Growing Guava

(Question)

Where can I find guava seeds or leaves? I wish to grow the plant.

(Answer)

There are 3 basic types of guava that can be grown in containers in our climate. All are semi-tropicals and must be protected from heavy frost:

  • Tropical guava (Psidium guajava). They grow up to 15 feet tall and this is the typical guava that we know.
  • Strawberry guava (Psidium littorale). These are more like shrubs and grow up to 12 fee tall.
  • Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) are the hardiest plants, as they tolerate some frost.

If you use seeds, these must be fresh. They can be purchased online or you can use seeds from the fruit you buy at the grocery store. The seeds are tough and are viable for several months, although germination takes from 2 to 8 weeks. It is recommended to boil the seeds in water for 5 minutes or let them soak in water for 2 weeks before planting, in order to soften the tough outside layer and to promote germination.

Cuttings or layerings are more commonly used to propagate guava trees than growing the plants from seed. A plant grown from seed will likely never produce fruit and usually grows into a plant that does not resemble the parent plant.  However, if you are lucky and the plant does yield fruit, it may take up to 8 years.

So….it’s best to purchase a guava plant grown from a graft or cutting.

We are not permitted to suggest sources of seeds or plants, but you may want to search the Internet for seed catalogues that include guava seeds. If you decide to opt for a plant, check out your local nursery – they may carry tropical plants, including guava.

For additional information, see The Globe & Mail’s “How you can grow your own tropical fruit, even in winter”,  which includes a lot of helpful information about growing plants like guava indoors.