The Q&A Archives: Pineapple Guava tree (bush?)

Question: I have had this Guava tree (about 4 ft tall) for about 18 years. It blooms great in the spring, but doesn't fruit. I did find two guavas one year. Could this be a flowering only tree? Any way to graft or change it? I want the fruit!

You guys are great! Thanks for your expert information.

Answer: Your pineapple guava (Feijoa) has bisexual flowers so if it flowers, it should produce fruit. However, experts suggest that unless you have two shrubs, the fruiting will be sparse.

These plants are a little touchy about weather, though, so they may not produce fruit every year. Here's a little background information, direct from the California Rare Fruit Growers Organization:

Feijoas 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.

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.

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