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Acca sellowiana

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Feijoa sellowiana
Description

Pineapple guava is a South American native which does indeed produce the luscious Guava fruit but is also an exotically handsome shrub whose dramatic flowers could be the subject of a Georgia O'Keefe painting.

Guava is an evergreen shrub that will reach 10 to 15 ft. in height with an equal spread in tropical areas but is more often seen in warm temperate zones (like coastal North Carolina) at 5-6 feet with an equal spread.  The shrub's habit is relatively dense in colder areas where late frosts and severe cold nip branch tips in the bud, but it can grow to be open and spreading in warmer areas where nature relies on horticulturists to do the pruning. Guava is a handsome evergreen shrub with unique character that would warrant a place in many gardens even if it never flowered, but the blooms of this plant are such treasures that they steal the show from the plant's other attributes.

This shrub is moderately salt tolerant and is particularly handsome in coastal type landscapes with its silvery leaves and colorful flowers. Guava is only reliably cold hardy on the coast and in eastern Piedmont but it can be grown in sheltered locations throughout the lower elevations of the southeast. It makes a dramatic large container specimen on a patio or near a walk and can be pruned to control its spread following flowering. Landscape plants have been known to survive and re-emerge after being killed to the ground.

There are several cultivars of Acca sellowiana which have been selected primarily for fruit production. 'Coolidge', 'Nazemata' and 'Pineapple Gem' are all good self-pollinating selections, while 'Superba' is a round-fruited form that needs to be planted with another cultivar for good fruit set, and 'Variegata' has white variegated foliage. Propagation of Guava is most reliable from seed which has been separated from the ripe fruit, but cuttings taken in summer are rooted for the propagation of named cultivars.

Acca sellowiana is an amazingly dramatic shrub in bloom that carries unique character into the garden through twelve months of the year with its silvered, evergreen foliage. This spectacular landscape plant is the parent of a familiar tropical fruit, the Guava - a unique landscape ornamental and tropical fruit that deserves much wider use in southeastern gardens. 

It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade.  Consistent soil moisture is important to produce quality fruits.  Water deeply and regularly and provide mulch to add nutrients and protect the shallow roots. It also prefers moist, well-drained soil with full sun giving best flowering and fruiting, but it will tolerate a range of less than ideal soils, from sand to heavy clay. It will also perform well in partial shade (albeit with somewhat reduced flowering and fruitset).    

This plant was formerly known as Feijoa sellowiana.

Cultivars:
  • 'Coolidge'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Kawatiri'
  • 'Nazemata'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Nazemetz'
  • 'Pineapple Gem'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Superba'
    Rounded fruit
  • 'Variegata'
    White variegated foliage
Tags:
#tropical#evergreen#sun#showy flowers#birds#small tree#full sun#partial shade#edible#specimen#shrub#container plant#wildlife plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#winter interest#interesting leaves#espalier#patio#playground#year-round interest#clay#coastal#food source#pink flower#sand
Cultivars:
  • 'Coolidge'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Kawatiri'
  • 'Nazemata'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Nazemetz'
  • 'Pineapple Gem'
    Self-pollinating
  • 'Superba'
    Rounded fruit
  • 'Variegata'
    White variegated foliage
Tags:
#tropical#evergreen#sun#showy flowers#birds#small tree#full sun#partial shade#edible#specimen#shrub#container plant#wildlife plant#pink flowers#salt tolerant#winter interest#interesting leaves#espalier#patio#playground#year-round interest#clay#coastal#food source#pink flower#sand
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acca
    Species:
    sellowiana
    Family:
    Myrtaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Flowers are edible and can be added to salads. Fruits are edible, cut in half and scoop out pulp with a spoon.
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    South America, Tropical
    Wildlife Value:
    Fruits attract birds. This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Play Value:
    Wind Screen
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is seldom damaged by deer.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Shrub
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Open
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    12-24 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Blue
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    Guava fruit is 1-3" long with a waxy blue-gray-green skin with a green edible inner pulp. Ripe fruits can be harvested by placing a tarp under the tree and shaking. Ripe fruits have a perfumy fragrance and taste like mint-apple or pineapple-mint. Tree-ripened fruit will have better flavor than fruit ripened indoors. The flowers develop into green fruit that mature into yellow berries 2-4 inches long with a lush, pineapple-like taste. Fruitset is variable with certain cultivars selected for fruit production giving optimal fruit production. Fruitset may require, and is definitely is optimized by, placing several plants in relatively close proximity to each other.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of flowers 1" across bloom May-June with fleshy white petals tinged purple with red stamens and yellow pollen. The flower can be 2 inches wide and their coloring is so contrasted and rich that it nearly defies description. A ring of snowy white sepals arches back and down gracefully to reveal velvety magenta petals surrounding an upright tuft of brushy, cherry-red stamens that are each dusted with bright gold pollen. The sepals are petal-like bracts on the outer edge of flowers which are tasty to eat themselves, right off the plant! The blooms are tucked throughout the plant among the foliage. It is always a special surprise when the first Guava flower opens each year in late spring.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Leathery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Evergreen, green above and whitish pubescence on the underside giving it a silvery appearance underneath, thick, leathery, short-petioled, egg shaped leaves (to 2-3” long and 1” wide) ovate or elliptical. These interesting evergreen leaves provide good winter interest.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat
    Salt