Among the plants of the genus Guava (Psidium) guava kettley is widely cultivated, or psidium cattley(Psidium cattleianum), named after the famous English gardener William Cattley. Its other names are often used - Peruvian, or strawberry guava (strawberry guava). The synonym is the name guava coastal, or psidium coastal(Psidium littorale). In the literature, you can often find the name Psidium littorale var. Cattleianum to indicate the red-fruited variety - strawberry guava and Psidium littorale var. Littorale - for the variety with yellow fruits (lemon guava).
Native to the coastal regions of eastern Brazil, the strawberry guava quickly spread and adapted in many tropical climates, and is now recognized as an invasive species in Hawaii and the Caribbean, where it forms dense vegetation. Psidium Kettley is very fertile, shade-tolerant, aggressive in its vegetative growth, easily gives root shoots and powerful leaf litter, which, apparently, contains substances that are toxic to seedlings of other plant species.
In ancient times, the Kettley guava was introduced by the Portuguese to southern China, from there it came to Europe, hence another, incorrect name - Chinese guava, or Chinese psidium (Psidium chinense). In Europe, it now successfully grows in the south of France and in Spain.
Strawberry guava is a very beautiful, dense, compact evergreen plant, rarely exceeding 4 meters in height, grows in the form of a bush or small tree, with cinnamon-colored bark that flakes off with age. Young shoots are rounded (in contrast to the tetrahedral psidium guava), pubescent. Glossy dark green thick leathery fragrant leaves are located opposite and quite dense on the branch. In the axils of the leaves bloom, often single, fragrant white flowers with many white-yellow stamens. Fruits are round, 3-6 cm in diameter. with numerous seeds, ripen 5-6 months after flowering.
Fruits with a red skin are usually sweeter, with a pronounced strawberry flavor, translucent and very juicy pulp. Yellow-skinned fruits (Lucidum) slightly larger, with a yellow flesh, with a lemon aroma. Their taste is milder compared to common guava. (Psidium guajava), without pronounced musky notes, for this reason, some give their preference to Kettley guava, widely growing it as a fruit crop.
In addition to tasty and plentiful fruits, this species also has a number of remarkable qualities. Strawberry guava forms dense screens, its foliage is much more attractive than that of psidium guava. Very beautiful sheared plants can be formed from it, pruning does not interfere with fruiting next year, since the flowers are located on young growths. Widely used for outdoor gardening in countries with tropical and subtropical climates, easily bears fruit in small containers. The plant is extremely unassuming to soils, can grow even on limestone and very poor soils, tolerates a low salt content, tolerates fairly long periods of drought (but young plants should be watered regularly) and with short periods of waterlogging, is practically not affected by pests. More cold-resistant than guava, the plant - some varieties can withstand short frosts down to -5 ° C. In countries with hot tropical climates, Psidium Kettley prefers to grow at some altitude, where the average temperature is much lower. Shade-tolerant, however, achieves all its beauty and abundant fruiting only in direct sun.
Yellow-fruited varieties are slightly less hardy and prefer a warmer climate. Successfully grown with citrus crops, prefers a dry, subtropical climate with irrigation.
Strawberry guava fruits in nature serve as good food support for many species of birds and animals. And people use them fresh and for making jams, fruit purees and drinks, since plucked fruits are not stored for a long time.
Care and maintenance
Psidium Kettley is often grown as a potted fruit plant. That high adaptive capacity, which damages some natural ecosystems, is very valuable for adapting to home conditions. Compared to myrtle, its close relative, it is much less capricious. It is advisable to give the strawberry guava at home a place in direct sun, in winter to provide a cool content (+12 ... + 15оС). The best place will be a frost-free balcony.
Not demanding on soils, tolerates short-term overdrying. It blooms in spring or early summer. For fruit setting, artificial pollination with a soft brush is desirable. Delicious aromatic fruits ripen in autumn, depending on the variety - yellow or red. The leaves always remain glossy, the plant is decorative, it tolerates pruning well. Like all members of the myrtle family, it has a good effect on the air quality in the house. Psidium Kettley is resistant to pests, is not affected by whitefly and scabbard, can be affected by mealybugs, sometimes it can be attacked by thrips, under very unfavorable conditions and frequent drying it can be affected by spider mites.
Read more about pest control measures in the article Houseplant pests and control measures.
Seeds from fruits germinate well; when stored outside the fruit, they quickly lose their germination. The plant grown from seeds blooms for 3-4 years. It is cut reluctantly, only in the ground, in a greenhouse, preferably with lower heating and the use of root formation stimulants. The rooting rate is extremely low - it may be more expedient to propagate by air layers.
Read more about the grafting technology in the article. Cutting indoor plants at home.