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Feijoa potential in PNW

Posted by larry_gene USDA8b-OregonPDX (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 6, 12 at 1:29

There was interest from Brady about the recent mention of a fruiting feijoa. My plant has been in the ground nearly 20 years. It has fruited reliably for at least 15 years, although late bloom caused by a cold spring and early hard freezes by mid-December can greatly reduce the edible fruit count. All pictures below were taken in 2012.

The bush was blooming heavily by early July, a good sign. I think California fruit is already well-formed by that time.

Larger fruits on this plant are two ounces, somewhat small for feijoa. They fill out here in October and ripen in November.

Growth above the house gutter represents two growing seasons and will be pruned off after the 2012 harvest.

I've seen a dozen or more other feijoa plants around Portland and all have been much smaller and slow-growing with sharply-angled branching. Only two plants were well-fruited, and they were six feet apart. I've never read favorable reports from up north.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

Thanks for the pictures larry.Is that just one plant that fruits?What's the variety?
My two are still in containers while I decide what to do with them.One is suppose to be a Coolidge from One Green World and the other an unnamed from a local Seattle nursery.They probably grew about eight inches this year. Brady


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

Those are nice-looking young plants, 8 inches of growth is a good sign. Mine was about that size when purchased and fruited two years later when shoulder-high. The next hurdle will be having them bloom.

I have just the one plant, pictured above. The closest ones I am aware of are six blocks and perhaps 15 blocks away. My plant was not sold as a varietal, but simply as a generic pineapple guava.

I would recommend planting yours at least six feet apart.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

The one on the left came from the Seattle nursery and is a bit older.There were two or three flowers and I tried touching all of them to spread the pollen but nothing took.Is a paintbrush better?I watched a video where the guy was using about a two inch brush and going at it on the same plant.Will all Feijoas respond with fruit from their own flowers,like yours? Thanks,Brady


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

i have 'unique'. been in the ground for two years and has put on about 2" or so a year... being patient....


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

I have used a small brush, but lately have been simply using both hands as you can go twice as fast. Pollen from the anther tips is abundant. There is no obvious stigma as the style tapers to a point at the tip. Just get pollen onto the entire central style. The trick is of course to use fresh, viable pollen; by the time the filaments begin to fall off, it is too late.

I don't know about the ...all Feijoas respond... question, it works for mine. Different cultivars will be variably self-fertile.

Mine is a freakish plant compared to most I have seen. To keep the plant from dominating the yard, I pinch twice a year after every 12 inches of new growth. Harvested 4 pounds of fruit today, perhaps one-tenth of the crop.

Don't forget to eat the occasional petal, they are very tasty.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

That's a nice plant. I would love to see a crop like that on mine, but will feel lucky to just see some fruit on it some day. My plant doesn't flower every year and I don't know why not. It's been in the ground for quite a few years and it is slow growing. I have a smaller one in a pot too, but haven't figured out where to put it yet.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

While giving away fruit, I learned that the bush a few blocks away (variety Nazemetz) had made about 20 usable fruits, and about 20 more that did not fill out. The only bush of three in that yard to fruit.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

I have had one for about 7 years. It was in a gallon pot when I started and now it's about 7x7', sited in a very sunny and sheltered spot. It flowers every year, but I have never seen any sign of fruit. I do eat some of the flowers and they definitely get pollinated. Other than the novelty, it isn't that exciting of a plant and sometimes I even think about giving it the old heave-ho.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 12:58

The flowers are regionally unique and the leaves are silvery beneath. But it burns in cold winters.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

Yes, temps in mid-20s cause leaves to dull and many to fall after a few weeks; temps in the teens may defoliate the whole plant. Below 15 degrees is said to kill next year's flower buds. Fully re-leafed by the following July.

Just passed 40 harvest pounds yesterday.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 8:54

Then there's those years when it gets below 15 degrees F. I only see specimens of any vintage quite near salt water, up here minimum temperatures fall right off as you move inland. Tables of temperature records indicate Willamette Valley is colder than up here, with it getting worse (-15 degrees F. etc.) as you go down the Valley, through Salem to Eugene. Plant will be likely to be responding to hotter summers down there, but will also be at risk to occasional temperature plunges, same as up here.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

The problem I had with mine in Olympia was that there wasn't enough heat in summer to ripen the fruit before winter zapped them. Bloom was late, since our springs are late too, and fruits were just forming when frost came. I wouldn't consider them a fruiting plant up here, but you could harvest all the flower petals you want. Petals are good, and it's an attractive-enough plant, but I'd need a lot more garden space and a better heat trapping microclimate before I'd bother with one again.

Oregon gets a lot more heat in summer than we do. Linda on Denman Island may be having a heat-accumulation problem too.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

That might be...I would be happy just to see flowers every summer. I think it's a beautiful shrub in full flower and the petals are tasty.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 1:29

I've never seen fruit around here. One thing I noticed about the photo starting this thread was the amount of flowers all present at the same time - not what I have seen here.

Vancouver area summers are cooler than in Seattle, with Portland in turn being warmer still. The rather far-reaching influence of the Fraser Outflow extends well south of the international border, with paper birch groves coming down the I-5 corridor as far south as the vicinity of Marysville. Plants I can grow just north of Seattle don't last on Camano Island. Likely outcomes in SW BC depend on how much a particular site is affected by this phenomenon.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

It was another 1,000-blossom year here, perhaps half of those open at one peak time. About half the blossoms developed sizable fruit. A few laggard blooms opened in early Oct.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

bboy, I'm about a mile from you and similar distance from salt water and at a similar elevation. I rarely look at my plant close-up since its a bit of a scramble to get to, but I remembered that fruit was developing about two months ago, so today I decided to brave the rain and climb up there for a look. There are six fruits approaching 2" long, the largest nearly 1" wide, so I picked it. Its hard as a rock, I'll let it sit on the counter for a few days near other ripening fruit and see what happens.

The plant did bloom quite heavily. I built a raised bed from concrete chunks in a warm SW facing corner up against two existing concrete walls, seems to like it there.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

Interesting. And you do have to get right up to the bush to notice some scattered fruit. 2x1 fruit could be usable, 3 days at room temperature should soften them. I don't pick mine when rock-like, but you may be running out of time before a hard freeze.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

The final score here was 618 fruits weighing 63 pounds, harvested from 3Nov to 8Jan.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

larry gene,
That's great!If mine produce a tenth of that one year,I'd be ecstatic. Brady


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

The harvest total on my bush for 2013 was 83 pounds. Another 15 pounds were discarded due to rot, runts, or predation.

This is a similar yield to that of some commercial plantings.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

It looks like it gets better every year Larry.That gives me some hope.Thanks,Brady


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

You can grow the plants in the NW, like a Loquat, but I doubt you will get any fruit.


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RE: Feijoa potential in PNW

says the man who clearly didn't read the whole thread.


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