Guavas, a tropical fruit native to Central and South America, were introduced to Florida in the 19th century by the Spanish explorers who were exploring and colonizing the New World.
Guavas are believed to have originated from an area spanning Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, extending throughout the Caribbean region. Archaeological evidence from Peru suggests that guava cultivation dates back as far as 2500 BCE.
Over time, guava became a widely cultivated crop in subtropical and tropical regions across Asia, Africa, and Oceania. In the United States, guava was introduced to Florida in the 19th century and is now grown as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldo, and Fort Pierce.
However, guavas are a primary host of the Caribbean fruit fly and require protection against infestation in areas where this pest is present.
Guavas are commercially grown in many tropical and subtropical countries, with apple guava and its cultivars being the most commonly traded internationally.
While mature trees of most guava species are cold-hardy and can withstand temperatures slightly colder than −4 °C (25 °F) for short periods, younger plants are more vulnerable to freezing.
Interestingly, guavas are one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors, making them of interest to home growers in subtropical areas.
When grown from seed, guava trees can bear fruit in as little as two years and continue to do so for up to forty years. In southwestern Europe, particularly on the Costa del Sol in Málaga, Spain, and in Greece, guavas have been commercially grown since the mid-20th century, and they are now widely cultivated as cultivars.
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