The guava tree is native to Central and South America and grows to around 20-33 ft in height. While the tree itself is reasonably attractive, it is most commonly cultivated for the delicious fruits. When sliced open, guava fruits can look very similar to watermelon, however the flavour is much stronger, often said to be a heady cross between pears and strawberries.
If you’re interested in learning how to grow a guava tree then this guide is for you…
Methods for Growing Guavas
There are a number of different ways you can grow a guava tree. Two of the most popular methods are by seed or from a cutting taken from a mature plant.
Growing a Guava Tree from Seed
Guavas can easily be grown from seed, though of course it can take some time for your tiny seedling to begin bearing its own fruit. Like many thick-shelled seeds, guavas tend to germinate most successfully when they are allowed to soak in lukewarm water before sowing. An effective solution is to fill a clear container such as a glass jar with water, drop the seeds in, and then place the container on a sunny windowsill to keep it warm.
After 24 hours or so the seeds can be planted into containers filled with rich compost. Covering the flower pots can help to keep the seeds warm and prevent the growing medium from drying out. Both can increase the germination rate while keeping your ongoing care to a minimum. I like to place my pots into clear plastic bags, which permit a great view of germination while creating a mini greenhouse for the plants.
Guava seeds can grow surprisingly quickly so try to ensure that each seed has plenty of space. To minimize regular transplanting it is often to place just one or two seeds into each pot, permitting them plenty of room in which to grow.
Growing a Guava Tree from Cuttings
If you have access to a mature guava tree then a quicker way to start your own plant is to take some cuttings. Look for young, healthy branches of at least 20 cm in length. As with all cuttings, one of the most important steps to success is removing the cutting with a very sharp knife or razor blade to create a clean cut. For best results aim to cut the stick at the very end of the branch’s node.
After cutting the stick, place it in a warm glass of water in a sunny position. You can keep it here until you start to see roots growing out of the bottom. Once these roots reach a few inches in length your cuttings can be removed from the water and potted up like proper plants. Just as with seedlings, you should avoid the risk of your cuttings drying out by regular watering them and/or placing them into a propagator until they become established.
Tips for Growing Guava Trees
Once established, whether from seed or from cuttings, guava trees can be planted outdoors (if your climate permits it) or can be transplanted into large containers to be grown in greenhouses or conservatories.
Guava trees tend to grow best in a spot that has full sun for most of the day and one that has a nice sandy, acidic soil. This soil will help to remove excess water to prevent root rot, allowing your guava tree to flourish.
Guava trees are tropical plants so they don’t do well in cold conditions. If you garden in more temperate areas then your tree is likely to benefit from some additional insulation during the cooler months. Horticultural fleece can be wrapped around your tree, with straw stuffed inside for further warmth. Guava trees grown in pots can be easier to manage, as these can simply be brought indoors as the season starts to turn.
Pruning guava trees are important as they can grow very tall, making them unmanageable in all but the largest gardens. Tall branches can also block sunlight from the tree which can result in limited fruiting. Pruning once a year is a quick and easy way to keep your plant in good shape while maximizing fruiting.