Author Topic: Best climate/conditions/ varieties maximize number of great tasting feijoias?  (Read 683 times)

Tropicaltoba

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Iíve had fruiting feijoias in containers in a heated greenhouse for about 3 years now. I have 3 different cultivars and they seem to flower in succession, so the first to flower (nikita) only ever had 2-6 fruit as the other plants would just start to flower after the blooms were ending.

My greenhouse maxes out at around 86f (32c) in the summer, and against the north window (where they sit) goes down to 7-10c during jan/Feb.

I had a friends parents visiting from New Zealand and kinda laughed at me when I showed them my feijoia fruit as compared to theirs back home mine were pretty small and dry. All the people I know from new Zealand (maybe 8 at most) says that back home they are the best fruit ever. I was wondering if anyone has had success growing large volumes of amazing feijoias, and what conditions/cultivars were needed. ::)

I was curious if anyone ha

tru

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as cold as you can possibly get them for as long as possible, without killing them lol

MisterPlantee

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I'm not an expert on Feijoa but I have one in a pot and my Feijoa only seemed to flower/fruit well after I left it in sub zero weather for a while. I leave it outside most of the winter and only bring it into the garage when it is going to be colder than -8C. They need some chill hours, I suspect your 7-10C is just low enough for that. How big are your plants? If you are growing your Feijoa in the greenhouse, I suspect it isn't getting as much sun as it should and could be wasting its energy. Personally, I have found that some plants (like pomegranate, feijoa, annona) it is better to let them go dormant than waste their energy with spindly winter growth.

Tropicaltoba

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They seem to grow well in the winter, I got 2 small grafts (apparently self fertile) from Phoenix perennials in the fall and theyíd both put a good 18Ē
Of growth in the past year. 2 older ones died back from a lack of water (too tall pots, dense fibrous roots) but the other one I have left is 5 years old and flowers very well.

The growth and flowering seems fine itís just the fruit quality which isnít great. Iím tempted to put them right in front of my intake ducts with misters to try and see if keeping them cool (22c instead of 32c) improves the fruit quality.

Iím also trying self fertile varieties, cause real estate is a premium in my tiny gh and needing multiple trees to get meh fruit isnít worth it.






Tropicaltoba

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Also Iím thinking that feijoia is one of those plants that can handle having really wet feet and perhaps inadequate water was the problem. At the same time I read that of underwatered they will drop the fruit and that never happenend.

Also if anyone was curious they can handle being root pruned. I read that planted ones donít like to be dug up, but I did an couple of major rune prunes before and they did fine.

MisterPlantee

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Your plants look healthy for sure, but kind of on the small size to hold lots of fruit. If its a small plant, it needs to divert a lot of energy to make good quality fruit. Mine is about 5' tall and about 3-4 years old. It started growing a lot faster/healthier after I put it in a rootmaker type pot and leaving it out in the winter. They are pretty durable, I've also tried having it wet and dry and no big deal also root prune no issues either.



tru

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yeah their roots are super fragile, they can be dug up but just be careful with them more than your average plant

NateTheGreat

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Feijoas are extremely drought tolerant. I heard they are some of the toughest plants. I haven't tried wet feet, but I wouldn't. That plant's pretty small to be holding much fruit. In my experience fruit quality is highly dependent on when you eat them. Wait until the fruit drop, then ripen on the counter a week or so. You don't want them to get soft. Inside should be about half clear half opaque. If they're sickly sweet you ripened too long. If they are mostly opaque and oxidize immediately after cutting, not ripe enough.

I have a tree that's about 20 years old. It seems to bear heavy crops in alternating years. In good years I get maybe 50 fruit, probably less. They're good, but not great. Mine ripen up in November, not very cold yet, so I doubt they require cold to improve the fruit. If anything it'd be heat.

Tropicaltoba

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My oldest plant is 4.5í tall 3í wide. I keep it pruned to that height and has completely filled a 15 gallon pot. I canít let it get much bigger than that (no space) I hand pollinate them (hoverflies in my gh but Iíve never seen them care about it) I get 10-20 fruit off my Apollo cultivar annually.

Nate, I would assume your climate is pretty close to that of newzealand and if they donít taste great where you grow them Iím not sure if Iíll have any better luck keeping them cooler. Iíll let u all know how it goes this year.

Tropicaltoba

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Mister, thatís a nice looking tree. My brother lives in windsor do u think heíd be able to have one live if planted in ground in a sheltered location?

tru

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Nate, I can't find it at the moment but will edit to link if I find,

someone did a study and feijoa sweetness improves with how low a temperature they have, they tried feijoas from zone 9 10 11 12 and pretty unanimously decided zone 9 was the best tasting, hear that zone pushers have even better tasting fruit; heat will make the fruit drop/not set

I agree 100% on the drought tolerance though, they dont seem to be very thirsty but make due very well for the little they get (not sure how much that says about what they do with too much water, but if you forget about them they'll be just fine)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 02:12:22 PM by tru »

CeeJey

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Couple of things in addition to what others have said:

I'm not sure that climate is a HUGE deal with these plants overall (depending on cultivar) so much as size/ age and cross-pollination for some varieties. We have some local hobby growers here in the desert who have managed to get a fair amount of decent-tasting fruit set in our less-than-ideal climactic conditions of 112+ summers and 35 winters (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2XasFW8BaQ is an example; out here it's managing the sunlight against the heat/burn since they need a lot of light to flower here). And New Zealand climate where they primarily grow them commercially actually varies quite a bit (https://commercial.waimeanurseries.co.nz/assets/Uploads/Comm-Feijoas/WAIMEA-Feijoa-Brochure.pdf) but relatively warm, ranging from subtropical to temperate. Northland, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty don't get much below 45F most of their winter, rarely freezing although can get cold. Fwiw the plant's origins are in southern Brazil/ Argentina similar to other edible myrtles like jaboticaba but higher elevation iirc.

Seems like, climate-wise, they do well where they can get a lot of sun and not burn (in the states, the best tasting fruit I've had was from trees in or near Portland fwiw). Size and age might have more to do with it too, as well as cross-pollination. Personal experience is that even the "self-pollinating" varieties do a lot better with a cross-pollinator.  Like Nate said, your trees are pretty small to be bearing much fruit, and as you say the Nikita may not be flowering at the same time as the others. The taste might be down to they just don't have enough age yet to be making decent fruit.

I'd agree with MisterPlantee about trying an airpot/root trainer if you have to keep them small, to at least get as big/healthy of a root mass as possible if you have to keep them small on the top (those pots also make root pruning a lot easier ime).

someone did a study and feijoa sweetness improves with how low a temperature they have, they tried feijoas from zone 9 10 11 12 and pretty unanimously decided zone 9 was the best tasting, hear that zone pushers have even better tasting fruit; heat will make the fruit drop/not set

Makes sense, lots of plants produce extra sugars when it gets cold to guard against cellular damage, that's why broccoli tastes better in the winter. NZ growers info says that the fruit can get damaged in the winter though; guessing this might depend on cultivar.

We do get fruit set here in the heatstroke helllands though, when the tree gets big enough.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 02:45:35 PM by CeeJey »

Tropicaltoba

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Thanks for the info CJ I had no idea that they were grown in AZ. The climate thing is interesting, I spent about 4 mo in Australia and never found a tree, but in NZ they were everywhere just not in season.

Yeah I wonít bail on them yet, I think Iíll try mutligrafting the tree next and see about keeping them cooler in the summer and winter.

CeeJey

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Thanks for the info CJ I had no idea that they were grown in AZ.

We'll try just about anything out here, and it sorta halfway almost works a lot of the time. I have two in the ground about the size of yours and they both flowered last year, although no fruit set yet. Same story for a self-fertile variety that we planted back at my brother's place in the cooler-temps Bay Area.

At least when all else fails out here, the citrus is amazing if nothing else.

The climate thing is interesting, I spent about 4 mo in Australia and never found a tree, but in NZ they were everywhere just not in season.

Yeah, I talked to somebody who lives in Australia who was from New Zealand (edit: I accidentally said AZ here for some reason) about this and they said it just isn't common yet, but they're seeing it more in stores. Might not be a demand yet for the trees or the fruit.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 03:26:59 PM by CeeJey »

tru

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It's not the paper I was looking for but I found this on feijoas, http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/agc/v38n3/0120-9965-agc-38-03-388.pdf

they say that fruit is most commonly formed on the outer middle areas of a pyramidal crown shaped canopy, suggesting fruit will set most in areas that aren't full sun or under light shade coverage of the outer layer of leaves when the tree gets big enough. When I first saw one I didn't realize they were even trees, the guy shaped it like boxwood along a fence

"Morley-Bunker (1999) reports that feijoa in temperate zones produce larger fruits and yields in the sites with
higher temperatures compared to those with lower winter
temperatures."

I'm confused by this, so the hottest zones of the temperate climate as in zone 9?

"study carried out in Colombia by Parra-Coronado et
al. (2015a) for feijoa fruits from clone 41 (Quimba), where
they found that the fruits produced at higher altitudes (cold
weather) are sweeter than those produced at low altitudes
(warm weather)" they allude to the study I was talking about in the upper comment (i think thats the study at least I haven't checked)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 03:51:33 PM by tru »

Tropicaltoba

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Try, Thanks for the ref.
I am actually looking for quality over yield so that looks like more evidence that perhaps I should grow them cooler

CeeJey

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It's not the paper I was looking for but I found this on feijoas, http://www.scielo.org.co/pdf/agc/v38n3/0120-9965-agc-38-03-388.pdf

they say that fruit is most commonly formed on the outer middle areas of a pyramidal crown shaped canopy, suggesting fruit will set most in areas that aren't full sun or under light shade coverage of the outer layer of leaves when the tree gets big enough. When I first saw one I didn't realize they were even trees, the guy shaped it like boxwood along a fence

"Morley-Bunker (1999) reports that feijoa in temperate zones produce larger fruits and yields in the sites with
higher temperatures compared to those with lower winter
temperatures."

I'm confused by this, so the hottest zones of the temperate climate as in zone 9?

That's an interesting meta-review.

Fwiw it looks like almost all of their cited research is on feijoa grown in Central and South America (probably because that's all that has been done so far). I assume that is the area that Morley-Bunker referred to in 1999 but that research is in an ancient journal that costs 80 bucks to access :/

Comparing with NZ growing conditions is interesting; NZ is growing at lower altitude and at a few degrees warmer than the averages cited in the Columbian study but not by much. They do have more issues with pests though, which seems to be the reason beyond temperature for the higher altitude growing sites in Columbia and Brazil. But they also see more damage from frost per their growing guides. Given how much selection they've been doing in New Zealand, it's possible their cultivars are better adapted to the slightly warmer conditions (likely true of the Cali cultivars as well). Although the ideal 13C to 21C cited in the paper is both not *that* cold and also not too far off from Northland's 14 to 25 average.

I couldn't find anything on which area of Georgia (the country, the source of most of Ukraine's feijoa) produces the feijoa but as a whole the country is pretty near that temperature average. That would be more support for it liking the upper range of a temperate climate (that cited range) rather than liking cold per se as per that Morley paper. They've also got very low chill hours (50-200?) compared to a lot of stonefruit crops per the paper.

This bit was also interesting:

As the authors of this review presume, the fruit development time of the feijoa will decrease due to global warming (Duarte& Paull, 2015). This can affect the fruit quality increasing the concentration of sugars and decreasing that of acids (Ubeda et al., 2020). This causes the fruit to be tasteless, without a good sugar/acid ratio; therefore, varieties that do not show this behavior should be selected (Parra-Coronado & Fischer, 2013).

So it's not just that heat/UV can cause flowering/fruit set issues but also the more cold-adapted varieties can taste like crap if the fruit grows too fast due to slightly higher temps. Fwiw I've had fruit out here in Phoenix and in SoCal from unnamed cultivars roughly comparable to imported New Zealand Apollo so it has to be at least somewhat cultivar based (still not as good as that Portland stuff though).  EDIT: Now that I think about it I've 100% hit what I think is this same issue with lemon guavas out here though. Fruit from box store plants grown in Cali produce nasty sweet-flavorless fruit later in the year while some local-grown seedlings taste okay.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2023, 05:07:12 PM by CeeJey »

Tropicaltoba

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CJ, nice to see others citing original research. Being a little isolated here in the north I thought I was the only plant geek doing that. I did mammoth nikita and Apollo in the past, and just added unique and Coolidge because they are supposed to be self fertile. I honestly couldnít tell much difference between the fruits in terms of taste/texture/yield. All i know was my nikita flowered way too early to be that useful for fruit production.

I think itís a nice looking tree, with edible and beautiful flowers. Also the wintergreen flavour is unique. I grow glautheria (American wintergreen) outdoors as a ground cover in my raised acidic garden but itís dry and a bit mealey.

What varieties of feijoia are u growing?

CeeJey

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CJ, nice to see others citing original research. Being a little isolated here in the north I thought I was the only plant geek doing that. I did mammoth nikita and Apollo in the past, and just added unique and Coolidge because they are supposed to be self fertile. I honestly couldnít tell much difference between the fruits in terms of taste/texture/yield. All i know was my nikita flowered way too early to be that useful for fruit production.

I think itís a nice looking tree, with edible and beautiful flowers. Also the wintergreen flavour is unique. I grow glautheria (American wintergreen) outdoors as a ground cover in my raised acidic garden but itís dry and a bit mealey.

What varieties of feijoia are u growing?

Yeah it's a beautiful tree even when it's not making great fruit, and I absolutely love the way it looks in my yard along with the silver-bluish palms and pride of Barbados I have out there.

In-ground in AZ here I have Naemetz and Coolidge-parent seedlings here right now, with a bunch of different seedlings in pots that are a few years from fruiting (some Albert types, some Apollo seedlings from a fruit I thought was particularly good, just trying things out to see if I can get a heat-resistant type).

Back on family property in the Bay Area I have a Unique, an unnamed variety that's got to be at least 20 years old now, and I'm hoping to get some New Zealand varieties in this spring.

Tropicaltoba

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How was the fruit from unique? Do you think itís self fertile.

CeeJey

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Dunno yet, that one is relatively new, a replacement for another that got sick. I'm guessing it'll fruit this year or next though. I'm not sure yet that I'll be able to tell if it's more self-fertile than the other "self-fertile" varieties since the neighbors there have a mature plant that flowered around the same time last year.

Jack, Nipomo

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I live in a relative cooler climate in Central Coast of CA.  low 40's to low 80s, with a few extremes.  See https://feijoarecipes.wordpress.com/2017/11/19/frank-serpa-fremonts-feijoa-king/ about an early Feijoa pioneer in CA.  I have 4 of Frank Serpa's cultivars along with some other selections (from others) and New Zealand's Triumph and Mammoth ones.  The Edenvale Late, Improved Cooledge, and other Edenvale are surpassed by the New Zealand varieties in both size, production, and taste.  Unfortunately, over the years, the Edenvale varieties have had to survive shade and competition from some huge avocado trees.  Mammoth and Triumph are well established (6ftX6ft) and taken care of with no competition.  The Edenvale group are being eaten by avocado roots and debris so it is an unfair competition.  I was introduced to CRFG many years ago by a friend, John Moore, who really knew his Feijoas, connected me with Serpa, and even selected one (Moore) for outstanding characteristics.  He told me there was a red one he encountered.  I would suggest there are some excellent Feijoas out there like New Zealand selections and worth finding them. 

Tropicaltoba

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Jack,

Thanks for the advice. What do u think of the quality of the nz fruit? As soon as I mention feijoias to former New Zealanders they all start to drool. Do these new cultivars initiate a Pavlovian response?

think last year was the first time nz cultivars were available in canada. Phoenix perennials has them for sale my mail (for any Canadians out there). Iím gonna see how these new ones do and then Iíll probably try out the nz cultivars.

Jack, Nipomo

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I do think the two NZ selections I have are superior in size and quality compared to others I have and  have tasted.  I do have to admit, sometimes there are seedlings with an intense great flavor, but only come in a miniscule size.  The trees/bushes are bullet-proof here with regard to cold and heat (we don't get much of either).  Don't seem to need much water to prosper.  They fall when ripe, and have a thick skin.  Best when eaten out-of-hand.

CeeJey

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I do think the two NZ selections I have are superior in size and quality compared to others I have and  have tasted.  I do have to admit, sometimes there are seedlings with an intense great flavor, but only come in a miniscule size.  The trees/bushes are bullet-proof here with regard to cold and heat (we don't get much of either).  Don't seem to need much water to prosper.  They fall when ripe, and have a thick skin.  Best when eaten out-of-hand.

Yeah, agreed, the good-tasting seedlings that I've tried have definitely been on the smaller side as well.

I wasn't super-impressed with a supposed mammoth that I had once, but it might not have been getting what it needed, or too hot during the summers (this was in central valley where it roasts periodically). Or it might not really have been a mammoth.

 

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