The feijoa is an evergreen shrub, native to South America, that is perfect for the maritime Pacific Northwest. It’s grown extensively in California and New Zealand. Copes well with our coastal winds. Grows to 8′ high and 5′ wide. Very open to being pruned and can be trimmed and trained to look more like a small tree. Can also be used as a hedge.
The foliage is on the gray side, with new growth being a brighter green. The bright white and pink to red flowers that come on are dramatic and the petals are edible – most would probably say that the sweet-tasting, fruity cotton candy-like petals are better than the fruit.
If harvesting the fruit, wait for it to fall — don’t pick it off the tree. When it’s ripe, it will fall to the ground. The pulp is eaten fresh or used in juices, sherbets and ice creams, jellies and jams, chutney, candies, and liquors including wines and feijoa-infused vodka from what I understand (some people also report using combining it with crushed ice and tequila in a blender but we haven’t tried this yet). I see Stash Tea also has a Brazilian Feijoa Black Tea blend.
Takes full sun here and prefers well-drained soil. Drought tolerant and hardy once established. The blossoms come on in late spring to early summer and the fruit matures in fall to early winter.
Believe the cultivar we’re familiar with and are growing is Coolidge, which originated in Australia and is said to be self-fertile (most cultivars of feijoa require a pollinater … best bet would be to get at least two if you can).
Feijoas can be a bit difficult to find around here. We finally tracked some down at Garden Elements nursery in Coos Bay.
Personal images will be posted soon. Until then, some beautiful pictures of pineapple guavas can be seen at:
Here’s a video showing the harvesting of pineapple guava fruit (it also gives more of an idea of the appearance of the leaves and plant itself for those who have never seen one):
Here’s a video showing the blossoms and demonstration of manually hand / cross pollinating the feijoa:
(2 in landscape…hand pollinated just in case)