The guava tree (Psidium guajava ‘Ruby Supreme’) is a tropical tree commonly found in areas like Hawaii, the Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida. The deliciously sweet fruit is commonly used in beverages, desserts and smoothies. The fast growing tree can mature to a height of 10 feet tall and roughly 15 feet wide. It can be grown outside in zones 8-11, but it could also be container grown for zones 4-11 and brought indoors when the winter season approaches. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where the tree can be planted outside, be sure to find a spot where the tree will have an ample amount of space. A soil pH range between 5.0-7.0 is ideal.
Choosing a location: Guava is a tropical native tree so be sure to select a spot that has full sun. Drainage is essential so avoid areas where water may pool. To test your location for drainage, you can dig a 1 foot wide by 1 foot deep hole and fill it with water. After an hour, if there is any water retained, you will need to amend your soil with sand and perlite to improve the drainage.
Planting directions (in ground):
1) Make your hole twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep.
2) Carefully place your tree into the hole and hold it straight as you begin to back fill the hole.
3) Tamp down on the soil with your hand as you back fill to prevent any air pockets from forming.
4) Water the planting site to help settle the soil and then spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch to help conserve moisture and prevent competitive weeds from growing. Wood chips or bark pieces will suffice.
Planting directions (potted): Like goldfish, a guava tree will only grow to as big as the space it’s allotted. The pot will confine the roots allowing you to keep the tree to a smaller more maintainable height.
1) It is not recommended to get a pot much bigger than the one the tree is delivered in. Select a pot that is the same size, or about 2-3 inches larger (at most), than its existing pot.
2) Be sure that there is an adequate amount of drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, drainage is essential to the tree’s survival. You can also line the bottom of your pot with a couple inches of gravel/pebbles to assure proper drainage of the soil.
3) A citrus or an organic potting soil is best for the guava. Regular potting soil can be a bit heavier and therefore retain more moisture. The extra moisture can be harmful to the guava’s roots. Be sure to press down as you fill in the pot with soil to avoid air pockets.
4) Place your tree next to a south facing window to ensure it gets the full sun exposure it needs.
*Tip* The tree will most likely require re-potting once a year.
Watering: Give your guava tree a deep soaking and then hold off on watering again until the top two inches of the soil begins to dry. These trees will like to dry slightly in between waterings. In the hotter seasons you might need to water more frequently but DO NOT overly saturate the soil. Guava (like citrus) hate to have “wet feet” and are susceptible to root rot if left in standing water.
Potted guava also likes to dry slightly in between waterings. If the top 2-3 inches of the soil feels like it’s starting to dry out, add just enough water to where you see it escaping the drainage holes and stop.
Pruning: You can trim your guava tree throughout the year. Using sterilized cutters, remove any low growths that appear near the base of the tree. This will encourage a healthier, stronger trunk making a more stable tree. Prune away any branches that are crossing and dead limbs. Potted guava should not require much pruning but it can be done to maintain a particular shape.
Fertilizing: Guava are semi-heavy feeders and will require fertilizing once every 1-2 months in its younger years. Once the tree becomes more established, it will only need to be fertilized 3-4 times a year. Just before the growing season begins, work a 6-6-6-2 formula into the soil. Guava likes high levels of nitrogen, phosphoric acid, potash, and magnesium for the best results. Potted guava will benefit from being fed an organic, granular fertilizer every three months.