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Growing Pineapple Guava / Feijoa: Acca sellowiana

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Belonging to the Myrtle family and not true guavas, the Acca genus contains three species, of which Acca sellowiana, Pineapple Guava, is the most well known. Several dozen cultivars have been developed.


Form: A multi-stemmed shrub or small tree.
Lifespan: Up to 50 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on fertilization and water.
Mature Size: 3-20' high and as wide.
Flowers: Four to six fleshy, edible, white petals curled inward at the sides, tinged with purple, surrounding long bright red stamens with yellow tips. 100-200 chill hours needed for best flowering. Poor fruit yield is often caused by lack of pollination. Hand pollination is very successful. The petals can be removed for eating while leaving the rest of the flower intact for fruiting.
Bloom: Mid-spring.
Self-fruitful: Usually no. Two plants should be placed together for cross pollination.
Years before fruiting: 3-5 years from seed.
Fruit: Egg shaped, blue-green, waxy skin, fragrant, edible. Size varies from 0.75" to 4" in length. The flavor is said to be a cross between pineapple and another fruit, such as strawberry, apple and mint, or banana. Eat like an avocado, scooping the flesh out of the skin. The skin is edible but sour.
Months for fruit to ripen: 4.5 to 7. The fruit are ripe when they drop from the branch after the plant is shaken. Check every two days.
Storage after harvest: One week at room temperature for best quality. Dip the fruit in lemon juice after peeling to prevent it from turning brown.
Leaves: Green and smooth on top, silvery underneath, elliptical, thick.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Shallow, non-invasive.
Cultivars of Note: for hot, dry climates
'Nazemetz' self-fruitful, medium sized fruit, ripens late season.
'Trask' self-fruitful, medium to large sized fruit, ripens early.
Most plants sold by retail nurseries do not have a cultivar name.
Wildlife: Attracts bees and birds. In some regions, birds eat the flower petals while pollinating the flowers. The plants are not browsed by rabbits and deer. Rabbits may dig at the moist soil under the plant after irrigation, however, looking for water, damaging roots and moving mulch aside.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: South America.

Cultivation and Uses

USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10. Hardy to 15°F. One cultivar, less well suited to high temperatures, can handle 5°F.
Chill hours: typically 100-200 hours.
Heat tolerant: Yes, once established. Extra water and part shade are needed to maintain appearance over 90°F. Heat stress may cause fruit drop and leaf browning. If the tips of leaves turn brown, extensive deep watering and part shade will allow the plant to stay green.
Sun: Full sun to part shade. Avoid reflected sun or hot zones. When temperatures are over 90°F, extra water and part shade are required.
Drought tolerant: Yes, but prolonged lack of water, especially in high temperatures, results in a loss of fruit and ratty appearance.
Water after becoming established: Once or twice a month when not fruiting. Deep water twice a week when fruiting. Deep water every two days when temperatures over 90°F to maintain appearance. Do not overwater.
Soil: Well drained, tolerant as to soil type, but better if planted with organic soil amendment. Best in pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral) soil.
Fertilize: Treat like citrus, applying organic fertilizer and citrus micronutrients three times a year in late February, late May and late July, or at least once late winter. In regions where frost is likely, do not fertilize after August to avoid triggering new frost-prone growth. Spread fertilizer evenly under the canopy but 6" away from the trunk. Water immediately on a mist setting. Avoid chemical fertilizers.
Mulch: To protect shallow roots from summer heat and winter cold.
Prune: Lightly to shape after fruit harvest. The plant will handle shearing but this reduces flower production, which occurs on new growth. Dense branches may need thinning to expose flowers and fruit, but exposed branches should be painted with tree trunk paint to prevent sun burn. The plant can be shaped to any form.
Litter: Moderate fruit and leaf drop.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings or layering. Seed may not breed true to type.
Uses: Ornamental, edible flowers and fruit, hedge. The flower petals are used in salads and can be removed from the rest of the flower while allowing fruit formation.


Former botanical name Feijoa sellowiana.

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Pineapple Guava: Acca sellowiana - flowers

Pineapple Guava: Acca sellowiana - fruit

Pineapple Guava: Acca sellowiana - leaves

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Latest update: December, 2018