Guåhan Sustainable Culture
Educate. Cultivate. Nourish.
Known locally as åbas, the guava fruit is one of my most gregarious of fruit treats and is present all over the world in tropical climates. The chief pollinator of guavas is the honeybee and it thrives in both humid and dry climates, making it exceptionally easy to grow here in Guam!
Time of Planting: Dry season; Sunny spot.
Spacing Requirements: Plant seeds 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart and 1/4-inch deep. 20-30 ft. (6-9 m).
Seed can be sown in beds, pots or directly in the field at a depth of 1 cm
Time to Germination: within 15 – 20 days. Seedlings may flower within 2-3 years; Trees reach full potential after 5 – 8 years, depending on growing conditions and spacing.
Pruning Requirements: Pruning of young trees is necessary to encourage development. This is achieved by cutting back existing lateral branches at 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 ft). During the first year of growth, 3 to 4 of the lateral branches should be allowed to grow 60 to 90 cm (24-36 in) before tips are cut to encourage further branching. any new shoots formed by this process should also be tipped when they reach 60 to 90 cm (24-36 in). Pruning of established trees should be carried out to retain a manageable height and to open out the canopy.
Special Considerations: For maximum production, the plant needs to be watered consistently, especially during dry season. The plant can become invasive in certain conditions. The first step to growing guava from seed is to break the seed dormancy (see How to Save Guava Seeds section).
Disease: algal leaf spot, fungal anthracnose, Pseudocercospora leaf spot, rust; these diseases can typically be controlled with appropriate fungicides.
Pests: fruit flies, guava weevil, scale insect, thrips; most pests can be controlled with an appropriate insecticide.
Harvest (when and how): Flowers in dry season (April-August).
Eating: Can be eaten raw or cooked. Light-green or lemon-yellow when ripe, round, oval or pear-shaped, 2-4" long. Guavas are often placed in two categories: white (or yellow) flesh and pink (or red) flesh. The white are sometimes eaten before they are fully ripe when crispy, the pink are eaten when ripe. Seeds are numerous and small, hard and inedible in the white, softer and edible in the pink. The flavor varies tremendously among cultivars.
Storing: The fruit will continue to ripen after being picked and last 3-5 days at room temperature if ripe. After just ripening, if refrigerated without wrapping, they will last up to 4 weeks.
Cleaning and Processing: Must break seed dormancy. This can be done in two ways:
1) Place the seeds in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes
2) Soak the seeds in water for two weeks prior to planting.
Both of these allow the seed coat to soften and, thus, hasten germination.
Storage and Viability: Should be planted soon after extraction from fruit or following breaking the seed dormancy (see above).
This article was researched and written by: