Zone-pushing guabiju (Myrcianthes pungens)

I did a search for this species (also spelled guabiyu), but there doesn’t appear to be a thread dedicated to it even though it’s been mentioned in passing by a few people (@Carld @Luisport @SnacksFromPlants e.g.).

I planted a pair of tiny seedlings last spring, here’s a photo of one of them shortly before it went in the ground about a year ago:

They grew slowly but steadily through the growing season, and I was hoping they would get a couple mild winters before really being tested for cold hardiness. But instead, they were completely unprotected for this six-day freeze event in December:

They suffered some damage on their youngest leaves and shoots, but both seedlings pulled through okay and have started pushing new growth:

Hopefully now they can get a few mild winters so they can grow a bit more before their next bad freeze!

I’d love to hear others’ experiences growing this, and what they think of the fruit (I saw that @Richard at least thinks they are inferior to cherry tomatoes in one thread about them).


Guabiju is a great fruit and hardy.
The flowers are pretty too…




Here are my two seedlings after their second season in the ground:

It’s interesting how different their coloration is even though they are planted a few feet apart with the exact same sun exposure and soil. Here’s to hoping they survive another winter!


I am planting some outside next spring. To see such a small plant fared through 15F is encouraging. Thanks for sharing your experience


Guabiju is very hardy but even so it’s better to protect when it’s still small.

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They both survived a week+ of nightly frost with two nights around 25°F. Here are some photos from tonight:


Great, thanks for taking the time to document it, that’s some precious information.
Try also Uvaia (eugenia pyriformis). I think it’s even hardier than guabiju. I am 90% sure it can survive and ripen in Seattle area.


I don’t have that one, but I am also growing the similarly named “ubajay” (Hexachlamys edulis or Eugenia myrcianthes). It seems slightly less hardy than guabiju, as it was killed above ground level last winter and already shows some slight frost damage this fall, but it’s still alive at least.


Oh I thought Ubajay is hardier than Guabiju too, maybe more mature trees. I was thinking about getting it but too many people complaining about the garlicky taste and with the lack of space in my garden I gave up.
Well keep us posted. My guabiju will go in ground in April or so.


I have a couple of 5 year old Guabiju, Uvaia and Ubajay plants. It is my experience that Guabiju is by far the hardiest of these. The only problem I have with them in zone 8b in Europe (The Netherlands - around the latitude of London) is that the ones that I plant in the ground do not survive the winter while the ones in pots have no problem at all. It seems that the roots cannot handle our cold and wet waterlogged winters, while the leaves have no problem surviving -10 C. So the potted ones survive outside without protection.
Uvaia is a very diverse species - or a broad name for many different plants, so it is hit and miss on their hardiness. There is enormous variation within the species, or the group of species that are called Uvaia. So it depends on your seed source whether you find a cold hardy one.
Ubajay is quite cold hardy in my experience and will, just like Cattley Guava often sprout back after hard frosts from the roots.
I only got the Uvaia to flower and fruit so far.


Thank you for sharing!

What kind of soil do you have? I wonder if that plays a role. My two plants seemed to have no problems even though we had a very wet & cold winter and spring this year. My soil is sandy and clay-rich, originally a glacial deposit. Here’s how the most recent geological map for my area describes the three most common soil types here, though there’s a good bit of topsoil on top of it in my yard:

I never see standing water in my yard, even after a lot of rain. Excellent drainage.

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Hi Solko, I did not know you are visiting this forum as well.
I shared with @swincher your success with Uvaia from FB. Congrats again! After reading your post I am going to try to grow it in-ground as well. And also thanks to @Luisport for the uvaias, can’t wait.


So far so good, despite a bit of a hard freeze in late December. However, a loose polycarbonate sheet was blown onto one of them while I was out of town, so it got kind of flattened and damaged from that. Here’s the other one, which shows essentially no damage after many hard freezes, with the lowest being minus 8.3°C (17°F) on the morning of Dec 22nd:

My ubajay seedlings both look dead above ground from that freeze, so there’s no comparison in terms of hardiness.


Your report gives me hope, I will be planting mine outside in the spring

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Hi Paul, yes I visit this forum as well!
We had two very cold weeks in December with ten nights in a row of -4 to -7 C and daytime temperatures barely above freezing. People were skating on natural ice the last couple of days.

The Guabiju’s and the Uvaia in the ground came through this frost again. The Guabiju’s in pots look completely fine, the Uvaia’s leaves turn deep red, but it looks still alive.

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Mine here grows with no problem… both uvaia and guabiju are really cold hardy!

Here are my ubajay after -8.3°C:

They looked the same after last winter and re-grew from the roots.

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yeah that plant looks toast, but if it can regrow from roots it will get bigger. I think all you need is 1 winter with -5C and the battle is won

Both ubajay seedlings failed to wake this year, roots were dead when I examined them. The guabiju suffered only slight winter dieback, but didn’t even lose all their leaves. They are starting to grow nicely finally after a slow start this spring: