Strawberry guava (Cattley Guava) is a relative of the common yellow guava with strawberry-sized red fruits. It is native to the costal areas of eastern Brazil, but it is an adaptable plant that can be grown wherever it will not experience hard freezing. Mature plants are hardy down to about 22 degrees Fahrenheit. In areas where the winters are cooler, it is usually grown as a container plant that is brought indoors for the harsher months. A pot of about 24” in diameter is suitable as the plants can be kept at 3-4’ if they are pruned. Many growers even choose to grow these plants as a bonsai. On the other hand, they can be allowed to grow upwards of 25 feet in height. Strawberry Guava is self-fertile and will produce fruits abundantly. They are also commonly grown as ornamental plants admired for their peeling bark and thick glossy leaves that are complimented by white sparkler-shaped flowers that show in early summer and will eventually give way to the edible fruits everyone loves. The flowers are fragrant and are attractive to bees, butterflies and birds that can help pollinate your other plants. Strawberry guavas are high in vitamin C and can be eaten fresh, but they also serve well for making preserves, smoothies, ice creams and fruit juice. The wood is a popular choice for smoking meat, and the leaves have been used to make a tea that is reported to have astringent properties. As such, it has been used as an herbal remedy for diarrhea, dysentery and other gastrointestinal problems.
Strawberry guava prefers a sandy loam that is reasonably fertile. A PH of between 6 and 7 is ideal. Sow your seeds about ¼” deep and maintain a soil temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The seeds can take between 1 and 4 months to germinate. Be sure to situate your plants in a sunny location. They can be grown in the ground in zones 9-11. Some have had success in cooler areas, but it is best to give yourself the option to be able to move the plants by using a container with a 24” diameter. Your plants should only be watered when the soil begins to dry out. You can fertilize with a weak fertilizer that has an even balance of N, P and K according to the directions on the package.
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