The Pineapple Guava

I’m profiling another plant this week.

I have to admit that I often forget about this one when recommending barrier or fence-line plants. I’m not sure why, because the pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) is a unique and beautiful specimen, but it may have something to do with cold weather.

The pineapple guava’s leaves are a bit different than those of most evergreen shrubs, thanks to their silvery color that matures to blue-green with gray undersides. Then there are the flowers, which provide a nice spring backdrop. They’re white, accented with red and pinkish stamens. And the magnificent fruit that follows the flowers can be used to make a great jelly or jam.

So, I’m proclaiming right here and now that I’m going to do a better job of recommending this amazing shrub in the future. And, as with last week’s profiled coppertone loquat, pineapple guava can be pruned often to make it a medium-to-tall shrub, or pruned only occasionally on the sides to let it grow above the fence line and make a great privacy hedge.

Another great pineapple guava attribute is its adaptability to shade. Mind you, it doesn’t start as a shade-loving plant. But I’ve seen many instances where, after growing for years in the sun as it should, pineapple guava can keep growing and blooming in an environment where more shade has developed from nearby maturing trees.

If there is a downside to the pineapple guava - and why we don’t see it planted more often – it’s that it can die back in a hard freeze. While I’ve seen many of them survive nights of 25 degrees, I’ve also observed that many are lost after several hours of temperatures at 20 degrees and below.

I’d fertilize the pineapple guava with typical tree and shrub products, but you can also sneak in fruit tree food now and again. Hibiscus food can also be beneficial.

Remember …how often and where you prune will determine whether it will be a tall shrub or an even taller fence-line barrier.

PHOTOS: Randy Lemmon

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