Hartley Magazine

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The tastiest fruit in the world?


You need a greenhouse to crop Feijoas though not to grow these as ornamental evergreen shrubs. For these are fairly hardy, tougher than thought. I’ve had a couple surviving outdoors here in Norfolk for twenty plus years which have never fruited. First introduced from S. America in 1898 these are found in Botanic gardens though oddly seldom seen anywhere else. Feijoas (now Acca) sellowiana are decorative plants and gained an RHS Award of Merit in 1927, the variegated form won another A.M. in 1969. However without coming indoors in the warm these look good but seldom ever fruit and that’s their most fantastically enjoyable part.

Feijoas in the ground reach several metres feet high and the same across. Their foliage is neat, dark green, downy white underneath, on brown flaky stems.  Under cover these are happy in large tubs and this keeps them more compact, anyway if needed they can be safely pruned. Attractive in foliage the bushes are embellished in hot summers with stunningly gorgeous blooms. Bent back waxy white petals, almost cyclamen-like, encircle erupting masses of brilliant crimson stamens.

This’s why the need for a greenhouse as without warmth those flowers are scarce. Winning even a few is so worthwhile as these are edible, not just edible, really palatable. Those waxy succulent petals possess a spicy almost clove come mace aroma making these delightful and decorative additions to salads.

Outdoors fruits seldom set, and then hardly ever ripen in the UK. However grown under cover the fruits do set and swell resembling bottle shaped figs. You may sometimes find these in specialist greengrocers however those will have been picked under-ripe to ship. Grow these yourself and only eat them when they’ve dropped.  O.M.G. you cannot guess how good these are and a thousand times better than the bought ones. Halve and scoop the pulp tiny seeds and all from the tougher skin. Some describe the flavour as a fine fruit salad, others as pineapple tinged pear. Believe me, when fully ripe these are undoubtedly one of the most delicious fruits in the world!

Easy to maintain Feijoas require no special compost or attention until flowering when hand pollination will help more fruits set (having two or more plants also improves the set). Feijoas are seldom bothered by pests or diseases and other than regular watering are about as care-free as you can find.

You can grow Feijoas from seed, I did, it’s taken nearly thirty years to get my first fruits. Luckily small plants are not very expensive, several suppliers do mail order with around a half dozen improved varieties available. So order yours a.s.a.p. you will never regret doing so for this really is one of the best ‘unknowns’!