Guavas are highly productive trees and shrubs whose fruits have an exotic perfumed flavour. Guavas are a tropical looking fruit yet they are frost hardy and can be grown countrywide. Even in the coldest areas they can be grown in containers and protected during winter. Guavas are rich in vitamin C and are delicious eaten fresh, they can also be used in puddings and preserves. Guavas are self fertile – meaning they can be pollinated without the need for another plant.
Companions Comfrey, chives, marigold, borage, calendula
Quantity 1 -2 plants per household
Red Cherry Guava rounded red fruits with a tangy, sweet flavour. Very productive plants – good for making jam.
Yellow Cherry Guava produces round greenish yellow fruits that are slightly larger than Red Cherry Guava. Sweet tasting.
Plant container grown plants in spring.
Plant guavas in full sun – though they will tolerate some partial afternoon shade. Protect them from strong winds.
Guavas grow well in containers such as half barrels. 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.
Guavas grow well in most soils from clay to sandy. 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 and pine needles 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 two 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. Half barrels or large terracotta pots look good with guavas and they are the right size too. Use a standard compost. 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 bees and other insects.
Fruit ripen in late summer and autumn. Birds are attracted to trees when they become crowded with fruit. A carpet of windfalls often appears on the ground. Plants are often shaken with a tarp on the ground beneath them to catch fruit and cushion their fall. Alternatively you can pick fruit individually by hand – ripe ones come off very easily.
Storage: Once picked, guavas will go over quickly and deteriorate. Use them fresh or get coking!
Not much pruning required. After fruiting you can:
Trim hedges to maintain a good shape.
Cut out suckers from the base of plants.
Remove stems to improve shape of open growing plants.
Remove dead, diseased and spindly stems.
No real problems with guavas.