A native plant in Southern Mexico, guava is a fruit that you can easily grow in your own garden. You can even find several gardeners growing guava in the US, specifically in Hawaii, Florida, some parts of Texas, and Southern California.
You will also love the fact that you can grow this fruit in a pot. It is going to be very rewarding since you will only need a small pot or container then enjoy a lot of harvest for the whole family.
Quick Facts About the Guava Tree (Psidium Guajava)
- Common name: Guava
- Botanical name: Psidium guajava
- Type of plant: Broadleaf evergreen shrub
- Type of soil and pH level: Well-draining and rich soil; 4.5 to 7.0 pH level, which is mainly acidic to neutral
- Size upon maturity: 4 to 20 feet – If you grow your guava fruit or tree indoors, it is possible that it will be smaller than that range.
- Bloom time: Spring season most of the time
- Sun exposure: Full sun
- Color of flowers: White
- Native Area: Southern Mexico, South and Central America, the Caribbean
- Hardiness zones: 8 to 11 USDA zones
- Related species: Cattley guava, Costa Rican guava, Brazilian guava, Malay apple, rose apple, Java apple, Surinam cherry, water apple
A Short Description of Guava Trees
Guavas refer to small tropical plants capable of growing up to 5 to 6 meters or 20 feet on average. When pruned properly, the height will not go over 3 meters, making it ideal to grow in a container.
The tropical guava can also be classified as a small tree or shrub with a single trunk or a multi-stemmed one. This fruit tree also features long serrated guava leaves that are around three to seven inches and sit on top of a short and wide canopy. It also features a mottled green bark.
Another thing that you will notice in guava plants is that they have white flowers capable of producing fruits shaped like a pear or oval. Each pear-shaped or oval-shaped fruit could be around two to five inches. The fruit will also have a different color and fruit depending on the variety. It could have yellow, red, white, and pink guava fruit.
Tropical guavas can also have black, purple, yellow, green, and red skin. As for its flesh, it could be red, yellow, coral, or white. Ripe guavas also feature moist and sweet fruits and flesh with nice scents. It also has small, edible, and hard seeds.
You can half and eat the ripe fruit from the shell or slice and combine them with other fruits. You can also create sorbets, mousses, and sauces from pureed guava. Other ways to enjoy these tropical fruits would be in the form of jams, preserves, jellies, and juices.
If you are interested in growing guava, then be aware that it has several varieties – among which are the following:
This guava variety features an incredible white fruit that tends to turn light yellow. It is one of those tropical guava varieties that you can eat fresh.
This variety got its name because of its unique strawberry taste or flavor. The fact that strawberry guavas are so tasty is the reason why you can eat them right after plucking or harvesting them from the tree.
Pineapple guavas boast of their larger fruits capable of ripening during the late fall. You can eat it raw or use it in creating desserts, salads, pies, and jams. This variety also features purple and white flowers that are edible.
Lemon guavas feature yellow flesh and yellow skin and boast of their unique lemon taste. This tropical fruit tree is a bit smaller, so it is the ideal choice for you if you only have limited space.
Red Indian Guava
This variety is native to Florida and is medium to large in size. Many love this because of its strong and sweet scent. It features a yellow and pink rind as well as several seeds. You can eat it raw or right after picking it provided it is ripe.
This attractive variety boasts of its red guava fruit and leaves that are also a bit red. As for its flowers, you will notice that it comes in bright pink.
Also called the tropical yellow guava, the Mexican cream variety is famous for its tender and sweet flesh, which makes it perfect for desserts. This guava tree features a more upright structure compared to other varieties of guava.
Tropical White Guava
Many are also fond of growing the tropical white guava variety because of its sweet and tender fruits and its nice scent. It also has white and creamy flesh. It is a native tree in Southern Mexico, but you can now find it in Southeast Asia, India, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Africa, and the Pacific tropics.
It also features white flowers as well as a feathery stamen. Expect this tropical fruit to grow really well in subtropic temperatures and by using soil that has moderate moisture.
How to Pick the Correct Guava Fruit Variety?
With the many common guava varieties that you can access right now, it is advisable to pick the correct one. As much as possible, pick a variety that perfectly fits your garden. Find out how tall the varieties will grow so you can find the right fit.
In most cases, dwarf guavas can reach around three feet. Meanwhile, standard cultivars can grow around 12 feet or even taller. You can also find varieties that can grow almost 30 feet when cultivated in tropical climates.
One thing that you should know about pollinating guavas is that most of these plants are self-fruitful. Several cultivars can do the best fruit production if you cross-pollinate them with another variety.
You can also expect some guavas to bloom the entire year. Note, though, that the moment when you can expect that there will be the heaviest bloom is during the spring, specifically at the start of the warm weather. This is the time when you will have a more productive tree.
When it comes to finding the best pollinators of guava, the ultimate choices are honeybees.
Guava Planting Requirements
For you to be successful in planting and growing guava, here are the specific requirements you have to meet first:
When it comes to zones, the one that is ideal for growing guava is in the range of 8 to 11. With that said, it will thrive really well in several parts of Hawaii, Texas, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Florida, and California.
It is also possible to grow guava plants in pots or containers, making it possible for you to bring these plants indoors in case of an extremely cold climate. The reason is that guavas are not fond of the cold. In fact, if you still have young guava trees, there is a possibility for them to die when exposed too much to the hard winter.
Pick a spot for your guava tree that allows it to receive full sun. It is the key to the plant’s survival. In case your place is too hot and sweltering, a partial shade will do. The goal is to give your guava trees just enough sunshine.
When it comes to growing guava, take note that it is capable of withstanding most types of soil but can be expected to perform really well when you use a well-rotted and rich organic matter. This tree is also fond of growing in well-drained soil.
It can withstand waterlogged soil, too, but only for a short period before it dies off and wilts. Guavas are also fond of being in soils with pH levels of around 4.5 to 7.0.
It is important to factor in your chosen guava tree variety’s size once it gets mature when spacing them in your garden. If you have plans of growing more than one tree, the spacing should be around 15 to 25 feet between each one.
This should be enough to accommodate the tall growth of the most common guava trees that also have wide-reaching growth habits.
How to Plant Guava Using Seeds?
It is possible for you to plant guavas from seeds but note that it would be better to get the guava seeds for planting from a retailer instead of directly from fruit. The reason is that they have low germination rates.
Also, note that guava seeds feature a hard exterior layer, so it is advisable to soak them in water first for around ten to fifteen days. Once that period is over, you can plant it in a small pot with a high-quality seed mix.
The germination process can be expected to go on for around three to ten weeks. Ensure that you maintain a temperature of around 77 degrees Fahrenheit during that period. Upon noticing that the guava plant is already twelve inches long, transplant it outside.
Just don’t forget to harden it off for around a week before you put it in the ground. One more thing that you should know is that it takes around three years for the guava tree to produce fruits if you use seeds for growing it.
Growing Guava Fruit Through Cuttings
Apart from seeds, it is also possible for you to grow the guava tree from cuttings. In this case, you should remember that this particular method requires a certain level of humidity and temperature.
Also, note that if you decide to use root cuttings, you have to make sure that it is in a warm climate. The only thing you should do, in this case, is to snip away a cutting that is around four to six inches long. Put the cuttings guava in a growing medium that drains well and receives bright light.
Growing Guavas in a Pot or Container
One thing that you may have already known about the guava tree is that it tends to grow large, even reaching around fifteen to twenty feet. However, if you grow it in a pot or container, you will have to deal with smaller size – around 5 to 8 feet.
If you plan to grow your guava tree in a pot or container, then you have to pick the right size. In most cases, the standard pot or container that is around 12 to 14 inches is a good starting point if you plan to grow a medium-sized guava variety that you got from a nursery.
You can then repot this after a couple of years and depending on the plant’s growth. The pot should be bigger compared to the previous one. In general, a large pot that is around 20 to 24 inches is usually the right size capable of accommodating a grown-up or mature guava tree.
Also, take note that your guava in a pot or container also has its own specific set of requirements. Here are just a few of the things you need to provide your guavas in a pot:
As you grow your guava tree in your chosen pot or container, you have to pick a spot that allows the plant to receive at least six to seven hours of direct sunlight every day. Provide the plant with as much sunlight as possible as it is necessary for the healthy growth of your guava and when it comes to improving fruit production.
Pick a high-quality potting mix for your guava in a pot. Create your own substrate composed of equal parts of soil, sand, and compost. Ensure that the resulting pH level is around 5.5 to 7.5. You should then work on using organic matter, like well-rotted cow manure, in amending your chosen growing medium for these potted plants.
Mature guava trees grown in a pot or container can withstand temperatures that are lower than 20 degrees F. You have to protect these mature trees from the cold drafts. You should also consider bringing the guava indoors in case you are in a place that gets really cold during the winter.
While your guava tree is still young or in the stage of developing flowers, you should provide it with sufficient water. Ensure that you water your young plants deeply and regularly, thereby keeping the soil surface a bit moist.
This should help in making them develop sweeter and juicier fruits. Do not forget to water the topsoil in case you feel like it is a bit dry to your touch.
Caring for the Guava Tree
After you have planted your guava tree, the next thing you should do is give your guava proper care. In this case, your focus should be on the following elements:
One thing to note about guava is that it seems to have a positive and good response to monthly fertilizing. If you still have young guava plants in a pot, which means that it does not bear fruits yet, use a fertilizer with a 6:6:6:2 ratio (N P K Mg) as a means of speeding up its growth.
Once you notice that the trees begin to bear fruits, you can alter the fertilizer composition to 8:3:9:2.
Your guava trees also need regular mulching using organic matter as a means of retaining soil moisture. You also have to mulch to insulate the roots of this plant once the winter season comes.
It is also crucial to prune your guava tree regularly to ensure that it stays in the size and shape you desire. Pruning guava is essential for diseased, damaged, dry, and dead branches anytime.
An effective way to do this would be cutting back unbranched and long branches and shoots that cross each other. They are also the ones that penetrate the rays of the sun at the start of the tree’s growing season or after the harvest period.
It would also be good for your guava tree to be thinned regularly. With thinning, you should not let each branch hold more than four guava fruits. Thinning the fruit is also advisable in case it develops on a weak and small branch.
Protecting it from the Cold
Part of caring for your guava tree will also always include giving it protection from frost and cold weather. In that case, make it a point to use a plant blanket as a cover for your guava tree. This is important especially if the frost serves as a threat to the health and life of your plants.
Alternatively, you can put on a frame around your guava plant. You should then use a clear plastic sheet as a means of covering the frame. You can increase warmth by putting a string of electric lights inside the frame. It is also helpful to move your guavas in a container into a warm and protected spot.
If you are successful in planting guava and taking care of it, expect it to be ready for harvest after around three to eight years of planting. Generally, the fruit is ready for picking once it starts to change its color.
For instance, the red guava can be expected to turn yellow or green. Meanwhile, white guavas become either light green or deep green. It is also possible to smell fruits that could be musky and sweet.
If you find such fruits, squeeze them. Find out whether they are firm or come with a bit of give. The fruit is ready for picking if after squeezing, the result is that they have a bit of a give.
Also, take note that the right timing is necessary when harvesting guava. The reason is that picking it too early may only result in the picked fruit not tasting good. However, this does not necessarily mean that you also have to wait for a really long time as it may only cause these fruit trees to become the easy target of fruit flies.
After picking, put the guava in a paper bag or a counter so it will further ripen. Speed up the ripening process by putting it inside a bag that also has an apple or banana. If it is already ripe, store the fruit in the fridge for up to one week. If the fruit is not yet completely ripe, you can still pick it and store it in a cool spot for several weeks.
Pests and Diseases to Handle
Guava trees are often really tough. However, you should still monitor them and watch out for common garden pests. Among the pests that can affect guavas are the following:
Caribbean Fruit Fly
This is one of the most commonly found pests that affect guavas in Florida. Deal with it right away as guava fruits infested by it will become unsuitable for eating. To prevent the infestation of Caribbean fruit flies, use a paper bag to cover the fruit that is currently developing once it reaches around one inch.
Another pest that may affect your guava plant is the guava moth. It has a larva that tunnels into your fruit, which is the reason why it will suddenly become inedible. The moth also tends to feed on your plant’s leaves.
In most cases, the larvae have a white color and a head colored black. You have to cover the fruit using a paper bag just like when dealing with the fruit fly. You also have to spray approved biological control agents as a means of reducing the damage that the pest costs.
Coming in a greenish-yellow color, as well as a whitish wax covering, this whitefly tends to feed on the leaves of your guava plant. This specific fruit fly also features dusky wings along with a dark area close to each wing’s central part.
A wide range of scales also tends to attack not only the leaves of guava but also the fruit and stems. You have to warrant the correct control measure if you detect this fruit fly coming in damaging numbers.
Apart from fruit flies, your guava may also encounter problems linked to the attack of red-banded thrips on the leaves. This attack may result in defoliation and an attack, which may cause the peel to brown. It would be a big help to inspect the presence of this pest in your guava plants during the fall or summer.
Several kinds of nematodes also tend to attack the roots of guava trees growing in various environments, similar to what fruit flies often do. If you are still unfamiliar with nematodes, then note that they refer to microscopic roundworms.
You will notice that the plant has been attacked by nematodes if you find the tree losing its vigor or experiencing stunted growth, leaf yellowing, leaf wilting, and symptoms of leaf nutrient deficiency.
It is advisable to avoid planting your guava tree in any area known for having severe nematode issues. You can also lower the infestation of nematodes with the aid of fertilizer, correct watering, and mulching.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take for a guava tree to bear fruit?
If you decide to grow guava from seeds, it takes around eight years for it to produce fruit, especially for the parent plant. Also, take note that it is common to propagate this tree through cuttings and air layering. If that is the case, expect the fruit to come out once the tree reaches around three to four years.
Is guava easy to grow?
Yes. Guavas are very easy to grow, though, they are not perfect choices if you are in a place with chilly weather. Most of these plants suit USDA hardiness zones of 9 and above.
There are also hardy varieties capable of withstanding zone 8. Growing one is so easy that you can also do it indoors.
Can guava grow in pots?
Yes, you can even put the guava trees in a pot indoors. Note, though, that when grown in a pot, it would be a lot smaller than the usual height.
Is it hard to grow guava?
Not at all. You just have to make sure that you provide your guava trees with the right environment and proper care and attention.