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.
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. 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. Most plants sold
by retail nurseries today do not have a cultivar name.
'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. Hardy down to 12-15°F.
Chill hours: 50-200 hours depending on cultivar.
Heat tolerant: Yes, once established. Extra water is needed to
maintain appearance over 90°F. Heat stress may cause fruit drop and leaf browning.
If the tips of leaves turn brown, part shade and extensive deep watering 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, part shade is 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.
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. 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. Flower petals are used
Former botanical name Feijoa sellowiana. Nurseries often do not carry named cultivars.
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