Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Tropical Green Guava (Psidium guajava L.)

Guavas are evergreen, shallow-rooted shrubs or small trees to 33 ft, with spreading branches. Growth in California is rarely over 10 - 12 feet. The bark is smooth, mottled green or reddish brown and peels off in thin flakes to reveal the attractive "bony" aspect of its trunk. The plant branches close to the ground and often produces suckers from roots near the base of the trunk. Young twigs are quadrangular and downy.
Guavas are primarily self-fruitful, although some strains seem to produce more fruit when cross-pollinated with another variety. Guavas can bloom throughout the year in mild-winter areas, but the heaviest bloom occurs with the onset of warm weather in the spring. The exact time can vary from year to year depending on weather. The chief pollinator of guavas is the honeybee.

How to grow
The guava will tolerate many soil conditions, but will produce better in rich soils high in organic matter and well-drained.
The tropical guava is best adapted to the warm climate of Florida and Hawaii, although it can be grown in coastal Southern California, and with some protection, selected areas north to Mendocino County. Guavas actually thrive in both humid and dry climates, but can survive only a few degrees of frost. The tree will recover from a brief exposure to 29° F but may be completely defoliated. Young trees are particularly sensitive to cold spells. Older trees, killed to the ground, have sent up new shoots which fruited 2 years later. Guavas can take considerable neglect, withstanding temporary waterlogging and very high temperatures. They tend to bear fruit better in areas with a definite winter or cooler season. The adaptability of the guava makes it a serious weed tree in some tropical areas. The smaller guava cultivars can make an excellent container specimen.

Maturity period
2 to 3 years (bear first fruit)

Nutrition info
Guavas are often considered superfruits, being rich in vitamins A and C, omega-3 and -6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and especially high levels of dietary fiber.
Health benefit
This fruit could help diabetics with its sugar-lowering. It's fruit extract may have constricting properties on skin, which makes it a potential skin irritant when used regularly

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