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Growing Pineapple Guava / Feijoa: Acca sellowiana

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Overview
A member of the Myrtle family and not a true guava. The Acca genus contains three species, of which Acca sellowiana, Pineapple Guava, is the most well known. At least several dozen cultivars have been developed.

Description
Form: A multi-stemmed shrub or small tree.
Lifespan: Up to 50 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Slow to moderate depending on water.
Mature Size: 3-20' high and as wide.
Flowers: Four to six fleshy, edible, white petals tinged with purple, long bright red stamens. 100-200 chill hours needed for best flowering. Hand pollination is very successful. Poor fruit yield is often caused by lack of pollination.
Bloom: Mid-spring.
Self-fruitful: Two different cultivars should be planted together for cross pollination unless the cultivar is known to be self-fruitful.
Years before fruiting: 3-5 years from seed.
Fruit: Egg shaped, blue-green, waxy skin, fragrant, edible. Flavor is between pineapple and another fruit, some say strawberry, others, apple and mint, or banana. Size from 0.75" to 4" in length. 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. Ripe when drops from branch after plant is shaken. Check every two days.
Storage after harvest: One week for best quality. Dip in lemon juice after peeling to prevent turning brown.
Leaves: Green and smooth on top, silvery underneath, elliptical, thick.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Shallow, non-invasive.
Cultivars of Note: for regions with hot summers
'Apollo' self-fruitful, ripens mid to late season
'Gemini' needs 'Apollo' for cross-pollination, ripens late summer to early autumn before 'Apollo'
'Pineapple Gem' self-fruitful but does better with hand pollination, ripens mid to late season.
Wildlife: Attracts bees and birds. In some regions, birds eat flowers and pollinate plant. Avoided by rabbits and deer.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: South America.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-10.
Sunset climate zones: 7-9, 12-24.
Chill hours: 50-200 hours depending on cultivar.
Heat tolerant: Prefers temperatures below 90°F. Heat stress may cause fruit drop.
Sun: Full sun. Avoid reflected sun or hot zones. When temperatures are over 90°F, afternoon shade may reduce heat stress. This species can grow away from shade, developing an unbalanced appearance.
Drought tolerant: Yes, but water needs increase with fruiting and summer heat.
Water after becoming established: Once or twice a month except deep water weekly when fruiting. Do not overwater. Temperatures over 90°F, however, may require aggressive watering two or three times a week to reduce heat stress if plant is not in afternoon shade. Insufficient water results in fruit drop.
Soil: Well drained, tolerant as to soil type, but better if planted with organic soil amendment, pH 6.1-7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral).
Fertilize: Apply balanced fertilizer (10-10-10) with micronutrients three times a year in late February, late May and late July, or at least once late winter. 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. A citrus fertilizer can be used, according to directions, using one-half the recommended amount.
Mulch: To protect shallow roots from summer heat and winter cold.
Prune: Lightly to shape after fruit harvest. Handles shearing but this reduces flower production. Dense branches may need thinning to expose flowers and fruit. 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. Flowers are used in salads.

Comments
Former botanical name Feijoa sellowiana.



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