Publication from Fruitipedia, Encyclopedia of the Edible Fruits of the World
by Dr. Chirankit Parmar
Input from Dr. D.S. Rathore
Assistant Director General (Horticulture), Indian Council of Agricultural Research
is a very popular fruit. It is available throughout the year
except during the summer season. Being very hardy, it gives an
assured crop even with very little care. Its cost of production
is also low because its requirements for fertilizer, irrigation and
plant protection are not much. Further its nutritive value is
very high. Therefore, it is and ideal fruit for the nutritional
security. Guava is also grown as a backyard fruit to great
extent. In India, the best quality guavas are produced in Uttar
Pradesh, particularly in Allahabad region.
Climate and soil
to its hardy nature, guava is grown successfully in tropical and
subtropical regions up to 1, 500 m above mean sea-level. Best
quality guavas are obtained where low night temperatures (10`C) prevail
during winter season. It tolerates high temperatures and drought
conditions in North India during summers but it is susceptible to
severe frost as it can kill the young plants. An annual rainfall
of about 100 cm is sufficient during the rainy season (July-
September). The rains during harvesting period, however,
deteriorate the quality of fruits.
Guava is cultivated on
varied types of soils- heavy clay to very light sandy soils.
Nevertheless, very good quality guavas are produced in
river-basins. It tolerates a soil pH of 4.5- 8.2. Maximum
concentration of its feeding roots is available up to 25 cm soil
depth. Thus the top soil should be quite rich to provide enough
nutrients for accelerating new growth which bears fruits.
varietals characteristics in guava are not as distinct as found in
majority of other fruits. Its propagation through seeds
reduces the distinctive characteristics of a variety in commercial
cultivation. Important guava varieties are:
known as Sardar, its fruits are large, roundish ovate in shape, skin
primrose yellow and pulp white, very sweet and tasty. The TSS and
vitamin C contents are high. The trees are vigorous.
most famous variety of Allahabad, it has acquired large variations due
to seed propagation. The fruits are large in size, round in
shape, skin smooth and yellowish white. The flesh is white, firm,
soft having pleasant flavour, high TSS and vitamin C content. The
seeds are numerous, bold and hard. The trees are tall with
profuse branching and broad crown. It can withstand drought
variety is very popular in western Uttar Pradesh. The fruits are
characterized by numerous red dots on the skin, high sweetness, and
small and soft seeds. It is otherwise similar to Allahabad safeda
fruits in size, shape and pulp. It has higher TSS content than
Allahabad Safeda and Lucknow 49 but lower vitamin C content. The
tree characters resemble to those of Allahabad Safeda.
is more popular in Bihar because of profuse bearing. The trees
are of medium vigour due to sparse branching. The fruit is round
in shape, medium large in size and greenish yellow in color.
Flavour is sweet with good keeping quality.
is a red- fleshed guava having good taste. It is mainly grown in
Bihar. Fruit is of moderately big sized, spherical in shape with thin
skin. Trees are of medium vigour but productive.
fruits are medium sized and pink colored. They are sweet in taste
with good keeping quality. They require low temperature for the
development of good pink color. The trees are of medium vigour
but their leaves are greener than others. However, it is a
the seedless varieties viz. Saharanpur Seedless, Nagpur seedless and
others, are the same. Two types of fruits, completely seedless
and partly seeded, are borne on a plant of seedless variety. The
completely seedless fruits develop on the shoots rising from the stem
and these are bigger in size and irregular in shape. The partly
seeded fruits are born on normal shoots at the periphery and are small
in size and round in shape. Seedless variety is unfit for
commercial cultivation because it gives very low yield. The
plants are very vigorous.
is a seedling selection of variety Allahabad Safeda. Its medium
sized fruits are of excellent quality with high TSS. The white
pulp has only few soft seeds. The plants are of medium vigour but
Surkha is an outstanding variety of large, uniform pink fruits with
deep pink flesh. The plants produce up to 120 kg fruits in its
sixth year of fruiting. The fruit is sweet, strongly flavoured
with few seeds and is slightly depressed at both ends. The plants
are vigorous, dome shaped and compact.
Guava is propagated both by seeds and vegetatively. But vegetative propagation is followed commercially.
propagation of guava through seeds should not be encouraged because the
seedlings have long juvenile phase, give lower yields and bear poor
quality fruits. But the seedlings serve as rootstock material for
grafting or budding. The seeds should be sown as soon as possible
after extraction from the ripe fruits. Soaking of seeds in water
for 12 hours or in hydrochloric acid for 3 minutes gives about 90%
germination. About 1 year old seedlings become ready for grafting or
budding. For planting seedlings, seed should be collected from
the plants producing high quality fruits and high yield.
In northern India, guava is propagated by inarching,
giving a very high percentage of success during rainy season. But
inarching is cumbersome and gives limited number of plants from the
has been adopted only on a limited scale in some parts of the country
where the atmospheric humidity is high. The main problem
encountered in this method is disbudding of rootstock making it labor
intensive. Among the various methods of budding- shield, forkert,
patch, and chip – the patch budding is a ideal giving highest
percentage of success. However, the best time of budding differs
from locality to locality.
is being commercially followed in the southern and western India with
very good results. After bending the plant, its branches are
covered with soil leaving the terminal portion open. In a few
months the rooting of branches takes place which are then separated
from the mother plants and planted in the nursery for further
sale. Layering is a labor intensive method. A limited number of
plants can only be multiplied from a mother plant.
When mother plants are very tall, air layering
of shoots is done during the rainy season using polythene and moist
sphagnum moss. Use of root promoting plant growth regulator, IBA
(3,000 ppm), promotes the rooting of air layers up to 100%. The
main limitation of air layering is the poor establishment of air
layering in the nursery after detachment from the mother plant.
Further, the method is very cumbersome and labor- intensive.
is the easiest and cheapest method of guava propagation. The self
rooted plants (cuttings or layers) are planted 0.5 m apart in the
stooling bed. These are allowed to grow for about 3 years.
Then these are cut down at the ground level in March. New shoots
emerge on the beheaded stumps. A 30 cm wide ring of bark is
removed from the
Base of each shoot rubbing the cambium of the
exposed portion in May. All the shoots are mounded with the soil
to a height of 30 cm. the soil is covered with mulch to conserve
the moisture. After a period of 2 months of the onset monsoon,
the shoots are detached from the mother plant at ringed portion and
planted in the nursery. The shoots are headed back to maintain
the root and shoot balance before planting in the nursery.
following the technique of ringing and mounding of the shoots, second
time stooling is done on the same mother stools in first week of
September. The rooted stool layers are detached in first week of
November. Thus stooling is done twice on the same mother stools
in a year. The stooling of a mother stool can be done for many
years. With the advancement in its age, the number of stool
layers also increases every year. The growth and development of
stool layers are better than seedlings. The application of
rooting hormone is not required.
A semi dwarfing rootstock for guava aneuploid 82 has been developed.
The filed for planting is prepared during summer season by ploughing,
leveling and removing weeds. The pits of 1m x1m x 1m size are dug
and filled with a mixture of farmyard manure and soil. If soil is
good and irrigation facilities are available, the preparation of land
and digging of pits are not required. The planting is done during
the rainy season by adopting square planting system.
Guava is commercially planted at a distance of 5-8 m. The exact
planting distance is, however, decided according to variety, soil
fertility and availability of irrigation facilities. Guava
Lunknow 49 needs more spacing than apple guava and Allahabad
Safeda. Under irrigation and high soil fertility, the plants
become very vigorous requiring more spacing. In normal
conditions, a planting distance of 7 m is optimum. High density
planting reduces total soluble solids, sugars and ascorbic acid but
increase irritable acidity. The lower plant population results in
the spread of crown, while higher planting density causes erect growth
of branches making the plant tall and compact. High density planting
gives higher yield/ unit area in early years of fruiting.
Traditionally, no pruning is done in guava because the plant bears
heavily even without it. But no pruning results in the formation
of narrow crotches, limb breakage due to heavy fruit load and
overcrowding. Therefore, training of plants in young stage to
build strong framework and to avoid weak crotches is necessary, whereas
fruiting trees should be trained as low headed trees to facilitate
multiple hand pickings. The open centre of delayed open centre system
may be adopted. The scaffold branches in young plants are to be
tipped back to encourage secondary branching the root sucker, water
sprouts and criss-cross branches are to be removed altogether. In
Maharashtra, bending of horizontal branches is practiced to some extent
by tying the branches of 2 adjoining plants to increase fruiting in
young plants but it is labour intensive and creates hindrances in
In every growing season, a large number of new shoots emerge on a guava
tree and majority of these are lateral. Very few are terminal.
These shoots produce fruits. After 1 year most of the lateral
shoots dry out, while terminal shoots put forth the extension growth.
Hence, to check the overcrowding and to control the plant height, the
terminal shoots on the periphery may be headed back at about 40 cm
level in alternate years. Pruning also takes place during
harvesting as the fruit is plucked along with the shoot on which it is
borne. Pruning is usually recommended after harvesting or in
spring. Summer pruning may damage the plant by sun burning.
Manuring and fertilization
Although guava is grown without the application of any manure and
fertilizer, it responds very well to their application by giving higher
yield and better quality fruits. For guava growing regions of the
country, different fertilizer schedule- 600 g N, 400 g K in northern
region; 260 g N, and 260 g K in eastern region; 900 g N, 600 g P and
K in southern region and 600 g N, 300 g P and 300 g
K/plant/year in western region, have been recommended. The
fertilizer application should be based on leaf nutrient status of an
orchard, wherever feasible.
Time of fertilizer application depends on the crop taken and the
region. In north India, fertilizer is given in the first week of
May for rainy season crop and in first week of July for winter season
crop. In West Bengal, fertilizers are applied in 2 equal split
doses, one in January and the other August. At Bangalore, full K
and 70%N are applied in June and full P and 30% N in September. Since
48% of feeder roots of guava are found in the surface soil up to 25 cm
depth, the fertilizer should be placed in 25 cm trenches 1 m away from
the trunk for better uptake.
Sometimes guava suffers a deficiency which is characterized by
reduction in leaf size, intervenal chlorosis, and suppression of growth
and dieback of leaders. It can be corrected by spraying of ZnSO4
(0.45kg) and hydrated lime (0.32 kg) in water (33 liters).
Bronzing is another common problem in guava. It is caused by the
deficiency of B, Zn, N, P and K Due to low soil pH the soluble P level
of leave is a better index for bronzing. Guava Lucknow 49 is more
susceptible then Allahabad Safeda. It can be reduced by improving
the soil pH and treating the soil with N, P, K and Zn at 200, 80, 150
and 80 g/ year respectively, or fortnightly foliar spraying of these
nutrients each at 2% for 4 months.
plants do not require much care after planting. The weeds are
removed by shallow cultivation. Green Manuring should be done
during rainy season and clean cultivation during rest of the
year. Leguminous crops can be grown as intercrops during first 3
year of planting to obtain more income and to increase the N content of
Both rainy and winter season crops are very
heavy compared with spring crop. Fruit quality of the winter crop
is best. Therefore, winter crop is preferred over the rainy
season crop. In northern India, normally hot and dry summers
along with low soil moisture do not allow summer flowers to set the
fruits for rainy season crop which is known for its poor quality fruits
and severe incidence of fruit fly and fruit-borer. The practice
of increasing winter crop and by removing rainy season crop is known as
The rainy season crop can be
removed by spraying of urea (10 %) on Allahabad Safeda and 20% on
Lunknow 49 at the time of peak flowering in summer season. Other
methods of removing rainy season crop are hand removal of flowers and
fruits, spraying of bioregulators, root exposure, withholding
irrigation and pruning of ¾th of flower-bearing shoots are
either costlier or impractical or ineffective.
is mostly grown under rain fed condition and irrigation is rarely
practiced wherever this facility is available. However,
irrigation enhances the yield of guava by making the plant more
vigorous and increasing the fruit set. Irrigation is especially
desirable after planting for survival of the plants and thereafter for
2-3 year to obtain early good growth. Irrigation of fruiting
plants depends upon the adoption of a particular cropping
pattern. For the whole year, cropping pattern which is
commercially adopted all over the country except the northern region,
irrigation is essential during summer season. Normally, winter
season cropping pattern is adopted in north India which requires
fortnightly irrigation during October-November. Irrigation is
given to make the soil of root zone moist; thus heavy irrigation is
unnecessary. The fruit quality of guava is adversely affected by
high soil moisture content during harvesting.
Harvesting and postharvest management
are harvested throughout the year (except during May and June) in one
or the other region of India. However, peak harvesting periods in
north India are August for rainy season crop, November-December for
winter season crop and March- April for spring season crop. In
the mild climatic conditions of the other parts of the country, the
peak harvesting periods are not so distinct.
develop best flavour and aroma only when they ripen on tree. In most of
the commercial varieties, the stage of fruit ripeness is indicated by
the color development which is usually yellow. For local market,
fully yellow but firm fruits are harvested, whereas half yellow should
be picked for distant markets. The fruits are harvested
selectively by hand along with the stalk and leaves.
begin bearing at an early age of 2-3 years but they attain full bearing
capacity at the age of 8-10 years. The yield of a plant depends
on its age, cropping pattern and the cultural practices. A 10
year-old plant yields about 100kg of fruits every year. If both
rainy and winter season crops are taken, more yields may be obtained in
the rainy season.
Ripening of guava starts on the tree and
continues even after harvest. It is accelerated in rainy season
due to high temperature and slows down in winter season due to low
temperature. The fruits are packed in baskets make from locally
available plant material. For distant markets, wooden or
corrugated fiberboard boxes are used along with good cushioning
materials- paddy straw, dry grass, guava leaves or rough paper.
Good ventilation is necessary to check build up of heat. Guava is
a delicate fruit requiring careful handling during harvesting and
transporting. The fruits should reach the consumer in a firm
Because of their perishable nature, guava as
disposed off immediately after harvesting in the local market and a
very small quantity is sent to distant markets. Since fruits are
sold at a cheaper price and are available for a very long period of the
year, they are not kept in cold storage. However, shelf life of guava
can be extended up to 20 days by keeping them at low temperature of 5 C
and 75-85 % relative humidity. It can also be stored for about 10
days at room temperature (18`-23`C) in polybags providing a ventilation
of 0.25 %.
plants are attacked by wilt, which alone causes heavy losses. It
is very difficult to find out an orchard of guava more than 30 years in
age because most of its plants die at about 20 years of age due to
wilt. Various fungi causing wilt are Fusarium roseum oxysporum, F. psiddi, F, solani, Macrophomina phaseolina and Gliocladium roseum.
Resistant rootstock is the only solution. The planting material
should not be obtained from a wilt infected region or nursery.