Chilean guava

Latin name: Ugni Molinae   
Common names: Chilean guava/ Strawberry myrtle

This evergreen shrub from South America was grown widely in the UK as a fruit crop by the Victorians. Apparently it was Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit.

The plant has with small leathery leaves with an upright, bushy habit and will grow (slowly) to 1 – 1.5 m. Chilean guava is self-fertile, meaning you do not have to have more than one plant for fruits to set. It has lovely, fragrant white flowers in spring followed by red edible berries in the Autumn. The fruits are delicious eaten fresh. Apparently, the leaves can be used in teas, however I have not tried this yet so cannot vouch for the taste. 

Chilean Guava will grow in any soil type with a range of Ph as long as it is not waterlogged. Martin Crawford from the Agroforestry Research Trust describes the plant as ‘Drought tolerant.’ It prefers full sun but will tolerate partial shade. The plant prefers shelter, and we have our stock plant planted in the ground on the north side of a low wall to protect it from harsh winter North Easterly winds. 

Ugni Molinae is hardy to -10 (RHS Hardiness rating 4). Our stock plant has survived outside in the ground without any problems, but the RHS recommend growing in an unheated greenhouse in colder areas of the UK. 

Use in forest gardens/ food forests in the shrub layer, in mixed borders in the ornamental garden to give evergreen structure or as an addition to soft fruit bushes in a kitchen garden. 

We propagate the plant from Semi ripe cuttings in the summer. 

We inherited only two mature three litre plants for sale from the previous owners and we will have many more young plants for sale in 2025. 

Rachael Collins
Head of Horticulture

With thanks to Alan Gregg for kind permission to use the photo!