My father, who lives in Florida, recently gave me a guava that was growing in his back yard. He potted it with soil from the ground and tossed in into the back of my van to bring home to Boston. This little stick with leaves looks pretty sad. The leaves have wilted and dried in spite of having been watered; even the tip is dry and brittle. The internet tells me that guavas can grow happily in containers but I'm afraid this one hasn't transitioned well from yard to pot.

Questions include: Has it past from this life? Is there no hope? What can I expect if it's not dead? How long should I wait to see if anything comes back? What can I do to encourage the little guy to pull through? In general what should I do? I have no guava experience.


This article is extremely detailed so I will give the salient points:

  • if the main stem dies it is likely to sprout multiple stems, give it a few months
  • not fussy as to soil
  • guavas are tough, verging on weedy in the tropics. Don't give up hope!
  • regular watering when the top half inch of soil dries out should do
  • does not tolerate frost and not happy with temperatures lower than ~15 degree C
  • cannot tolerate intense hot summers
  • with your location in Boston the key to success is lots of indoor light in the winter, perhaps filtered light in the summer, depending on the amount of light received
  • if the plant has been stressed I would not consider repotting until you have seen a few months of good growth.
  • once you see growth again a fertilizer applied at a fraction of the recommended rate every few weeks should help. (I find tropicals do better with small amounts of fertilizer at regular intervals as opposed to monthly applications. Applying at 1/8th or 1/10th the recommended rate on a weekly or biweekly basis for vigorously growing plants more closely approximates the natural cycle of the tropics)

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