Chilean guavas are perfumed, aromatic, tangy small berries that can be eaten raw, scattered over muesli and fruit salads or used in sauces and made into preserves, jams and jellies. The fingernail-sized berries grow on highly productive small bushes or shrubs with evergreen leaves that make them suitable for trimming into neat hedges. Chilean guavas are frost hardy and can be grown countrywide. They can be grown in containers and clipped into topiary shapes. Fruit are rich in vitamin C. Chilean guavas are self fertile – meaning they can be pollinated without the need for another plant.
Companions Garlic, comfrey, borage, dill, chives, nasturtium
Quantity 1 - 2 plants per household
Plant container grown plants in spring.
Plant Chilean guavas in full sun – though they will tolerate some partial afternoon shade.
Guavas grow well in pots and containers. This means you can put them in your sunniest spot – say on a deck or terrace - if your veg garden doesn’t happen to be big on suntraps.
Chilean guavas grow well on fertile well-drained soils. If your soil is very sandy or slightly sticky and you want to improve it, you can well-rotted compost at the time of planting and continue to mulch with rich compost as your plants get established. You can always grow guavas in a raised bed filled with peat and well-rotted organic compost if you have a really sticky clay soil.
To grow a hedge space plants about three to every stride. Otherwise plant them at least one full stride apart if they are to grow as individuals. Soak plants in water before planting them.
Prepare the planting area. Soil should be weed-free and well dug through to at least a full spade’s depth. Add well-rotted compost if necessary and mix with surrounding garden soil. Carefully remove guava plants from containers by turning them upside down and holding the plant across the base of its stem with a spread hand. Tap the bottom of the container until the plant and its root ball come loose. Handle plants by the root ball to prevent damage to stems and shallow roots. Place guava plant in a hole that is just larger than the container it came in. Back fill around root ball making sure there are no air pockets. Water well and mulch with a finger-thick layer of compost, shredded bark or untreated sawdust.
If planting in a container ensure it is large enough. Use a fertile compost with a layer of drainage material such as scoria or broken pot fragments at the bottom. Add slow release granules or sheep pellets before planting. When guavas are grown in containers it pays to put them where you’ll easily monitor them to ensure soil is moist – particularly in dry weather.
Keep plants weed free and maintain constant moisture levels – this is especially important in the weeks during which the fruit swell and ripen.
Feed: As long as you maintain a nutrient rich layer of mulch around their base this should give them all they need but to give plants a boost you can feed them with a sprinkling of blood and bone meal around outer edge of foliage in spring and summer. Container grown plants may need more regular feeding with a constant layer of mulch maintained at all times and a sprinkling of blood and bone meal every spring and summer.
Flowering: Flowers appear in late spring and are pollinated by birds, bees and other insects.
Fruit ripen in late summer and autumn. The berries are a dark red, but just before they turn fully ripe their colour fades slightly to a paler pinkish tone and they swell to a more rounded shape. Birds are attracted to plants when they become crowded with fruit. Pick fruit individually by hand.
Storage: Once picked, Chilean guavas can be stored in the fridge. They are good for drying.
Not much pruning required apart from trimming to shape after harvest.
No real problems with Chilean guavas - other than hungry birds.