Happy New Year everyone! Update on growing feijoas in the UK I’ve added a new post on where to buy feijoa trees: Grow your own feijoa plants.
Since starting our small feijoa farm we’ve had a few people ask “how are the plants pollinated in the UK?”
Funnily enough much the same way as in New Zealand. One of the big pollinators in New Zealand is the introduced European Blackbird (Turdus merula). There is research into the fact that the bigger UK bumblebees, also introduced to New Zealand may be good pollinators. Smaller insects seem to be less successful.
Although Blackbirds are often in the feijoa plants they haven’t yet been seen pollinating the plants. The birds found most amongst the plants here are Robins (Erithacus rubecula), Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) and Coal tits (Periparus ater). As we grow everything organically they seem to be most interested in clearing the plants of possible insects.
Bees haven’t been seen on the flowers, however the flowers are very popular with wasps. Not sure what types of wasps visit the flowers. There’s a photo below if anyone knows the name would be greatly appreciated.
The feijoas are planted up with insect attracting plants such as Verbena bonariensis, Lavendars and Foxglove (Digitalis) to try and attract pollinators at different seasons to extend the fruiting season.
Growing Feijoas in the UK, insect pests?
With the North of New Zealand being hit particularly hard by the Australian Guava Moth (Coscinoptycha improbana) we are constantly on the look out for UK pests. There doesn’t currently seem to be any UK based insect pests for the feijoas. Just to be on the safe side and being 100% organic the farm is also planted up with plants such as Achillea Filipendulina to attract hoverflies (Syrphidae) that are preditory insects.
Update 31/07/2023: Growing Feijoas indoors:
As a few people have asked about growing feijoas indoors I thought I’d give it a go, I have a small greenhouse and put a few of my favourite plants in there to see how they go. I open the door every day to let birds in, not something people will be doing if growing indoors, even with that the leaves and stems got heavily hit by scale. Now that I also have a few 100 plants in close proximity scale pops up on them as well, the birds do remove a better job outside and don’t get to be a problem.
How to tell if you have scale on your feijoa plants, they get black sticky areas on leaves or the stem as seen in the photo below, sorry about the quality I struggle to take photos these days (not great for someone that worked as a professional photographer). The scale insects, not sure which type they are, create black sooty mould on the leaves, this can weaken the leaves and plants due to lack of photosynthesis, it can be washed off with water or a weak soap and water mix if needed. If the infestation gets too bad cut the worst regions back hard.
Photo of scale insect on feijoa leaf as well as the black sooty mould.
Late fruiting feijoas.
A quick final note for this post. Going into the start of 2020 we still have a few fruit falling from the plants, the fruit have been very sweet! Seeds from the largest fruit in the photo below will be kept and grown to try and create a late large fruiting crop for 3 to 5 years down the line. It’ll hopefully be a perfect Christmas feijoa for fellow Kiwis missing the taste of New Zealand feijoas.