Video: Growing Feijoa Indoors
Feijoa belongs to the genus Feijoa Berg. family myrtle (Myrtaceae) and consists of three Brazilian species. But only the species Feijoa sellowiana Berg. is cultural, domesticated in Europe since the end of the 19th century. It is known there as Acca selloviana.
Feijoa is an evergreen fruiting subtropical shrub 2-3 m high. The plant got its name from the Brazilian naturalist de Silva Feijo, who first domesticated it. There are forms with a compact crown, relatively small-leaved and spreading, with larger leaves.
The flowers are bisexual with numerous stamens. Most of the ovaries fall off, the efficiency of the ovary is 15-17%. The fruit is a large, fleshy, juicy berry, the seeds are surrounded by a white translucent sweet and sour pulp. Fruit shape - from elongated oval to broadly rounded, length 2-5 cm, sometimes up to 7 cm, diameter - from 1.5 to 3-4 cm, less often - up to 5 cm, fruit weight reaches 15-60 g, less often - more than 100 g. The root system of feijoa is superficial, densely branched, compact, which is typical for moisture-loving plants. The climate of its natural habitat is subtropical and humid. Therefore, high yields of fruits (20-30 kg per bush) are obtained with irrigation in combination with soil mulching. The period of active vegetation of plants lasts 214 days (from early April to early November). Feijoa in nature is undemanding to soils: it grows well on medium and highly podzolic,as well as on heavy humus-carbonate and crushed stone soils. But more acceptable for its development are coastal sandy loam alluvial soils.
Feijoa is more frost-resistant than mandarin; it can be cultivated in an area where the average of the absolute minimum temperatures is -8 ° C. The plant needs mandatory cross-pollination. Therefore, when setting up plantations from feijoa, an average of one plant of the pollinator variety is planted among 10 plants of the main variety.
Self-fertile forms are very rare. Pollination occurs with the help of insects. For successful growth and fruiting during the growing season, at least 500 mm of precipitation is required. If they are lacking, the plants must be watered. Feijoa is a relatively shade-tolerant, wind-resistant plant. Feijoa fruits with strawberry-pineapple aroma contain 81% water, 5.2-10.6% sugars (with a predominance of sucrose and glucose), 1.5-3.6% malic acid; 22.7-46.0 mg / 100 g of vitamin C, vitamin P; pectin - 1.34%. A unique feature of feijoa berries is the presence in them of water-soluble iodine compounds (40 mg / 100 g of pulp), so they are especially useful for people with thyroid diseases.
The accumulation of iodine is greatly influenced by the sea breezes, which carry volatile iodine, which is adsorbed by the feijoa fruits. The fruits are extremely valuable fresh, extremely fragrant. But even in processed form - in compotes, preserves, jams - they are not inferior to strawberries and quince. Jam, jams, "raw jam" are made from the fruits. To do this, you just need to wash the fruit, cut off the upper scales, scroll in a meat grinder, mix with sugar. The ratio of sugar to fruit is usually 1: 1. When fresh, the fruit is cut across, and the contents are scooped out with a teaspoon. From the fruits of feijoa, an essential oil is obtained - light yellow, transparent, with a strong specific odor.
An important biological feature of the feijoa is the natural shedding of ripe fruits from the bush. At the same time, they are still firm, which simplifies harvesting and protects the fruits from mechanical damage. The fruits are stored in a warehouse at a temperature of 10-15 ° C and within 5-10 days they ripen, soften and become fragrant. At a temperature of 7-8 ° C, fruits are stored for 30-40 days.
Growing feijoa in an apartment
Since feijoa is a thermophilic plant, accustomed to the climate of hot subtropics, it is more expedient to grow it in our temperate climate in indoor conditions. Feijoa propagates by seeds, as well as vegetatively: by layering and cuttings. The vegetatively propagated plant begins to bear fruit in the 3-4th year, seedlings - from 6-7 years of age. For cuttings with a sharp knife, cut off healthy cuttings 6-8 cm long immediately under the knot, remove the lower leaves.
Fill the pot with a damp mixture, crush and make indentations. Plant the cut cuttings in the grooves, immersing them in the soil until the first leaf. Carefully shake the soil around them. Next, cover the planted cuttings with a transparent bag and place in a warm place - the temperature is not lower than 22-25 ° C. When new leaves appear, the stalk has taken root, but it needs to acclimatize. Therefore, do not rush to immediately remove the bag, do it gradually - leave the plants uncovered for 1-2 hours for the first three days. Then gradually increase the “undressing” time until the bag is completely removed. Rooted cuttings can be transplanted to a permanent place in a pot of earthen mixture.
For better adaptation to the proposed conditions, seeds are more suitable propagation material. They must be taken from ripe fruits. The fruit is opened with a knife and the central part with numerous small seeds is taken out. The pulp should be placed on a dense cloth and washed with water or a weak solution of potassium permanganate.
Seeds are slightly dried at 20 ° C. Before sowing, they can be stored in a cool dry place at a temperature not exceeding 5 ° C. Sowing is carried out in early spring in February-March. Seeds are sown in light, well-moistened soil to a depth of 0.5 cm. On top, it is better to sprinkle the soil another 0.5 cm with clean river sand to prevent the development of black leg.
The composition of the soil should be as follows: a mixture of turf and sand (1: 1). At a temperature of 20-25 ° C in the light, seedlings covered with glass or plastic bags appear in 20-30 days, while the soil should be sprayed as it dries.
In the first year of growth, feijoa plants are transplanted twice: the first time with pruning of part of the root system at the stage of 2-4 pairs of leaves, and the second time from boxes to pots. The composition of the soil is now supplemented with a part of humus in this way: take 1 part of sod land, 1 part of humus, 1 part of sand. Since feijoa does not tolerate excess lime, it is recommended to water the plant with acidified water.
In the first year, the plants practically do not branch, so they must be pinched. In the future, they observe intensive growth, therefore, up to 5 years old, feijoa plants are transplanted once a year, without disturbing the earthen coma and slightly increasing the volume of the pot. Subsequently, they can be transplanted every three years in a not too spacious container with a partial replacement of the soil with a more nutritious one.
If your plants suddenly began to shed their leaves, this does not indicate a disease, but a lack of lighting and an increased air temperature, low humidity in the room. Since feijoa is photophilous, it is better to place young plants on a window on the south or southeast side so that daylight hours, if possible, last at least 12 hours. If this cannot be achieved in a natural way, then additional lighting must be applied. If you keep plants in winter on a lighted veranda at a temperature of about 6 ° C, then additional lighting is not necessary.
Plants can be exposed outdoors in May. Since the Feijoa is mainly a cross-pollinated crop, it is better to have two copies and to pollinate by hand. If feijoa grows outdoors, then pollination occurs with the help of insects. It is recommended to cultivate varieties in the room that do not need additional pollination. These include Coolidge - oblong-oval fruits; Superba - round, fragrant fruits; Nikitsky aromatic, Crimean early and others. The fruits ripened in the room are no different from those grown "in the wild".
Flowers and fruits are formed on the shoots of the current year. Feijoa blooms from May, sometimes throughout the summer, but the massive bloom lasts three weeks. The flowers are very beautiful, similar to fuchsia. Single and paired, several per inflorescence. Corolla petals are edible - sweet. Tearing them off does not affect fruit setting. If indoor plants are blooming but not bearing fruit, brush cross-pollination is necessary. For better fertilization, it is recommended to spray the flowers with clean water. Of the pests, feijoa is attacked by spider mites and scale insects. The pubescent surface of the leaves makes the fight against these pests a laborious task. Prevention is better than serious and long-term treatment.
You have to wait a long time for the feijoa to bear fruit, but even without flowers, a sprawling bush with rounded glossy leaves on top and pubescent on the bottom is very decorative and will delight you with beauty throughout its life.