One of the many surprises in the garden occurs when a plant rewards its owner with natural beauty and natural bounty. Feijoa sellowiana, or pineapple guava, is one of my favorite shrubs because it is one of those plants.
It thrives in full sun and is drought tolerant, requiring very little supplemental watering once established. I have two Feijoa’s that get no irrigation all summer long! It has beautiful pale green, elliptical leaves with a whitish-green underside. I often recommend this shrub because of its natural beauty alone.
Sturdy branching structure allows the Feijoa to be maintained as a hedge, full shrub or small tree if limbed up. It looks nice either as a singular accent plant or in mass groupings to screen a fence or undesirable view. At maturity, it will reach between 10 and 15 feet tall and wide, but can be pruned in the spring to create the desirable size and shape. Generally, I like them around seven to eight feet high—just tall enough to make a fence disappear.
The shrub produces beautiful pink and white flowers that turn into kiwi-sized, edible fruit in the fall. They fall from the shrub when they are ripe, so simply collect them from the ground, rinse them and cut them in half. They are tasty as is—just scoop out the inside flesh with a spoon and eating right away. The fruit is also a nice addition to smoothies. Some say the fleshy fruit tastes like a cross between pineapple and strawberry. Some enjoy the skin, which is very tart, and contrasts nicely with the taste of the sweet flesh. There are also recipes for jams, pies and even wine! Nutritionally, it is a great source of Vitamin C, low in calories and high in minerals, fiber and antioxidants.
So, plant a Feijoa sellowiana in your yard – its beauty and bounty will reward you for years to come.