Kumquat, also known as Citrus japonica, is an easy-to-grow fruit tree. Of all citrus fruits, it is the most beautiful with dark green shiny leaves. It is famous for its bright orange fruits, deliciously sour and sweet.
These trees, native to East Asia, are relatively small and beautiful. If you are looking to grow them in your garden, you should know all the care tips! Keep reading for tons of information.
Quick Maintenance Guide
Kumquat plants have thornless branches and extremely shiny leaves. They bear graceful white flowers that appear in clusters or individually in the axils of the leaves. Plants can grow up to 8 feet tall and up to 6 feet wide. They bear yellow-orange fruits of oval or round shape. The fruits can be 1″ in diameter and have a soft, chewy skin and a slightly sour inner pulp.
Despite the fact that these are citrus fruits, the flowering season for kumquats comes much after. Kumquat blooms in after spring – early summer. It is an easy-care and cold-resistant plant that can tolerate temperatures up to 18°F (-7°C).
Species of Kumquat
Botanically, many varieties of kumquats are classified as their own species, rather than as a cultivar:
- Nagami: the most popular variety, also known as oval kumquat.
- Meiwa: large round kumquat, a hybrid of ‘Nagami’ and ‘Marumi’.
- Marumi: round kumquat, a little spicier in taste than “Nagami”.
- Hong Kong: a native version, which often grows in hilly or mountainous regions of China.
- Whatever you choose, kumquat trees produce round, oval and bell-shaped fruits. Nagami kumquats, which are the most popular, have elongated juicy fruits, which can be eaten whole or used to make marmalades.
All kumquat trees are self-pollinated, so you only need to grow one tree. Plants need moist soil, so they need enough water to prevent drying out of the roots. Kumquats can tolerate both cold and hot temperatures.
Planting a kumquat
Growing a kumquat is very simple. Here’s a look at when, where and how to plant this attractive evergreen tree.
When to plant
You can successfully start a new kumquat plant by planting the seed in the spring. Spring is the ideal time for kumquats because the temperature is pleasant with a higher risk of rain and of course a lot of sun. Early spring is also the best time to transplant a young kumquat.
Where to plant
Plant in a place where there is full sun. You can plant them in your garden or outside on your terrace, as long as they receive well-drained soil. They also do well in pots or containers with suitable drainage holes, but will grow much better if planted directly in the ground. Choose a place where your tree will be protected from strong winds if possible.
How to plant
It is best to buy a kumquat in a local nursery. Kumquat can germinate from seeds, but the plant is usually weak. Choose a sunny spot and plant the tree in the spring to ensure that the kumquat is well established before winter.
After choosing the place, dig a hole at least 3-5 times wider than the root ball. Carefully place the tree in the hall, making sure that the floor is at ground level. Pat the floor for a smooth layer.
Since kumquats need regular hydration, water the plant thoroughly and do not let the soil dry out. Mist often, at least twice a week, until the tree settles.
Add organic mulch to the environment, about 2-3 inches away, while keeping the mulch at least 10 inches from the trunk.
Provide good watering and soil conditions for about a month, then fertilize. You can use a high-quality citrus formula.
Care of Flower Kumquat
Kumquat, especially the variety known as nagami kumquat, is relatively easy to grow. However, like other citrus fruits, it cannot survive neglect. When planting the tree, it is essential to treat it with the utmost care. The trip is worth it once the kumquat begins to bear delicious citrus fruits. Here is an overview of how to care for it and take care of it.
Sun and temperature
As already mentioned, kumquats are best grown in full sun. They need at least 6-7 hours of sunlight a day for healthy root development, and 8-10 is better. If you grow them indoors, be sure to keep them near a window for maximum sunlight, or provide a growing light to keep them healthy.
Kumquats do well in USDA Hardy Zones 9 and 10 and can survive temperatures as low as 18 degrees F (-7 degrees C). If the temperature drops, bring them inside.
The key to the growth of a citrus is proper watering. If you grow kumquats in pots, the soil should be moist, but not wet. To do this, you need to make sure that the container has suitable drainage holes, and the soil itself drains excess water.
Kumquats need regular watering, especially if the plants are young-you often water 2-3 times a week in the first year. However, be sure not to overdo it for older trees.
To check the hydration, insert your finger at least 3-4 centimeters into the soil; if you feel moisture, wait until the soil dries out a little to water again. However, if it is dry, water the tree until the water begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Trees planted directly in the ground should be sprayed until the soil is moist, but not muddy. A water hose can help you.
Kumquat does not need a lot of pruning, except when you need to remove dead or damaged branches that can suck resources from the tree. If you want to shape the tree, be sure to do this before the flowering season in the spring and after the fruits are harvested.
Occasional pruning to open the canopy can allow more light and air into the upper part of the tree. This will help with future flowering and reduce the likelihood of ailments.
Multiplication of Kumquats
Trees are usually not grown from seeds, although they can be. The tricky thing about seeds is that you don’t necessarily get an exact clone of their mother plant. If you are trying to breed a particular cultivar, it is better to use a different method.
Instead, multiply by grafting young branches onto the rootstocks of grapefruits and oranges. The root systems of most grapefruits and orange trees tend to be more resistant to fungal soil ailments.
When growing kumquats in containers, repot every 2-3 years in containers at least a few centimeters larger than the previous ones. The ideal time for repotting is the first part of the leaf growth phase in spring.
Even though kumquat trees require a lot of care, gardeners do not have to face many growing problems.
After extreme freezing, your kumquat may experience leaf loss. Although they are hardy to about 20 degrees Fahrenheit, colder conditions can be the cause. Try to protect your tree as much as possible from excessive cold. Drastic changes in light can also cause leaves to fall off.
Pot-grown kumquats can suffer twig pass away and leaf loss when they bind to the roots. Try to avoid this problem by making sure that the pot is large enough to meet the needs of your tree.
Kumquats are susceptible to mealybug infestations, leaf miners, citrus scale and aphids. Keep the soil well drained and avoid excess moisture and piling too much mulch around the tree. A good insecticidal soap or a robust horticultural oil or neem oil will help fight the infestation.
Anthracnose is a common ailment of citrus fruits. This leaf spot ailment can be prevented by spraying the tree with horticultural oil three times a year. If it appears, most copper-based fungicides will dissolve it. You can also experience spots on the leaves of alternaria, and they should be treated in the same way as anthracnose.
Citrus blast is a bacterial infection that spreads in parts of the United States after wind-driven rain. The bacterium, Pseudomonas syringae, enters the plant through wind damage. It provokes wilting of the leaves and can lead to the complete pass away of the plant. Plant your citrus fruits with wind protection and use a copper-based fungicide to finish bacteria.