Crop Rotation Group
Moist, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.
Most quince are moderately cold hardy, tolerating winter temperatures to -20°F (-29°C). Quince requires more than 300 winter chill hours to trigger flowering and fruit set, so they do not fruit well in warm climates.
Feed in spring by spreading a balanced organic fertilizer over the root zone of the plant.
Single Plants: 14' 9" (4.50m) each way (minimum)
Rows: 14' 9" (4.50m) with 14' 9" (4.50m) row gap (minimum)
Sow and Plant
Set out purchased plants in spring at about the time of your last frost. Container-grown plants can be transplanted until early summer, but may shed some leaves if set out under stressful conditions. Most quince are grafted, so set the plant slightly high in the planting hole so the graft union will not be covered with soil or mulch. Water young plants regularly, and cover the root zone with an organic mulch to keep the soil moist at all times. Quinces need regular water during their first season after planting, and become more drought tolerant after they are well rooted. These small trees can be planted alone or as part of a hedge, or they can be trained as espalier. Allow 15 feet (4.5 m) between plants when growing quince as specimen trees. The low, spreading trees grow up to 15 feet (4.5 m) tall and up to 12 feet (3.6 m) wide. Young quince plants can be held in pots for year but should be planted in the ground as soon as possible.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalized calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.
Native to western Asia, fruiting quince are multipurpose trees. They produce abundant pink to white flowers in late spring, after the leaves have emerged, which attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Fruits grow all summer and into autumn, and may not quite reach maturity in cooler climates. Better fruiting quince cultivars are grafted onto selected quince rootstocks. Quince rootstocks also are used for cultivated pears. The fruity ‘Pineapple’ quince variety turns bright yellow when ripe. Lemon-scented ‘Champion’ continues to ripen in cool fall weather. ‘Serbian Gold’ is resistant to fire blight.Prune quince in late fall or early winter to train trees into an open vase shape, or to control the size of quince hedges. Pruning out low suckers and awkward branches improves the shape and health of quince trees.
Quince grows best in climates with long, warm growing seasons because the fruit does not set until early summer, and then takes forever to ripen. Quince fruits are ripe when they turn from green to yellow and the fruits snap easily from the branch when pulled. In many climates the fruit is still green when harvested before the first freeze, in which case the fruits should be clipped with short piece of branch attached. Handle quince fruits gently because they bruise very easily. Spread them in a single layer in a cool room to ripen for two to four weeks before cooking them into jams and jellies, which modifies their natural astringency. Quince become quite aromatic as they ripen, and a small bowl of quinces will fill a room with their fruity floral scent.
Quince may suffer from several diseases of apple and pear, including fire blight, powdery mildew, rust, and various leaf and fruit spots. Proper pruning that opens the plants’ centers to sun and fresh air reduces disease risk. Thin fruits in years of heavy fruit set, otherwise the plants are likely to produce very few fruits the following year.
Planting and Harvesting Calendar
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