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By: Mary Ellen Ellis
The quince is an unfortunately too often overlooked fruit and fruit tree for the garden. This apple-like tree produces beautiful spring blooms and tasty fruits. If you want something unique for your garden, consider one of the many varieties of quince.
The quince is a fruit that has been forgotten by many, but it is also one that deserves a comeback. A quince is a fruit tree that grows to about 8 to 15 feet (2-5 m.) in height at maturity. It grows twisted and gnarled branches that add great visual interest to the garden at all times of year. In spring, it blooms and in late summer it produces the quince fruit: a hard, acidic, apple-like fruit that is wonderful when cooked or baked.
There are several different quince tree types, varieties and cultivars that you can choose from to add this interesting tree and tasty fruit to your garden and kitchen. When very ripe, these fruits can be eaten raw, but most are too hard and should be cooked first. They can also be used to make jellies because quince is packed with pectin.
Here are some kinds of quince to try in your garden:
Orange. Most varieties of quince are cultivars of the species Cydonia oblonga. One of these is ‘Orange,’ and it produces a round, very fragrant fruit with an orange-tinted flesh. This is one of the softer quince fruits, so if you want to try eating quince raw, this is the way to go.
Cooke’s Jumbo. This cultivar produces pretty white-pink flowers in the spring, and a fruit that is large and pear shaped. ‘Cooke’s Jumbo’ is best used for baking, poaching, and making preserves and jellies.
Champion. The ‘Champion’ cultivar is well known among quince enthusiasts for a delicate and lemon-like flavor. The fruit is pear-shaped and has a fuzzy golden skin. It produces fruit later in the fall.
Pineapple. A popular cultivar, ‘Pineapple’ is named for its flavor. The aroma and taste is very similar to pineapple. This tasty quince is used for baking and cooking and is one of the most commonly grown cultivars.
Rich’s Dwarf. For a smaller tree that produces a large fruit, go for ‘Rich’s Dwarf.’ This cultivar produces a large fruit, but on a dwarf tree that will only grow to 8 or 10 feet (2-3 m.).
Flowering Quince. Another species of tree that is called quince is flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa. The most characteristic aspect of this tree is its bright, flame-colored flowers. The fruit is not as notable as those of C. oblonga, which is why most gardeners choose it for the ornamental blooms.
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Read more about Quince Trees
A fruit of Central Asiatic origin, quince is often overshadowed by its sweeter pome-fruit cousins, apples and pears. Easily bruised, frequently hard and seldom fully sweet, quince requires patient cultivating and cooking to reach its delicious potential. This "golden apple" of Greek mythology, and perhaps the apple of Adam and Eve, grows well in a Mediterranean climate. Both the fruit of the quince tree and that of ornamental quince shrubs bring a fragrant new taste to your home garden.
|Mix No.||Time To Apply||Remarks|
|5||Continue sprays at 7 to 10 day intervals until July 1.||For powdery mildew, see remark above.|
|6||Continue sprays at 10 to 14-day intervals until 2 weeks before harvest.||For powdery mildew, see remark above.|
Growing quince trees isn't that difficult as long as you can provide appropriate conditions. Choose a sunny location with fertile soil. Quinces adapt to wet or dry soils but perform best when the soil is well-drained. You will also need to plant two trees for good pollination.
Similarly, how do you ripen quince trees? Once you have harvested the quince, ripen them in a cool, dry, dark area in a single layer, turning the fruit each day. If you have picked the fruit when it is greener than golden yellow, you can slowly ripen it in the same manner for 6 weeks before using. Check it for ripeness on occasion.
Furthermore, when Should I spray my pear tree?
Pears: Use copper before the fall rains dormant oil three times beginning in fall (Oct./Nov.), again during winter (Dec./Feb.), and finally in March just before buds open spray lime-sulfur in early spring before buds open and again with wettable sulfur or other appropriate fungicide just after petal fall.
Do quince trees fruit every year?
Both quince trees fruited prolifically last autumn. They both flowered well this spring. But there is no sign of any fruit on either tree at the moment.
Mulch the base of the shrubs to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. While these are reasonably drought-tolerant shrubs once established, young plants will need to be watered at times. Water in the morning so excess moisture has time to dry before evening. Sprayed water can cause leaf spots, and leaves may drop if the foliage stays wet.
Maintaining an even temperature and humidity are crucial for propagating flowering quince via stem cuttings. Temperature also plays a big part in growing this plant from seeds. Once flowering quince is established, though, the plant is quite forgiving of a wide range of temperature and humidity levels. This shrub is quite cold hardy, tolerating temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees F.
Q: I have become interested in growing fruiting quince and have several plants (‘Le Page’, ‘Aromatnaya’, ‘Cookes Jumbo’, ‘Van Deamon’). Do they fruit on current year’s growth or last years? I need to prune them a bit. They are delicious if properly prepared.
A: I commonly see two different kinds of quince. “Flowering” quince, Chaenomeles speciosa, flowers in late February with red, white or pink blooms. Fruit is small and inconsequential. The blossoms come from buds originating on last year’s growth. These shrubs can be pruned after flowering is finished.
“Fruiting” quince, Cydonia oblonga, is a small tree that blooms on new wood. For best results, prune in winter to stimulate new growth in early spring which will then produce large quince fruit from which you can make your quince preserves.