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Does anyone have a 'Chilean Guava' fruit bush (Ugni molinae)

 
pollinator
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Does anyone have a 'Chilean Guava' fruit bush (Ugni molinae)?
What do they taste like ? are they easy to propergate ? Do they need lots of heat ?

David
 
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We have a few big ones and lots of little ones. Sharon went on a planting spree early this spring and lifted about two dozen root sucker pups and put them along a fence by the cattle yards. The older ones are putting on new growth after a radical haircut to deal with their leggy habit and I'm amazed at how profusely they're sending up root suckers...no trouble propagating them here, anyway.

They usually flower through December here and the fruit is ripe in March. In the N hemisphere that would be June/Sept if you were in a similar climate zone (we're cool temperate, maritime with marginal summer heat and rainfall year round but heavier in winter and spring). The berries are about the size of a real cranberry but the taste is quite different: a perfect balance between sweet and tart with a nice spicy, aromatic component from the skin. Kids can strip an entire bush if they put their mind to it. Definitely an excellent fruit to have and we're a little nervous about the spread of myrtle rust in the North Island and what it may do to this plant and all of our other Myrtaceae, like feijoas and the native pohutukawa and rata trees.

Since we don't do heat here, I can assure you that they're fine without it. Our "hot" midsummer days are around 27 degrees, and 30 is about as high as it ever gets (record is 32). Their natural habitat is understory in the Chilean rainforest, so the next lot we plant out will probably be mixed in with trees. They do seem to like being on the south side of the house, even though this time of year that means they get full sun for much of the day.
 
David Livingston
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Wow thanks Phil I will be putting it on my Christmas list
How big do the bushes grow ?

David
 
Phil Stevens
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The two big ones were maybe 1.5m with a few branches reaching 2m before we chopped them back. They seem to respond well to pruning.
 
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They are one of my favourite fruits now, they grow really well here in U.K as they grow in the south of Chile, my Chilean friend had never seen or heard of them so they obviously don't get a far north as Santiago. I have a few 'normal' plants and two named cultivars 'Flambeau' and 'Butterball' that are meant to be ornamental but they have not fruited so far (probably due to there younger age). There is a cultivar called Ka-pow which is bred for the fruit but seems to be out of stock whenever I check for it.

There is also a close relative Ugni myricoides that grows better in hotter climates. I tried to grow these from seed (I thought it might be fun to try to make a hybrid) but I probably didn't give them enough attention and they all died on me.
 
David Livingston
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Unfortunately French garden centers are about five years behind the Brits  any other plants I could be missing Henry ?
I will check out the other one as we are a bit warmer than the UK thanks for that

David
 
Henry Jabel
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This is still my favourite 'unusual' fruit but these are pretty good too:

Honeyberry:Blueberry like without the need for very acid soil
Japanese Wineberry:Raspberry like but sweeter.
Chuckleberry: A very productive large blackcurrant like fruit. Its a cross of several Ribes species.
Cultivated sea buckthorn varieties: Mary and Sunny are good, kind of like a sour orange juice. Much more palatable than the wild version.
Cornus Kousa:I think it tastes v good but the fruit is on the small side. I tried a customer's tree so wether my Chinesis variety will have larger fruit remains to be seen.
Aronia:Tastes nice to begin with but v astringent, goes well with other fruits and cream though. My Polish partner says the ones I have are much nicer than the wild ones in Poland so I would make sure to get a cultivar.

Here are some more I am looking into or waiting for them to fruit in my garden:

Luma apiculata: Chilean/Argentine Myrtle
Myrteola nummularia:Another Chilean/Argentine Myrtle
Serviceberry
 
pollinator
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I planted one probably 2yrs ago now. I tried the first one today. It was quite pleasant. Sweet with a spicy note kinda like nutmeg? It’s hard to describe but they’re good!
 
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I think of it as a clove-like flavour.. they are thriving at my parents place in Victoria(BC), but do get covered in winter.

The flavour is nice, but to me the smell is so amazing that the taste is a bit underwhelming.. they smell kind of like cotton candy in fruit form! Mostly we mix them in with other berries in sauces or cobbler etc.

Harvest is very late for a berry, which is nice IMO....but in the central island area I have no hope of growing them outside.
 
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i have two shrubs of it growing ,the variegated ornamental variety has been growing for 4 years now and has never fruited , the standard type took about two years before it showed a few small fruits ,this year was its 3 rd time to fruit and whilest more each time ---not very abundant---taste good though --spicey clove sweetish --good after taste ---i think the ones that i tasted after our frosts were even better---couldnt say i would settle down to a whole bowl of them --but would combine well with something else---not sure what yet ---but they have a definite xmass taste type fruit to them---mince pies?---game sauce/gravy ?---mulled cider?
 
Chris Holcombe
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I tried taking cuttings a week ago. So far they’re proving fairly drought tolerant. They’ve barely showed any signs of wilting yet. I’m hoping that’s a good indication that they’re putting out roots. I’m using Clonex spray on them and some potting soil with a bunch of coco coir mixed in. I’ve noticed that if I mix coco coir into my potting soil it doesn’t develop fungus as easily.
 
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I grew it a few years ago. I liked the berries. It can't take cold weather.  Mine died and I didn't get another one.   However, as the climate warms, I should probably look into buying another one.  It doesn't seem to get as cold as it used to here, and we get a lot more heat units.  
John S
PDX OR zone 8b/9a
 
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John Suavecito wrote:I grew it a few years ago. I liked the berries. It can't take cold weather.  Mine died and I didn't get another one.   However, as the climate warms, I should probably look into buying another one.  It doesn't seem to get as cold as it used to here, and we get a lot more heat units.  
John S
PDX OR zone 8b/9a


Wow, I'm surprised to hear that John. I'm about 8 hours south of you on the coast and they are one of the most common landscaping plants around town here. There are several large hedges of them. We get several sub freezing nights most years and I've never seen them appear to suffer. What was the weather event that took yours out?
 
D Nikolls
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D Nikolls wrote:I think of it as a clove-like flavour.. they are thriving at my parents place in Victoria(BC), but do get covered in winter.

The flavour is nice, but to me the smell is so amazing that the taste is a bit underwhelming.. they smell kind of like cotton candy in fruit form! Mostly we mix them in with other berries in sauces or cobbler etc.

Harvest is very late for a berry, which is nice IMO....but in the central island area I have no hope of growing them outside.



My parents 3 bushes are still thriving, and last year produced a really absurd amount of fruit for just three plants.

Propagation by bending branches to the ground and allowing them to root seems to work fine, though not super fast.
 
John Suavecito
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s. lowe
8 hours south is a long ways!
Pretty much everyone I had talked to had grown it, liked the berries, and had them die every so many years.
Some people just buy a new one.
Some people put it in a pot and bring it inside for that spell.
I wasn't willing to do that for yet another plant.
There is a big difference in going down to 29 degrees and going down to 12 degrees.  
Just like there are so many plants 8 hours south where people say that it's not worth growing down there,
due to many diseases that we don't get here, or lack of chill hours.  How do you get that many chill hours?
We don't have to try. It just happens.

John S
PDX OR
 
s. lowe
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John, I did not realize it got so cold in Portland. I do tend to forget that its not really on the coast but is a fair  bit inland which makes a big difference. I don't see any major climatic or ecological shift driving up the coast highway but as soon as you head off the coast the miles start to make a big difference
 
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