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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - November 06, 2007

From: SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Flowering of pineapple guavas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have two pineapple guavas in their second year of planting. Both have grown extremely well, but have not flowered. I live in zone 9 near the Gulf and they receive normal irrigation. Do they take time to establish prior to bloom?

ANSWER:

The Feijoa sellowiana (Pineapple guava) is undergoing a name change; apparently, it is to be termed Acca sellowiana in the future. The pineapple guava is native to Paraguay, Uruguay, northern Argentina and southern Brazil. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the promotion and protection of plants native to North America. However, we are always happy to refer to websites with information on non-native plants, as well as to watch and warn about non-natives which might become invasive in North America.

This Floridata site has a very good description of the culture and uses of pineapple guava. The plants bloom in May and are covered with tiny orchid-like pink and crimson flowers. In research on the Internet, we found several mentions of guavas that had been in the ground for several years and had not bloomed yet, either. Several references were made to the need for cross pollination from another pineapple guava, but that would infer blooms, wouldn't it? Since you already have two, it looks like you're covered there. Without being able to find any definite recommendation on when a pineapple guava should be expected to show blooms, there are a couple of suggestions we would make. The first is that a plant only the second year in the ground probably is not settled enough yet to begin to bloom. It takes any woody plant a while to adjust to transplanting, and get all its systems in order. The second thought we have is that you might be over-fertilizing. Plants must bloom and fruit to satisfy their purpose in life, which is to reproduce more of themselves. However, if they are made TOO comfortable with fertilizing and coddling, they might decide they don't need to bother with reproducing, as they are not in any danger of dying. Also, over fertilizing tends to produce more leaves, causing there to be less energy available to produce blooms. So, consider a little more patience and a little less plant food, and we predict you'll be seeing blooms in a few years.

 

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