One of the best tropical plants for growing indoors is a guava plant.
There are so many different varieties of guava and all of them have beautiful flowers and different tasting fruits, they do look truly awesome growing in a house or apartment.
In the wild, a guava tree can grow to be over 30 feet high so you will have to keep it well pruned or choose a dwarf variety that is suitable for growing inside. Read on and I will tell you exactly how I grow a guava tree indoors…
To grow a guava tree indoors simply position your plant somewhere that gets at least 6 hours sunlight. Water your plant when the top 4 inches of soil is dry and apply fertilizer once per month. Prune your guava tree once per year to keep it a manageable size and encourage fresh growth.
This video shows interesting facts about guava:
Best guava tree varieties for growing indoors
There are many different varieties of guava the main types are Redland, Supreme, Red Indian, Ruby, Blitch, Patillo, Miami Red and Miami White they are all different colors and have different tastes and different levels of sweetness.
The three varieties of guava I would recommend for growing indoors would be the pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana), the common guava (Psidium guajava) or the strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum).
These varieties are perfectly suited to be grown in a container and are easy to keep at 4-5 feet tall so are ideal for growing in a house or apartment.
Should I grow a guava tree from seed or buy a young seedling?
If you choose to grow your guava tree from seed it will be incredibly satisfying when you eventually eat your homegrown guava fruit, because, it can take a guava plant 8 years to become mature enough to actually bear fruit.
I would recommend you buy a young guava plant as this means you drastically cut down the time it will take before you get to eat the guava fruits you have successfully grown indoors.
How to germinate guava seeds
When you germinate any type of seed it is important to remember that not all seeds will actually germinate, you should always attempt to germinate more seeds than you actually require.
Whilst you can use the paper towel method to germinate guava seeds, that is put seeds in a sealed plastic bag with some moist paper towels and leave them somewhere warm until they sprout some green shoots. I use a container with some soil in it, sprinkle seeds across the soil then use enough soil to cover the seeds by about ½ cm.
Give them a good spray with water so that they are soaking and put them somewhere warm until shoots sprout out, this normally takes 2-4 weeks.
I then select the strongest seedlings to plant individually in a pot large enough for a guava tree to grow.
This video shows how to germinate guava seeds:
What’s the best pot for a guava tree?
I grow my guava tree in a pot that is only 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep and it is doing just fine.
Some people say you need a larger pot or container but I find growing trees in a smaller pot actually keeps them smaller and more manageable for growing indoors.
If your guava tree stops growing it is probably root bound, if you want it to grow larger you could always re-pot it into a larger pot.
Best soil mix for a guava tree
Guava trees will grow in practically any soil type but they do prefer a well-draining soil.
The soil I use for my guava tree is a mix of peat moss and standard potting compost and it is growing nice and healthy so far.
Always put a layer of stones or pebbles at the bottom of your pots as this encourages good drainage.
Never use soil from your garden for growing anything in a pot as it will quickly become solidified into a big clump of soil and will not be good for drainage.
How much light does a guava Tree require?
Guava trees are tropical so the more light you can get them the better, especially if you want your tree to produce fruit.
If you can get your indoor guava tree 6 hours of direct sunlight each day is should grow healthy enough, however, if you want your guava tree to produce fruit you will have to get it roughly 12 hours of direct sunlight during the growing season.
If you are serious about getting your guava tree to bear fruit I would highly recommend that you use an LED grow light as they are not expensive to buy and very inexpensive to run on a 12-hour timer.
How often should I water my indoor guava tree?
How often you water your guava tree depends on your local climate, I water my tree once per week.
Use the finger method to figure out if your tree needs watered.
Stick your finger in the soil and if the top 3 or 4 inches are dry it’s time to give your tree a deep water.
To give it a deep water you should water it until the water starts to come out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
However, when your tree shows the first signs of growth when spring starts you should let it dry out for 2-3 weeks. This water restriction causes a defense mechanism that will result in your tree flowering and that is a good thing.
Best temperature range for a guava tree?
Different varieties of guava are suited to different climates, although, they are tropical plants so are more tolerant of hot weather than they are of frosty weather.
The perfect temperature for growing guava is 68-82 degrees Fahrenheit (20-28C) which is approximately standard household temperature.
If the temperature gets below 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-3C) your guava tree will die back to the roots.
Indoor guava tree fertilizer requirements?
I fertilize my guava tree monthly during the growing season.
Different fertilizers have different instructions for use so I would recommend you follow the instructions on your chosen fertilizer.
Choose a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, potash, phosphorus, and magnesium.
To increase fruit production in your guava tree you should use a fertilizer that is high in potassium. When your tree is mature you may need to add nitrogen to the soil yearly
Guava tree pruning recommendations
I prune my guava tree every year when it is in its dormant phase.
When you are growing a tree indoors it’s important to prune it into the shape you want it to grow, mines is like a small bush, otherwise, it will grow into a tree.
It’s important to cut shoots growing out the top and pinch them as this encourages it to grow out into a bush shape.
When you are pruning your guava tree to shape it also cut off any dry, damaged or diseased branches.
How to hand pollinate guava?
Guava trees are self-fruiting which means it doesn’t need 2 plants to cross-pollinate each other, one plant can pollinate itself.
In nature insects and the wind will pollinate guava trees but a plant grown indoors obviously won’t have that benefit so you will have to pollinate it by hand.
To hand pollinate simply use a paintbrush and go around every flower and brush pollen from the male stamen into the female stigma.
Do this with every flower and the successfully pollinated flowers will turn into guava fruits.
This video shows how to hand pollinate a guava tree:
Should I thin out my guava tree?
It is not essential to thin out guava on your tree as wild trees produce abundant guava and no one thins them out.
The benefit of thinning guava is that it should help your tree produce bigger more juicy guavas.
If you decide to thin out your guavas you should do it when the fruit is formed but is still small, you should thin them out so they are far enough apart that no 2 fruits will be touching when they are fully grown and mature.
This should encourage your tree to use its energy for making the remaining guavas big and juicy specimens.
How to know when to pick guava
It is important to pick your guava fruits at the right time, if you pick them too soon they will be hard and sour, if you leave it too late they will turn into overripe mush.
The most obvious way to tell if your guava fruit is ripe is the color of it.
This depends on what variety you have chosen to grow as they are all slightly different colors.
My guava changes from green to light yellow when it is ripe for picking, after one season of fruit you should know in the future when they are ripe by the color they turn.
When guavas are ripe they start to smell of really string guava, you should be able to smell it when you are near the tree without actually sniffing the fruit.
Give your guava a squeeze and if it is slightly soft and the color has changed it is probably ripe.
How to store guava fruit
If your guavas are not yet ripe you should leave them on a countertop and they will become ripe in a few days.
If you want to speed up the ripening process you can put them in a brown paper bag and that makes them ripen quicker, I don’t know how that works but it does.
To store your ripe guava in the refrigerator you should put it a sealable plastic bag and then put it in the crisper drawer of the fridge, this should keep your guava edible for 3-4 days.
If you want to dramatically extend the life of your guavas the only option is to freeze them.
To do this you should first wash and peel the skin off your guavas and chop them in halves.
Put them in a sealable container and cover them in simple syrup, simple syrup is a mix of water and sugar that has been boiled and allowed to cool.
Finally, put them in the freezer and your guava will keep good for up to a year.
How to grow a guava tree outdoors
You should only grow guava outdoors if you live somewhere with a suitable climate that has a warm summer and a cool winter, temperatures between 59-82 degrees Fahrenheit (15-28C) is perfect.
Pick an area that receives at least 6-8 hours full sun daily and has well-draining soil.
The best time to plant guava outdoors is springtime and if you are planting several trees you should plant them at least 10 feet apart so they don’t steal water and nutrients from each other.
Common guava tree problems and how to solve them
Guava trees are truly beautiful plants that will improve any home that chooses to grow one.
Like any plant, the guava plant can be affected by disease or pest infestation and the quicker you act to deal with a problem the easier it will be to get your plant healthy again.
Here are some problems that may affect your guava plant:
Guava Wilt – Guava wilt will first appear as leaves turning yellow and will result in leaves dropping off and your plant looking unwell and wilting. Affected branches will remain bare and not produce any new foliage or fruits. To treat this disease you should prune back all affected areas and re-pot in fresh sterile soil.
Fruit Canker – Fruit canker will generally affect the fruits and not the actual plant itself. It will start off as a brown rusty ring around the fruits. It will develop into what looks like rotting fruit and all the seeds will burst out the side. The only way to treat this is to cut off all the affected fruit and any affected branches.
Algal Leaf & Fruit Spot – Algal will affect the leaves of your plant during the spring when new growth starts. It will appear as brown spots on the leaves and if it affects the fruit it will appear as almost black spots. To avoid this disease you should avoid watering the leaves and feed your plant directly in the soil as wet and humid conditions are what attracts this disease.
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