One of my favourite fruits is the feijoa, a small oval fruit with smooth, greenish skin and creamy white flesh. So when I had the chance, I bought a little sapling, which grew by leaps and bounds over the years, fruiting vigorously from late Summer into Autumn.
Feijoas are a lovely snack because they are low in calories and fat while being filled with anti-oxidants, vitamins (Vit B, C, E & K) and minerals (calcium & magnesium). Also known as pineapple guavas, feijoas have mix of fruit tastes – some describe the taste as a cross between mango, pineapple, guava and pear!
It is not accurate to describe it as a tree (well, maybe small tree!) as it’s a medium-sized, slow-growing, evergreen shrub which is never more than 15 feet tall. Feijoa is native to South America and is grown widely in California and the South Pacific.
Common Problems with Feijoa
Feijoa shrubs are generally pest and disease-resistant. Occasionally, you may find black scale on the stems and branches. If that happens, smother the scale with horticultural oil.
Otherwise, a common problem is that birds may feed on ripe fruit before you get to harvest them. The use of bird netting is one way to protect your crop.
Common Mistakes with Feijoa Shrubs
- Planting too deep. Feijoa have a relatively shallow root system. Therefore, it’s best to mulch at the base of your shrub to conserve moisture content in the soil and insulate the plant in winter.
2. Growing in soil that is too alkaline – The leaves will turn yellow, and fruit will be compromised.
Care Requirements & Guide for Feijoa Shrubs
Watering: During long dry spells, it is possible that Feijoa trees will struggle, so it would be a good idea to increase watering during such times. Water deeply and regularly when the fruit is developing and ripening sometime from mid to late summer. Avoid over-watering because even though it will plump up the fruit, this somehow causes the fruit to lose flavour.
Light: Feijoas grow well in full sun but can tolerate partial shade.
Temperature: It grows best in areas where summer temperature ranges between 80°and 90°F. Avoid planting them in low lying spots in the garden where cold air or frost can settle because the flowers and fruit can be harmed by frost.
Soil: Compost-rich, loamy soil that is well-drained is best for growing feijoas. Maintain the soil pH within the range of 5.5 and 7.0.
Fertiliser: A high-phosphorus liquid fertilizer suits it best.
Propagation: There are 2 ways to propagate feijoa – seed or softwood cuttings. First, separate the seeds from the pulp, then dry the seeds before sowing. If growing from cuttings, don’t forget to dip the cutting into a rooting hormone before planting the softwood cutting.
Fun Facts about Feijoa
Feijoa are capable of self-pollination. However, more likely than not, birds feeding on feijoa petals will transfer pollen grains from their body parts to stigma, thus promoting pollination.
I have not personally tried this but it seems that feijoa flower petals taste like sherbert.