Botanically known as Chaenomeles, a flowering quince is a small tree or a deciduous shrub that produces edible apple-like fruit surrounded by a mass of thorny bushes. Depending on the cultivar grown, the bare branches of this ornamental tree have a beautiful show of 1 ½ to 2-inch big orange, pink, red or white blossoms each spring. This drought resistant plant thrives in areas that receive little rainfall, attracting birds that chew on its succulent fruit, which is often used to make delicious jam, jelly or pie. Follow these steps to successfully grow a flowering quince in your backyard.
Step 1 – Select Location and Prepare Site
Quinces thrive in an area with well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. Select a spot in your backyard that fits this requirement. These small trees can grow 10 to 12 feet high, so make sure there are no surrounding trees to block its sunshine.
Loosen the soil with a hand trowel to aerate it. You do not have to amend the soil or add fertilizers to it since this hardy plant can grow in any soil condition.
Step 2 – Plant the Quince
A flowering quince shrub is available in nurseries in lightweight plastic containers. Lift the quince from the container and roughly measure its root ball. Dig a hole in the ground with a shovel that is twice the size of the root ball, but equal in depth. Plant the quince into the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is in line with the ground.
Keep the shrub well watered if you have to delay planting for a while.
Step 3 – Add Water and Mulch
Backfill the hole just a bit to stabilize the root ball, and water it well. Add enough water into the hole to ensure the root ball and its surrounding soil fully absorbs it. Cover it with the loose soil and water it again.
Add a layer of mulch around the plant to help the soil to retain moisture and prevent competing weeds from growing there.
Step 4 – Caring For a Flowering Quince
- Make sure to water your quince once every few days, especially when the soil around it becomes dry. However, over watering a flowering quince is as harmful as under watering.
- A flowering quince is quite thorny and can be trained to grow against a wall or fence. To do this, prune any branches opposite the wall to encourage the plant to grow in line with it.
- Although they can be pruned anytime of the year, it is ideal to do it in late fall or early winter, before the appearance of blossoms or flowers to encourage a bushy growth. Do this by carefully cutting older branches with straight deep cuts. Prune new growth again in spring.
- Fire blight is a disease that can destroy the entire tree, causing the effected area to appear blackened or cracked. If you notice this serious disease on your tree, immediately cut the affected branches and dispose them properly, to prevent it from spreading. Also sterilize the tools or cutting equipment that came in contact with the tree.