The tropical guava tree, Psidium guajava, is a large evergreen that features peeling bark, sweetly fragrant flowers and delicious fruit. The egg-shaped fruit develops a musky aroma as it ripens. In addition to being eaten fresh it is used to make jams and juices.
Apple Guava (Psidium Guajava), Illustration
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Though the 20 foot tree is usually evergreen, it may shed its prominently veined leaves briefly in the spring.
The Brazilian tropical guava performs best in hot, humid places like south Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and India. It is only hardy down to about 26 degrees F. Temperatures below 30 degrees may cause it to drop its leaves.
Other common names for this plant include lemon, apple or common guava.
Psidium guajava is a fast grower. It likes ample food and water. Exposure to drought conditions will delay flowering or cause the fruit to drop prematurely. Water it regularly and deeply for the best fruit quality.
Feed the tree every other month during warm weather. Use a fertilizer containing copper and zinc for at least one feeding per year. Otherwise, any complete fertilizer will do.
Alternatively, a nutritional spray can be used to supply the micronutrients the guava tree requires.
Hard pruning can be employed to keep the fruit low enough to be easily harvested. In Israel, these trees are routinely headed back to 6 feet every 2nd spring just for this purpose. This type of pruning will sometimes cause the trees to bear more heavily.
P. guajava pruned for easy harvesting at Palma Sola Botanical Park in Bradenton, FL.
In rainy years, fungal disease may become a problem. They can be controlled by spraying the tree with a copper fungicide.
P. guajava thrives on free-draining soil with a pH of 5-7. Avoid planting trees in soil known to be infested with nematodes. White fly and fruit fly may be a problem in some areas.
Propagation is by seed. Five inch root or tip cuttings can also be used. Seedlings will bear within 4 years.
Tropical guava is self-fruitful so you only need one tree to get a good crop.
Other Kinds of Guava:
Pineapple Guava Tree
In addition to producing fragrant fruit and tasty flowers the pineapple guava is an evergreen ornamental. The small gray-green leaves and cinnamon brown bark provide year-round beauty. In late spring, Feijoa sellowiana adorns itself with inch-wide red and white flowers.
Strawberry Guava Trees
Strawberry guava plants are beautiful evergreens with shedding cinnamon brown bark and sweet smelling white flowers. Psidium littorale (formerly known as Psidium cattleianum) is self fertile and produces a heavy crop of tart red fruit each year.
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