Feijoa sellowiana, commonly known as pineapple guava or candy fruit, is an evergreen perennial shrub or small tree of the myrtle family that typically matures to 10-15’ tall and as wide, but infrequently will rise to as much as 25’ tall. It is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina and Columbia. It is cultivated as an ornamental for appreciation of its evergreen foliage, flowers and fruit and/or as a fruiting tree/shrub for harvest of its edible fruit. It is occasionally grown in the U.S. from Florida to Texas and California, but fruiting can sometimes be unreliable in these areas. Although fruits are often commercially sold where they are grown, they are rarely exported to other locations because they bruise easily.
Evergreen, thick, leathery, short-petioled, egg shaped leaves (to 2-3” long and 1” wide) are bluntly elliptical. Leaves are soft green above and silvery-green beneath. Flowers (to 1” across) bloom singly or in clusters in spring (May – June). Each flower has fleshy white petals tinged inside with purple and contrasting red stamens tipped with yellow pollen. Flowers are edible and may be added to salads. Flowers are followed by rounded to pear-shaped fruits (1-3” long) which have waxy blue-green or gray-green skins surrounding a greenish, edible, inner pulp. Fruits fall to the ground at maturity and should be promptly gathered and eaten. When fruits begin to ripen, put a tarp under the tree, shake the tree every couple of days and gather the fallen fruit. Ripe fruit has a perfume-like fragrance and a pineapple-spearmint to mint-apple flavor. Ripe fruit may be eaten by slicing the fruit in half or in quarters and scooping out the pulp with a spoon. Tree-ripened fruit is generally better tasting than fruit picked off the shrub and ripened indoors on the kitchen window sill.
- Put a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite into a pot with drainage holes in the base. The soil should be moist and well-drained. It is better to use a sterile growing medium to prevent dampening off.
- Sow the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds. Keep the soil moist but not wet. The seeds take three weeks to germinate.
- When the plants are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted.