Growing Feijoa in the Seattle Area

Looking for experience from other Feijoa growers in Seattle area.

Been growing Feijoa in ground in the Seattle area for 9 years. I had large seedling grown plants that were planted in 2012 and fruited in 2015 from 11/1/2015 to 11/7/2015 but moved them to my new home in 2016. They have not fruited again.

In my new home I started the following cultivars:

Cultivar Plant Date First Fruit Dates Eaten Qty Fruit
Coolidge 10/28/2016 12/23/2020 12/23/2020 1
Mammoth 3/26/2018 1/10/2021 1/10/2021 - 1/21/2021 6
Nikita 5/25/2018 12/29/2020 12/29/2020 2
Apollo 10/26/2018 None
Robert 10/28/2016 Died after 1 year. Not sure why
Anatoki 12/23/2020 Newly planted
Kaiteri 12/23/2020 Newly planted
Kakariki 12/23/2020 Newly planted
Takaka 12/23/2020 Newly planted
Seedlings 9/1/2012 11/1/2015 11/1/2015 - 11/7/2015 7
Pics of this years Mammoth

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Excellent. Thanks for sharing this post. What did you think of your Mammoth fruit?

From the picture, it doesn’t look like it has a lot of the sweet clear jelly inside around the seeds.

So glad to hear about even limited success here! I have a couple unnamed plants I planted out in the fall, cautiously hoping this one at least is big enough to bear this year, but I’ve heard mostly negative experiences on the forum here:

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@murky The fruit was good. Because I don’t have a baseline to test it against, I thought it was very good. I’ve never had any grown in a warmer climate than mine. My wife and daughter both liked them too. It was mostly kiwi and pineapple flavor with a bit of pear. A tiny bit gritty but not bad. I really thought they were better than I was expecting. Worth eating for sure! I’ve heard they can be ripened more on the counter but I wanted to see what I had on the bush.

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Yes, congrats on northern success.

Is your 2016 home also in the Seattle area? Closer or further away from salt water (can affect low temperatures)?

What do the numbers in the Qty Fruit column represent (weight unit or literal count)?

Can you estimate the ratio of blossom count to edible-size fruit (indicates amount of fertility).

Fruit pictured looks somewhat scabby, small interior voids usually indicate over-ripeness, the grit near the rind shows up in the image.

@LarryGene, both houses are in the Arlington / Stanwood area. I am located on 5 acres, 1 mile from Lake Ki, 2 miles from lake Goodwin and 6 miles from Port Susan / Tulalip Bay.

The number are actual fruits that were collected.

I did hand cross pollinate. Initially I had about 50% of the blooms developing fruit but I’d guess I had 10% or less fruit actually hang until now. Most dropped off very young. Maybe 3/8" to 1/2" in diameter and 1" long. Fruit that hung to maturity were 1" to 1 1/2" in diameter and 2" to 2 1/2" long.

I do have them in several micro-climates. I have a “patch” on the south face of my house against a concrete walkway for thermal mass and solar reflection. Those are the ones that ripened.

I then have another patch planted near my back concrete patio that has a deck above. My thought was the concrete below will give thermal mass and the overhang of the solid plywood deck will hold some of that heat. It is again a southern exposure.

My last patch is planted in a very exposed spot that gets sun from almost 1st thing in the morning until about sunset. This spot is more of a risk for winter injury but it is a slope for cool air runoff and in winter is protected from early AM sunlight so they can de-frost at a slow steady rate. Winter desiccation is my primary concern for these but my Yuzu citrus has been happy here so that is why I thought I’d try it. It will be harder to get summer heat but I wanted to try multiple locations.

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“gritty” is a term often used to describe feijoas. I have never had one I considered gritty. The texture near the rind can have the same mouthfeel as Cream of Wheat – perhaps people consider that gritty. To me gritty food is like Grape Nuts or black raspberries.

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I detected a slight graininess, but similar to a European pear at the most. Didn’t deter me at all.

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I agree that the outer flesh of feijoa is gritty like European pears. That texture in pears is often referred to as from grit.

Here’s one place that describes it as such:
https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/ecoph14.htm

“Pineapple guava ( Feijoa sellowiana ), another guava from South America. The delicious fruit (berry) is fleshy and sweet-scented with a subtle pineapple flavor. The small, edible seeds produce a gritty texture, somewhat like the stone cells in a pear. The fleshy interior can be scooped out with a spoon.”

Hmm, maybe that’s not the best example, because it isn’t the seeds, but rather, the opaque flesh, that is “gritty”.

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Yes, grainy is a better term rather than the negative “gritty”. The sparse, soft seed content of feijoa does not constitute “grit”, a term better reserved for hominy grits, chicken grit, or a gritty drama.

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What kind of drama???

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I was thinking more of the Dirty Dozen or the Magnificent Seven rather than the singular whatever-that-is, above.

That is the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers, named “Gritty” :grin:

That is an apt name for a hockey mascot.

I forgot to mention the movie “True Grit” (and its remake).

Well, I agree that the feijoa texture isn’t unpleasant, any more than some really good pears.

Seth Williams, Beaverton OR here. I have several cultivars in, some for about 8 years. I have never gotten past blooms although it is in the warmest microclimate I have… I grew them at another site in NE Portland from 1992 until 2012 with same outcomes. That said, there is a commercially viable feijoa orchard in nearby Hillsboro which I’ve not been to yet.

I lived in NZ 2008 to 2010 where Feijoa culture is far advanced to here. I had multiple bearing bushes in my yard and all over the neighborhood. I harvested hundreds of pounds and used them in so many ways. There are also numerous commercial orchards and feijoa are found in mainstream groceries as well as at farmstands. There are some processed products on store shelves and yummy distilled and fermented products.

About the texture comments, I understand why people use the word gritty. A bit like Asian pears (aka Nashi), the tongue can sense stiff cellular walls within the flesh of feijoa fruit that is somewhat irregular in its location. In my experience this textural variation reduces when fruit becomes super-ripe, when it is more custard-like.

Hope to read more about this undervalued fruit from others.

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Seth,

Have you tried hand pollinating? I have several fruit that without my help set poorly or not at all like Akebia, pawpaw, and feijoa. My understanding is feijoa pollination is mostly left to the birds but it can take some time for birds to discover that these blooms are tasty. Instead of waiting for the birds to figure it out, you can just take my finger and pass the pollen when I’m near it. Using this method I get a good fruit set although some fruit dropped early, some did make it to maturity. I hope you can start to enjoy them again from your own garden!

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The feijoa orchard mentioned above is the Vial Family Farm (grapes are their main crop).

Seth: Do you regularly water your feijoa plants during the summer?
Are they in-ground or in pots?
What is the total bloom count in any one year?

In over 25 years, birds have only been destructive to my feijoa bush. Some tiny birds come during bloomtime and beak the fleshy petals off for a source of moisture. The whole flower is knocked to the ground in the process. Out of thousands of blooms, I am losing hundreds, not a big deal.
The most bees I have seen at that plant is about 3. In other parts of the world, blackbirds are said to be pollinators. I have never seen a robin or jay in the bush, and there are no blackbirds here.

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