Last Updated: September 9, 2023

I bought a couple of guava (Psidium cattleyanum) seedlings, one red/strawberry and one yellow/lemon, about 15 years ago and planted them at opposites ends of what is now the tropical garden.

Both grew to be big shrubs that flowered once in a while and produced a bunch of pellet-sized bitter fruit that tasted nothing like strawberry or lemon. In the winter they froze easily, loose all their leaves and spend the better part of four months looking like dead brush on the hillside. I was not impressed with guava and if I were more ambitious, would have chopped them down years ago.

This year I decided to consolidate the tropical plants scattered throughout the yard into an actual tropical garden and re-plumbed the irrigation in the garden to give the menagerie the extra water they enjoy. The guavas, now bookending the garden, got more water too.

And guess what? Lo and behold, if you treat guavas like tropical plants instead of succulents, you end up with full, green trees filled with actual fruit instead of pellets. Both plants look spectacular this year and are loaded with so much fruit, some of the branches are breaking.

Guavas like water. Lesson learned.

They still don’t taste like strawberries or lemons though.