Guide to Growing Quinces
Discover how these easy-to-grow trees can add beautiful fruit and foliage to your garden.
These trees are an asset in any garden with their fragrant, pale pink spring blossoms, gnarled bark, and large, attractive, unusual autumn fruit. Slow ripening, the fruit is best eaten cooked in jams and pies.
How to Grow
These trees are easy to grow and need little care once established. They require a warm, sheltered site and prefer deep, fertile, free-draining, acidic soil (pH of 6.5). Bare root trees should be planted in the winter; container-grown trees can be planted at any time if kept well watered afterward. Dig in plenty of organic matter when planting, such as well-rotted garden compost, and mulch annually in the spring with more of the same material.
Varieties to Try
When choosing varieties, you’ll often find quinces listed under their botanical name, Cydonia oblonga. Varieties to try include: ‘Meech’s Prolific’, ‘Vranja’, ’Lusitanica’ and ’Champion’.
Picking and Storing
Quinces rarely ripen fully in cool climates and should be left as long as possible before picking. Even so, they are still likely to be too hard and sour to eat fresh from the tree. To promote ripening indoors, store unblemished fruit over the winter in a frost-free, ventilated place. Check regularly for damage or decay.
Quinces are often grown on their own root system but may be grafted to restrict their size, making them more suitable for a small garden. Two rootstocks are commonly used. Quince C Suitable for small gardens. Trees grow to 10 feet (3 m). Quince A Suitable for larger plots. Trees grow to over 12 feet (4 m).
Pruning and Training
Quinces are normally grown as freestanding trees and are pruned in the winter. They are too vigorous to train or to grow against walls. To prune established trees, cut back strong sideshoots to 12 inches (30 cm), and tip-prune the main branches. Maintain an open center.
Watch Out for These Pests and Diseases
Quince leaf blight is a fungal disease, most prevalent in wet summers. It causes small red-brown spots on the leaves, which turn yellow and drop, weakening the tree. Destroy fallen leaves. Prune to form an open canopy with good airflow.
Quinces are usually pest free, but splitting fruit is commonly caused when trees in fruit have been allowed to become dry. Avoid this by watering well during dry spells.