|the Organic Light Garden - © Lloyd Godman
Garden, Victoria Australia
There are two Feijoa tress in the Orchard
One had been planted next to house is is quite a large tree, the other was planted in the winter of 2005 in the orchard down in the valley.
The tree in the valley was eaten down by wallabies but has since recovered very well.
Feijoa sellowiana O.
Common Names: Feijoa, Pineapple Guava, Guavasteen.
Related Species: In more recent times Feijoa sellowiana has been renamed
Acca sellowiana, but most sources still use the older name.
Eugenias (Eugenia spp.), Guavas (Psidium spp.), Jaboticaba (Myrciaria
Origin: The feijoa
is native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay
and Uruguay where it is common in the mountains.
prefer cool winters and moderate summers (80° to 90° F), and
are generally adapted to areas where temperatures stay above 15°
F. Flower production is poor in areas with fewer than 50 hours of chilling.
The flavor of the fruit is much better in cool than in warm regions.
Even thought the plants are relatively hardy, sudden fall frosts can
damage ripening fruit and late spring frosts can destroy blossoms. Spring
frost damage is most likely in mild-winter areas, where the plants are
not completely hardened off and respond to warm spells by blooming early.
Growth Habit: The feijoa is a slow-growing evergreen shrub that can
reach 15 ft. high and 15 ft. wide. The bark is pale gray and the spreading
branches are swollen at the nodes and white-hairy when young. In addition
to the fruit it provides, the shrub also doubles handsomely as a landscape
specimen. When planted close together, the shrubs make a nice hedge,
screen, or windbreak. Feijoas can also be espaliered or trained as a
small tree (20 to 25 ft. tall) with one or more trunks. The wood is
dense, hard, and brittle.
Foliage: The evergreen, thick, leathery leaves of the feijoa are opposite,
short-petioled and bluntly elliptical. In size they range from 1 to
2-1/2 inches long and 5/8 to 1 inch wide. The leaves are smooth soft
green on top and silvery underneath, flashing nicely in a gentle breeze.
Flowers: The 1
inch showy, bisexual flowers, borne singly or in a cluster, have long,
bright red stamens topped with large grains of yellow pollen. Flowers
appear late, from May through June. Each flower contains four to six
fleshy flower petals that are white tinged with purple on the inside.
These petals are mildly sweet and edible and can make a refreshing addition
to spring salads. Birds eating the petals pollinate the flower.
It has been said
that feijoa pollen is transferred by birds that are attracted to and
eat the flowers, but bees are the chief pollinators. Most flowers pollinated
with compatible pollen show 60 to 90% fruit set. Hand pollination is
nearly 100% effective. Two or more bushes should be planted together
for cross-pollination unless the cultivar is known to be self-compatible.
Poor bearing is usually the result of inadequate pollination.
Fruits: The fruits
range from 3/4 to 3-1/2 inches long and vary in shape from round to
elongated pear shape, with the persistent calyx segments adhering to
the apex. The waxy skin is dull blue-green to blue or grayish green,
sometimes with a red or orange blush. Skin texture varies from smooth
to rough and pebbly and is 3/16 to 5/8 inch thick. The fruit emits a
strong long-lasting perfume, even before it is fully ripe. The thick,
white, granular, watery flesh and the translucent central pulp enclosing
the seeds are sweet or subacid, suggesting a combination of pineapple
and guava or pineapple and strawberry, often with overtones of winter
green or spearmint. There are usually 20 - 40, occasionally more, very
small, oblong seeds hardly noticeable when the fruit is eaten.
Location: To protect the fruit from sunburn and other adverse effects
of high temperature, choose a plant site away from hot, reflected sun.
The feijoa can tolerate partial shade and slight exposure to salt spray.
They also make an excellent foundation planting, either singly or as
an informal hedge.
Soil: Feijoas will grow in a wide variety of soils. The best harvests,
however, come from plants growing in well-drained soil with a pH between
5.5 and 7.0. They are fairly salt tolerant, but salinity slows growth
and reduces yields.
plantings of feijoas in summer dry California have survived for several
years without supplemental water. Lack of water, however, will cause
the fruit to drop. For quality harvests, water deeply on a regular basis,
especially during flowering and fruit periods, and mulch the soil around
the plants to protect the shallow roots.
Feijoas grow slowly and require only light applications of a complete
fertilizer. A feeding of 8-8-8 NPK once every two months can speed growth.
is not required to keep plants productive, but a light pruning in the
summer after fruit is harvested will encourage new growth and increase
yields the following year. Thinning the plant also permits easier harvesting.
When grown as a hedge, the feijoa responds well to heavy pruning or
shearing, but this reduces flower and fruit production.
feijoa grows easily from seed, but the seedlings are not always true
to type. Seeds are separated by squeezing the seedy pulp into a container,
covering with water, and letting the liquid stand for 4 days to ferment.
The seeds are then strained out and dried before sowing. The seeds will
retain viability for a year or more if kept dry. Germination takes place
in 3 weeks. The plant fruits in 3 - 5 years from seed. Vegetative means
are necessary to reproduce a variety. Young wood cuttings will root
within two months with bottom heat and mist. Whip, tongue or veneer
grafting methods are sometimes successful, as is air-layering and ground
layering. Cutting-grown plants of named varieties are most desirable,
because they can be trained in a variety of ways, and can be maintained
as multitrunked shrubs without concern that suckers will develop into
Pests and diseases:
The feijoa is remarkably pest and disease-resistant. It is occasionally
attacked by by black scale in California, as well as fruit flies where
that is a problem.
Harvest: In southern
California the fruits ripen 4-1/2 to 6 months after flowers appear and
in 5-1/2 to 7 months in the San Francisco area. As the fruit matures,
its color changes almost imperceptibly. The best way is to allow them
to fall from the tree. Giving the tree a shake and gathering the fruit
from the ground very couple of days is the usual method of harvesting.
To keep the fruit from bruising, place a tarp or other large cloth under
the tree to catch them as they fall. Feijoas can also be picked when
firm and mature and allowed to ripen at room temperature, although the
quality will not be as good as tree ripened fruit. Mature fruit can
be stored in the refrigerator for about a week, but after that the quality
declines. Feijoas are mainly eaten fresh as a dessert or in salads,
but can also be cooked in puddings, pies, etc. After peeling, the fruit
should be immediately dipped into water containing fresh lemon juice
to prevent the flesh from turning brown.
In California the feijoa is grown in a limited way for its fruit, especially
in cool coastal locations, mainly around San Francisco. There has also
been a major effort in New Zealand to commercialize the feijoa. Both
domestic and imported fruit can often be found in the markets, but the
demand does not seem to be great.
Medium to large, oval fruit. Smooth, thin, light-green skin with blue-green
surface bloom, subject to bruising and purpling. Pulp well-developed,
slightly gritty. Flavor very pleasant, quality excellent. Ripens mid
to late-season. Tree upright and spreading, to 8 ft. tall, vigorous
and productive. Self-fertile, and will pollinate Gemini.
Originated in Australia. Small to medium-sized, round to oval fruit,
2 to 3-1/2 inches long. Skin fairly smooth. Flavor and quality good.
Ripens in midseason. Tree moderately vigorous, spreading. Almost or
always, but not less than 42% self-fertile.
Originated in Australia prior to 1908. Small to medium-sized fruit,
4 or more inches in length and 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Form pyriform
to oblong or elongated. Skin somewhat wrinkled. Flavor mild, indifferent
quality. Tree upright and strong growing, a reliable and heavy bearer,
100% self-fertile. The most widely planted cultivar in California.
Edenvale Improved Coolidge
Originated in Santa Cruz, Calif. by Frank Serpa of Edenvale Nurseries.
Large, oblong fruit of very good to excellent flavor and quality. Ripens
in October. Tree slow growing. Self-fertile, precocious and productive.
Grows best in climates similar to cool, coastal ares of southern California.
From Edenvale Nurseries. Mediuim-sized, oblong fruit of very good to
excellent flavor and quality. Ripens late, in January,and over a long
period of time. Tree slow growing. Self-fertile, very productive. Grows
best in climates similar to cool, coastal areas of southern California.
From Edenvale Nurseries. Medium-sized, oblong fruit of very good to
excellent flavor and quality. Ripens in November. Best eaten soon after
harvest. Tree slow growing. Self-fertile, precocious and productive.
Grows best in climates similar to cool, coastal areas of southern California.
Fruit small to medium, egg-shaped. Skin very smooth, thin, dark green
with a heavy bloom. Flavor and texture excellent. Ripens in early autumn,
earlier than Apollo. Tree upright, spreading, to 8 ft tall. Moderately
vigorous, high yielding, partially self-fruitful, but cross pollination
is recommended for best fruit quality.
Selected in New Zealand from seedlings of the Choiceana. Large, round
to oval fruit, to 8-1/2 ounces, resembling Coolidge. Skin thick, somewhat
wrinkled. Flesh somewhat gritty, quality and flavor very good. Matures
early in midseason. Softer and not as good a shipper as Triumph. Tree
of upright habit, to 10 ft. tall, strong growing. Self-fertile, but
bears larger fruit, with cross-pollination.
Large, flavorsome fruit. Ripens in midseason. Very vigorous plant. Recommended
Originated in San Diego, Calif. by Alexander Nazemetz. Large, pear-shaped
fruit, averaging 3 ounce in weight. Side walls moderately thin. Pulp
translucent and sweet. Flavor and quality excellent. Ripens in late
October to mid-December. Unlike that of many other cultivars, the pulp
of Nazemetz does not darken after being cut or as it ripens, but retains
its clear color. Tree self-fertile, but bears most heavily when cross-pollinated.
Good pollinator for Trask.
Originated in Azusa, Calif. by Monrovia Nursery. Small, round fruit
of good to very good quality. Mid to late season ripening. Tree self-fruitful
but bears heavier crops if pollinated. Does poorly under cool, coastal
Originated as a bud sport of Coolidge. Medium to large, oblong fruit,
up to 3-1/2 inches long and weighing 3 to 5 ounces. Rough, dark green
skin. Shells thicker and grittier than Coolidge. Flavor and quality
good to very good. Ripens early. Tree self-fertile, but most productive
when cross-pollinated. Precocious. Ideal pollinator for Nazemetz.
Selected in New Zealand from seedlings of the Choiceana cultivar. Short,
oval, plump fruits., not pointed as those of Coolidge, medium to large.
Skin uneven but firm. Flesh somewhat gritty but with good seed to pulp
ratio. Excellent sharp flavor. Ripens to midseason. Tree upright, of
medium vigor. Bears heavily if pollinated. Good pollinator for Mammoth.