It is native to extreme southern Brazil, northern Argentina, western Paraguay and Uruguay and is common in mountainous regions.
Sub-tropical, with low humidity. Optimum rainfall is 700 - 1000mm. It prefers locations with a cool spell for part of the year. It can survive sub-freezing temperatures. It is drought-resistant but needs adequate water for fruit production. It can tolerate partial shade and slight exposure to salt spray.
The plant is a bushy shrub 1 to 6m or more in height. The evergreen, opposite, short-petioled, elliptical leaves are thick and leathery, glossy dark green on the top and silvery grey and slightly fuzzy on the underside. It can be clipped into a hedge and is very ornamental, with showy red and white flowers.
Myrtaceae Family. Related to guavas, rose apple, pitanga, grumichama, and many more.
It prefers rich organic soil, slightly acid and well-drained, and is not very thrifty on light or sandy terrain.
Can be grown from seed, but they often are not true to type. Potting soil should be sterile, as young plants are very susceptible to damping-off. Plants can be marcotted; grafting is less successful. Cuttings are also difficult but bottom heat and rooting hormones will help.
There are many cultivars. Mammoth, Apollo, Triumph, David, Large Oval, and Chapman are just some of them.
The flowers are bisexual, large and showy, red and white. The plump, fleshy white petals are sweet and edible: good as garnish on salads. Bees or birds can pollinate the flowers, but there is considerable self-incompatibility. There should always be at least two different cultivars for cross pollination. To be sure of a crop, best to hand-pollinate.
Plants need little care once they are established, other than pruning to restrict lanky growth. Feijoa has a shallow, fibrous root system which should be left undisturbed. If growing feijoas for their fruit, do not add fertilisers high in N. It needs plentiful water during fruiting.
Good. Well-clipped hedges are used as windbreaks around orchards.
The fruit is borne on young growth. The plant has a tendency to become very leggy. These two factors indicate that pruning should begin early on young plants, to encourage them to become bushy with lots of fruiting tips. Prune the fruiting branches back as soon as fruit is harvested, to allow time for new shoots to grow for the next harvest.
The fruits are berries and can take many shapes, from round to oblong or pear-shaped. The skin is thin and green, can be blushed with purple or red, and can be smooth or slightly ridged and warty. There are persistent calyx segments adhering to the apex. The flesh, 60-70% of the whole fruit, is white to creamy yellow, with a slightly granular texture, with many very small seeds. The flavour is sweet or subacid and fruity with about 10% soluble sugars. The whole fruit emits a pleasant perfume as it nears maturity.
It is best to allow the fruits to fall to the ground when they are ready; the flavour will be better than fruit picked prematurely. Keep the ground below the plant clear of thick weeds. A padding layer of clean, dry leaves or straw will help to avoid bruising. It is best to store the fruits in a cool place: their shelf life in a warm place is only a few days.
Eaten fresh, scooped out with a spoon. Can be made into a wide range of desserts, jams, ice creams and drinks. It can be dried.
Fruit fly, otherwise few insect pests. Birds.
It is a very tough and hardy plant, attractive and fruitful.