Japanese Quince: Everything About The Chaenomeles Japonica

Japanese quince with red flowers

The flowers of the Japanese quince tree are so perfect that they look fake. They are all the more emphasized because they are born on the branches still without leaves. Few shrubs offer such a particularity. In mild regions, the earliness of the Japanese quince helps to wait for the arrival of spring.

In this article, I have gathered for you all the information about the Japanese quince, its main characteristics, and what you need to know to plant and grow it.

Characteristics of the Japanese quince

Scientific nameChaenomeles speciosa, C. x superba
Rusticity-15°C (-59°F)
SoilImperatively non-calcareous

The Japanese quince is a shrub of 2 to 3 m height and 1 to 2 m width, very bushy, with a rigid habit due to its numerous stiff and thorny branches. Its shape is rounded to more or less spread out, depending on the variety. Its unpleasant aspect is largely softened by its large and splendid flowers in the shape of open cup, intimately stuck to the stems.

Melliferous, single or double, they display various colors.

They are followed by round or oval fruits, 5 cm in diameter, yellow, fragrant and inedible.

How to grow a Japanese quince

Give this shrub rich and fresh garden soil as well as well-drained deep soil and especially free from calcareous matter. Choose a sheltered exposure because late frosts in early spring can destroy the flowers.

The bloom is more important in the sun, but a half-shade exposure makes it more durable.
Prune only to thin out the growth if necessary, removing branches in the heart of the crown first.
Reduce the remaining branches by a third in autumn-winter, after fruiting.

Tip: To enhance your Japanese quince tree, plant a few spring flowering bulbs at its foot: muscaris, daffodils and crocuses.

How to grow a Japanese quince in a pot

When placed in a pot, the Japanese quince slows down its growth, which allows it to be repotted only every 2 years.

Moreover, the regularity of the repotting allows to keep it there for many years.

To begin, install your young plant directly in a 30 to 40 cm diameter pot. Use a mixture of potting soil for roses and potting soil in equal parts.

Water weekly between April and October, and very rarely in winter. Let the tap water settle overnight before watering to eliminate chlorine and protect your quince from chlorosis, to which it is sensitive.

Where to plant a Japanese quince

You can use the Japanese quince tree in a bed, isolated, or in a small low hedge for the vigorous varieties, and even piled up against a fence or a trellis for the less vigorous varieties, as well as in pots on terraces and balconies.

Break up its rigid lines by combining it with decorative grasses.

Our selection

Japanese quince red flowers with a bee flying around

Most commercially available varieties are from Chaenomeles japonica, C. speciosa and their hybrids C. x superba.

The varieties with large development (height 1,50 m, width 1 m)

  • Falconnet Charlet‘: double salmon pink flowers, late.
  • Nivalis‘: pure white single flowers.
  • Ernst Finken‘: large red flowers; suckers a lot.

Spreading varieties (height 80 cm, diameter 1,20 m)

  • C. x superba ‘Crimson and Gold‘: single fiery red flowers with yellow centers.
  • C. x superba ‘Elly Mossel’: large single flowers of red to orange.
  • Nicoline‘: spreading flowers, large red flowers with yellow centers.
  • Cameo‘: double salmon flowers.

In a nutshell

the Japanese quince is an incredibly beautiful species of flowering fruit tree that can be found growing in several countries. It is an easy to care for, hardy, and productive tree making it a great addition to any garden or landscape. Its unique beauty adds aesthetic, making it a wonderful and versatile plant.

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