‘Apollo,’ ‘Coolidge,’ ‘Mammoth,’ ‘Nazemetz,’ and ‘Trask’ are all self-fruitful.
- Check for a shrub or tree form when you purchase a plant. Training may be required to achieve a single-trunk shape. Ongoing pruning is needed to preserve a tree form and to remove suckers that grow from the base.
- Many gardeners prefer a multi-branched trunk when featuring pineapple guava as a specimen plant. Any amount of pruning is tolerated, even as a hedge.
- Expect slow growth the first few years leading to an 15-25 ft. height and an equal spread after many years.
- Height and width may be kept as low as 8 x 8 ft. with regular pruning.
- Once it reaches the desired height and width, heavy pruning in early spring and later in summer will maintain those proportions.
- Blossoms appear throughout spring, attracting bees to nectar and birds to the deliciously sweet, edible flower petals but not to the fruits. Deer seem to ignore this virtually pest-free plant.
- Pineapple guava is drought-tolerant once established but benefits from periodic watering during the dry season to optimize fruiting.
- Winter temperatures as low as 10-15 degrees can be tolerated for short periods.
- Fruits ripen late October-December when they naturally fall. For a convenient harvest, spread a tarp underneath and give branches a light shake every few days.
- Slightly grainy, tangy fruits are usually peeled, or pulp is scooped out with a spoon to eat, but the skin is edible particularly on small, mature fruits.