Pollination of Pineapple Guava, please help

murkwellNovember 23, 2005

I'm afraid my recall of high school biology is lacking, and this may go a little beyond that anyway.

Yesterday I bought a Pineapple Guava bush from a nearby nursery (Feijoa sellowiana) after having tried the fruit from a grocery store for the first time last weekend and finding it very nice.

I would like to ensure that I get fruit from my new plant. The tag says "plant two" for fruit or something to that effect. It didn't say "two cultivars" or "two varieties". All of the tags for the 5 plants or so they had there were identical. There was no indication of cultivar type on any of them.

The sales staff hadn't clue one. They told me I needed to buy two of them if I wanted to plant fruit, but some very basic questioning made it clear that they didn't know what they were talking about.

I asked if these were seedlings and they didn't know. I'm not sure if they even knew what that meant.

To further add to my confusion, a Google search revealed that several sources claim that the Pineapple Guavas that they offer are self fertile.

To add a little more to the mystery, from a previous trip to this same nursery (when I first saw a pineapple guava) a different sales person gave me a card with the latin name of the plant and also what may be the name of their wholesale supplier. That turns out to be Northwoods Nursery (which apparently is affiliated with One Green World). At One Green World's website they offer Pineapple Guavas which are seedlings (and more expensive than what I paid).

Questions:

1. If it is a seedling than it may or may not be self fertile?

2. If I get two seedlings from the same source it is pretty likely that they will polinate each other?

3. The bushes where I bought mine looked identical to one another. Is it possible that they are genetically identical, such as from cuttings? (in which case planting two wouldn't help with fertility, correct?)

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Murky, If they are seedlings you are fine, they are genetically different and will pollinate each other. The fact that they look identical means nothing, the genetic differences are small. The fact that the tag says "plant two" indicates to me they are certainly seedlings -- any two will pollinate each other if they are seedlings, so that is a logical thing to put on the tag.

Scott

    Bookmark   November 24, 2005 at 10:00AM
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bonsaist(Z6/ Bethlehem, Pa)

you should be able to tell if they are grafted... you would see a bump on the trunk...
I got 2 trees when I visited Las vegas 3 years ago... They're diffinitly seedlings.. Since you're are not tagged with a variety most likely they're seedlings...
one of the trees bloomed last summer, but no fruit set... It is partially self-fertile... under right condition there's a chance it may fruit alone.

Bass

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 10:30AM
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larry_gene

murky--

Did you happen by chance to get p-guavas at the Daily Grind? I would like to know if any other PDX grocers are carrying them.

My solitary bush in Portland has borne over 500 fruits this year; over 30 pounds. No insects go near the flowers; I manually molest the newly-opened blooms. I believe the plant is totally self-fertile and visited by insects in its native regions. Here, wind would be the only way to naturally pollinate. The "plant two" plea just increased the odds that pollen will travel to the other bush. I spend less than 30 minutes in June-July molesting the flowers.

The newer plantings I have seen around town tend to have a dense, upright growth habit. One plant just down the street has been slow to grow, but this year did well. Be patient at least 3 years!

One Green World has offered named varieties in the past, along with seedlings.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2005 at 11:06PM
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murkwell

Thanks for the responses. I went and got a companion. You guys have led me to the conclusion that they are likely seedlings so I should be in good shape. They are maybe 3 feet tall and pretty healthy looking. So I should expect flowering maybe 2 years from the coming spring?

Bonsaist, they are definitely not grafted, but I didn't know of pineapple guavas are also propogated from cuttings or layering.

Larry, the fruits I sampled were from "Nes Seasons" in NE Portland. I go there because its the only place I know of to get fresh milk from what I believe to be grass-fed cows. I was in the produce section and I smelled the most wonderful fragrance. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

It looked like it might be the "Budha Hand" citron citrus but they just didn't look like the smell could be coming from them. I was thinking it must be star fruit or something. Of course it was the pineapple guavas.

The only had a small basket of them, I bought two and when I went back this weekend they didn't have them any more.

When do your's ripen? I would love to get a taste if I may. I'd also like to perhaps graft some cuttings if you could spare them. I'm planning to go nuts learning to graft this coming spring.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2005 at 4:18AM
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larry_gene

The PDX store-fruit comes from California, the season there is earlier than local fruit.

Mine ripen from Halloween thru New Year's, peaking around Thanksgiving. Send me an e-mail via "My Page" to get more specific contact info.

There are well over 100 fruits still on the bush; I pinch new growth at least twice a year, so there is plenty of cutting material.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 12:14AM
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bejay9_10(zone 9/10)

murky - glad you asked that question, have been wondering about it myself.

I planted a pineapple guava last year, but only one. Then read somewhere that it needed another. So far, I haven't gotten around to buying the mate, but wondered if a strawberry guava would also pollinate it????

Bejay

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 9:45AM
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murkwell

From what I understand, strawberry guava is a different species and will not aid in pollinating a pineapple guava.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2005 at 2:23PM
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cncm_blitz

They are both in the myrtaceae (myrtle) family. They may pollinate.

If they don't there are still many varieties of pineapple guava to choose from.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 4:10PM
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larry_gene

Web info from New Zealand states that the dominant method of pollination is by blackbirds or myna birds. Try those!

The "Unique" cultivar is said to be self-fertile.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 11:24PM
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cncm_blitz

Do blackbirds live in North Texas?

I have seen large flocks of black birds flying around. Maybe those are "blackbirds"

    Bookmark   November 20, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

There is an "N C State Selected" hardy Pineapple Guava / Feijoa (or Acca) sellowiana growing here in Raleigh, NC at the J C Arboretum. It is about 5 feet tall and maybe twice that large around. There appears to only be the one plant, so it must be self-pollinating. Since about Thanksgiving large numbers of fruit about the size and color of a small lime have been appearing on the ground. A few are as large as a typical lemon. Most of them are still hard and have no aroma. The off-white flesh has a mild, pleasant taste and aroma that is unique, but is reminiscent of a not quite ripe kiwi. This particular plant was selected primarily for its hardiness in zone 7b and for its ornamental value, so I am wondering if the fruit quality is inferior to some of the less hardy varieties? Based on my single experience of tasting the (unusual and attractive) flower petals last May, the edible flower petals alone are reason enough for growing this tree (or shrub). This plant appears to have never been pruned and has a very dense structure. In commercial fruit cultivation, are the plants pruned to a more open habit, and how large are the fruit sold in the market place?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 3:26PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

Ralphw,

It sounds to me like you are eating unripe feijoas. If the fruits are falling to the ground on their own, they are probably developmentally mature -- but even fallen feijoas sometimes need to be allowed to soften and ripen a bit more.

Have you tried leaving some of the fruits that you have collected out on your kitchen counter for a few days? They might start tasting a whole lot better!

I toured a commercial planting of feijoas last September, and, to the best of my recollection, the bushes looked like they had basically been allowed to grow in their natural, dense habit. If they had been pruned, the pruning must have been fairly light.

I think that feijoas need to be around lemon-sized to be commercially marketable, but the plants do, of course, also produce much smaller fruits. They may not be saleable, but my experience is that the small fruits taste just as good!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 7:09PM
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larry_gene

The fruit should be rubbery or even softer for full ripeness. To get much aroma you need a bunch of them in a container, kept there for hours.

The fruit appeared here this year for the first time in a "chain" market. The ones I have seen at independent markets, billed as coming from California, are 3-4 ounces, kiwi+ in size.

The NC fruits described above are fairly large.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 8:34PM
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murkwell

Larry,

Did you try the big ones from the market? How did they taste? I'm very interested in trying different varieties and getting some grafted onto the young plants I've got going at my house.

Let me know next time you see the big ones. If they are good I might try growing some seedlings from them.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2006 at 11:45PM
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cncm_blitz

I have lived in New Zealand for a long time, and I the fruit there is about the size of a kiwi fruit. They were definitely perfect flavour and the aroma from one was strong when you open it.

I have studied the feijoa and I can tell you from what I've read, the larger varieties are of less quality than smaller fruit. Also, for better fruit, the tree must have a period of cool temperatures. Could someone clarify this?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 12:06PM
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murkwell

cncm blitz,

We may each have our own idea of what "large" means.

I have yet to see a feijoa that is as large as the size I typically associate with kiwi.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2006 at 5:18PM
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cncm_blitz

Just Blitz.

Well, my idea of small is golf ball size. Kiwi fruit size is medium. Grapefuit is large size. "Triumph" is the variety that I would call best because the fruit are not too small, but there quality is perfect. Although, the kiwi fruit in New Zealand may also be a different size. Did you know that "Kiwi" is the adjective for "New Zealand".

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 9:04PM
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murkwell

Thanks for the clarification. Is Triumph then between the size of the kiwi and the grapefruit? Does it ripen early or late?

My idea of a kiwi size is probably the volume of 2 golfballs next to each other. If I had good tasting fruit that size I would be very pleased.

Actually I'll be thrilled when my plants make any fruit at all :)

At one time I probably knew Kiwi refered to New Zealand. Although it had blurred in my mind. I have to confess that in my ignorance I sometimes mentally lump New Zealand and Australia together as I do with Norway and Sweden or Samoa and Tonga.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 11:36PM
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cncm_blitz

Triumph is between golf-ball and kiwi fruit size, closer to kiwi fruit size. Its quality over quantity. If you want larger fruits, then there are plenty other varieties that may have bigger fruit. You should just browse around a bit til you find what you are looking for. I would be pleased with larger fruit myself, if it doesn't mean sacrificing quality. Perhaps there is a larger variety of Triumph.

As for lumping New Zealand and Australia together, it happens all the time, no big deal. I never understood it though; New Zealand is a good 3-hours flight southeast of "Orstrylia." Not to mention the cultures are quite different. Aborigines and Moaris have no ties whatsoever.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 1:19AM
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murkwell

Frankly at this point I would be happy to get my hands on any named variety as long as I thought I could ripen it in my climate. I have 4 seedlings and I'd like to find some scion wood.

Feijoas don't seem that easy to find around here. The only named varieties I've seen even for mail order are from One Green World and are Coolidge, Robert, and Nikita.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 1:39AM
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mrtexas(9a)

I wouldn't waste my time on a seedling. The seedlings here in SE Texas produce fruit that is inedible.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 4:24PM
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murkwell

Thanks mrtexas. Do you have scion wood for me? :)

In seriousness, I've only had fejoa from a couple of trees. Some I got from a grocery store and don't know the variety, and some I got from Larry_gene which were from a seedling.

Larry's were as good as the others, but for all I know they were from seedlings too. They were certainly edible and I liked them quite a bit. I would love to try some of known variety.

His seedling was from One Green World. I think the seedlings I purchased may have come from the wholesale operation of OGW so may be of similar parentage. The seedlngs I started myself were from Larry's fruit.

I guess my time isn't that valuable yet, because I find the seedlings worth messing with, but I would greatly prefer to get some material to graft onto them.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 5:02PM
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cncm_blitz

I think seedlings would be easier than grafting when it comes training the tree though, because I want them to look a certain way. I will find seedlings that produce edible fruit. Once again "Triumph" seems the best route, at least for me. Another thought is: "Where does the precious scion wood COME FROM?" Somewhere you can find a good seedling, I am sure.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 12:25AM
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Ralph Whisnant(z7b-8 NC)

I was just perusing the Ty Ty Nursery web site for information on available varieties of Japanese persimmons and decided to see if they offer Pineapple Guavas. They have a plant listed as Strawberry Guava, but identify it as Acca (Feijoa) sellowiana. (Strawberry Guavas are Psidium cattleianum, a true member of the Guava family.) The photograph of the round, red fruit fits the description of a Strawberry Guava, but the flower and other remarks suggest that it is probably a Pineapple Guava. On the other hand, the uses for the fruit would not seem to apply to a Pineapple Guava. No cultivar name is offered. Opinions?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ty Ty Nursery

    Bookmark   January 1, 2007 at 9:29PM
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tcjotm(SoCal)

I have a 5 ft bush that produced about 20 fruit this year, first time. Delicious!!! I cut in half, scoop the flesh from the center with a spoon, then finish off by eating all the skin (except the small portion at the blossom end). I eat them when they drop to the ground and when still hard. If I set them on the countertop for a few days until soft (yields under slight pressure) then you taste a undesireable aftertaste.

I have variety Nazameth from Home Depot, Los Angeles area. I've tried air layer rooting with no luck. I've just sproated some seed, though. It took 3 weeks in vermiculite medium, in a "mini-greenhouse pepsi bottle" setup.

I've never tried grafting them. Murky, send me a Gardenweb email and I'll send you some scionwood, if you wish.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 11:23PM
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larry_gene

The plant I purchased in the early 1990's was not labeled as a "seedling" although it may have been a seedling. The quality and abundance of fruit probably makes the plant a varietal or just lucky.

This year's crop was 744 fruits weighing 51 lbs, 6 oz, not counting tiny discards and stepped-on or rotted fruit. I am actually glad the season is over!

Golf is a fine sport, but most everything is compared to football, so I would say a good-sized feijoa would cover most of the seams on a football.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2007 at 10:50PM
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murkwell

That's about 1 oz per fruit Larry. Mammoth is listed as 8 oz. Its almost difficult to imagine one that large. Nazemetz is listed as 3 oz and described as having pulp that doesn't brown when exposed to air or from ripening.

I wonder if that might be related to the aftertaste behavior that tcjotm describes.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 2:48AM
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tcjotm(SoCal)

Regarding the Nazemetz variety's fruit inside not browning when exposed to air, I just had not noticed that. I would eat it very soon after cutting open, and not wait for any browning to possibly occur.
The aftertaste seemed to be related to eating it when being a bit overripe, I think (but I only tasted this once). That is, after I left it on a counter top to soften, maybe four-five days (a bit more than the two days that I first originally state... sorry about that). It was then that I decided to just eat them up before they softened.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 7:35PM
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cncm_blitz

Well ralphw, looks like you got some pretty good opinions there! *sarcastic*

I have read about varieties of pineapple guavas, and there is a red variety, which is probably what you found. But it could possibly be a different plant. I am not sure if Strawberry Guava is just a red Pineapple Guava or not. Anyone else?

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 2:20PM
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murkwell

I'm guessing that many posters consider TyTy nursery to be a joke with their many photoshopped images. With respect to the "guavas" I just assume that they made a mistake in their jumbling of information together.

I don't think they've actually taken any of the pictures and wouldn't assume that any of the pictures match the species next to it, let alone the cultivar.

I'd be very surprised to see a red feijoa. I'm still treating as rumor the assertion that such a fruit exists.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 3:55PM
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larry_gene

There is no "red feijoa" unless you doll them up manually with lipstick. No one next to a feijoa in bloom would be so sullen as that model. The gigantic glacier-fruit does not grow in the same region as pineapple guavas--if you look closely, two Sasquatch are visible up-glacier. The pictured bush is too distant to tell what it is, and the Jumex cans contain juice from true guava fruit unrelated to any of the above, I have purchased this item and drank it several times.

Cut fruit darkening: I regularly cut a dozen fruits in half and they are cut-side up on the plate for a good 30 minutes before my wife & I eat them (dessert course!) and they have not darkened a bit.

The Mammoth feijoas at 8 ounces would be too scary to try.

My bush does produce a few 3-ounce fruits, and the fact that there is no cross-pollen available could result in the small average fruit size; even this diminutive fruit makes a tasty morsel.

The odor of completely ripe feijoa reminds me of a stale dishrag--BUT I STILL LIKE THEM!

My last fruit fell off the bush around 5 January, but the interior was dried out. Just wait till next year!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 3:55AM
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cncm_blitz

I did some more looking around and found nothing red. Not one search result on Google turned up anything I was looking for. They just don't exist. Might be a good idea for breeding though.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 3:24PM
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murkwell

Red flesh seems like a strange thing to breed for in such a fruit.

I'd start with flavor, texture, yield, keeping ability, fruit size, growth habit, proportion of flesh/seed and probably several other things first.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 12:10AM
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larry_gene

I could go for a red-skinned feijoa, it would save many minutes trying to find them in the bush.

There has been no damage to my plant with the low temps bottoming out at 22°.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 4:04AM
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murkwell

Larry, with red skin your precious feijoas might be more attractive to birds.

Glad to hear the temperature didn't hurt yours. I wish you knew what variety it was. I prefered thinking that it was a seedling because the fruit are quite good. I was imagining how good named varieties might be.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 1:39PM
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cncm_blitz

Hey it was just an idea. Speaking of which i heard another rumor a while ago about a yellow feijoa. It said on the webpage which I can no longer find that red and yellow feijoas sold better because they were more eye catching, although there quality was lesser.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2007 at 3:29PM
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cncm_blitz

No replies? Cmon someone must at least be able to tell me that there is no such thing. Or at least politely tell me to shut up. lol

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 3:28PM
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larry_gene

Future claims of non-green feijoas will be considered unremarkable unless striping or phosphor-glowing is mentioned; perhaps a singing feijoa would invite comment.

That's it, I'll develop a singin' seedling! Just like wind chimes only tastier.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2007 at 11:57PM
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ashok_ncal(CA z9b)

Acca/Feijoa sellowiania = "Pineapple Guava", "Feijoa"
Fruits are colored green, with pale yellow flesh. Occasional fruits may develop a reddish blush or speckling on portions of the exterior shell, but this is both uncommon and very limited in extent when it does occur.

Psidium cattleianum = "Strawberry Guava"
Fruits are red-skinned, with whitish flesh.

Psidium cattleianum var lucidum = "Yellow Strawberry Guava"
Fruits are yellow-skinned, with whitish flesh.

The Psidium fruits have very different flavors from the pineapple guava, and are not particularly comparable.

I think Murky is quite correct in stating that TyTy Nursery information is badly jumbled, and that it should not be taken seriously.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 12:30AM
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cncm_blitz

I think I understand what that page was talking about now. Red and yellow feijoas were sold because they were more eye-catching. It said their quality was inferior. If you think of (yellow)strawberry guavas as feijoas, I am sure they wouldn't taste quite right.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 1:15PM
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murkwell

cncm blitz, I didn't tell you to shut up but I have to admit thinking you might be a little off your rocker.

Well, searching around for more information on varieties today I ran accross this description of the variety Trask:

A. s. 'Trask'
dark green at first, red when ripe ; larger than species ; oval ; earlier ripening, thicker skin, high quality for processing ; self-fruiting but more fruitful with pollination ; 'Nazemetz' pollinates it well.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to variety descriptions

    Bookmark   November 1, 2007 at 2:31AM
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larry_gene

Hmm...no phosphor glow, cannot be harvested at night.

Trask originates as bud sport of Coolidge.

other good info here

    Bookmark   November 3, 2007 at 4:16AM
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altadenamara

My Nazemetz bush is around twenty years old, and only fruited one year, around ten years ago. Hand pollination may be just the way to go for next year.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 1:05AM
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murkwell

But it does flower altadenamara?

Larry, I bumped into another variety description last night that mentioned some blushing or redness on feijoa as well. Funny thing is that same site had a description for Trask that didn't mention red at all.

I think I'm going to buy a Nazemetz and a Coolidge to go with my 4 seedlings. I'll have to figure out where to put them. I had negotiated with my next door neighbor to put one in the right of way between the sidewalk and street, but unfortunately she passed away before I got around to doing it :(

I hope the new resident will be as encouraging about the blackberry and grapes I'm growing on the fence between our properties.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 3:50PM
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larry_gene

murky, your land-expansion can't come soon enough!

I glanced out the window today and did not see any fruit on the ground yet. This is a very lazy way of determining ripeness.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 1:23AM
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altadenamara

Murky, my bush blooms most years. Don't know why I don't get fruit. Neighbors have other varieties of pineapple guavas, so it's probably not pollination.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 2:06AM
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larry_gene

Just wanted to wish this forum thread a happy 2nd anniversary. Although the Cult of the Feijoans is small, we should probably start a new topic for 2008.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2007 at 11:58PM
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amber_2008

Hi Guys
I have read your forum threads with enjoyment having eaten feijoas with great pleasure in New Zealand all my early life and now having moved temporarily to Australia from the UK. Yesterday I also bought a Feijoa sellowiana and wondered if anyone ever pruned their bushes at all. Thanks
Amber_2008

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 7:58PM
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larry_gene

Amber--it depends on the variety. Mine need pruning every year, but some have a more compact growth. In 2 years it will be obvious (if you stay that long).

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 12:24AM
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maricybele(8)

I just bought 2 Pineapple Guavas from 7 Dees Cedar Hills. They looked so healthy and I remembered my grandfather's fruit was so lovely! I am thrilled to hear I may be able to get fruit here in Oregon.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 4:36AM
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murkwell

maricybele,

Were they named varieties or seedlings?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2008 at 11:01AM
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martin-2008

I have a pineapple guava shrub which has not produced anything but blossoms for the past three years. What do I need to do to get it to fruit? Thanks. Martin=2008

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 4:23PM
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murkwell

You may need a second pineapple guava shrub, or it might be that you just don't have pollenizers.

Try taking a paintbrush when the flowers are in bloom and transfering pollen from one flower to the next.

It would be much better if you had flowers from a separate plant.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:51AM
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larry_gene

Martin, it looks like you are inland a bit, this plant does not fruit well in a hot climate. In many U.S. locations, it is intended as a flowering shrub only.

Try Murky's advice or try to determine if there are fruiting plants near you, this will tell you if it is possible to get fruit in your area.

Adequate water during and the weeks after bloom can be critical.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2008 at 1:32AM
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nelson20vt

Anyone have pics or a guide on how to hand pollinate these? Most of my flowers are falling off within a week and I have no idea where im supposed to transfer the pollin too. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 2:19PM
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nelson20vt
    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 3:16PM
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