Home & garden

Ornamental quince - plant, cut & multiply


Colorful flowers in the front yard are a must for almost every hobby gardener. The quince with its bright flower dress is very popular here. See only a few requirements and is therefore very easy to care for.

The ornamental quince (lat. Chaenomeles) is an ornamental plant that belongs to the rose family and originally comes from East Asia. The look of the lovely plant is also reminiscent of distant Asia. The rich flowers make up the shrubs in addition to the edible fruits that are reminiscent of apples. These magical plants can expand up to two meters wide and up to five meters tall, giving an impressive picture in your own garden. There are three types of quince quince, as the ornamental quince is also called, that are particularly suitable for this area:

  • Chaenomeles japonica from Japan
  • Chaenomeles speciosa from China
  • Chaenomeles x superba (a cross between these two species)

The ornamental quince from China impresses with its stronger growth, but only blooms in April, while the Japanese quince already shines in full bloom in March. The quinces of the two shrubs are edible in any case. Quince fruit can also be transformed into jam or processed for homeopathic purposes. The juice from the fruit of the ornamental quince is considered very refreshing and lets a hint of citrus taste out. If you bring a decorative quince into your own garden, you will not only benefit from the wonderful colors and a lemon-like scent. Rather, the ornamental quince fruits are also a feast for the senses.

More information on the decorative quince

Even if the ornamental quince bears the name "quince", botanically speaking it is actually not a quince at all. The rose family not only comes from China and Japan, but also from Myanmar. The shoots of the quince are characterized by pointed spines, while the flowers shine in the following colors between March and April:

  • White
  • pink
  • brick-red
  • orange

In addition, the ornamental quince is a so-called self-fertilizer, the fruits of which are characterized by a thick, hard pulp. In addition to the Japanese and Chinese ornamental quince, there are three other pure species, as well as various hybrids (crosses of different ornamental quince species).

Edible fruits of the decorative quince

The decorative quince produces a kind of apple fruit that is either red or yellow in color. The fruits can be harvested in autumn when the rest of the ornamental shrub is already bare. Ornamental quince fruits are very hard when raw. In order for the fruits to become a bit softer, strong frosts are required. Then the ornamental quince fruits can also be processed more easily. The high content of vitamin C and the low sugar content make the fruit of the decorative quince so healthy.

If you squeeze the fruit of the quince, you get a delicious juice that tastes similar to the juice of lemons. The ornamental quince fruits can also be boiled down to jam or jelly. If the fruits are stored both cool and dry, they can be kept for a long time even when raw. The quince fruit should not be harvested in one fell swoop. Because if you leave some fruit on the shrub, you can look forward to a large variety of animal visitors in winter who like to snack on the fruit of the ornamental plant.

Important care measures

Location:

If you want to decorate a quince in your own garden or on the terrace, you should choose the appropriate location. In general, the ornamental quince is a very undemanding and therefore very easy to care for ornamental plant. Thanks to the strong roots of the plant, which reach deep into the ground, strong winds of the ornamental quince hardly matter. However, this only applies as soon as the quince has grown properly.

This requires a deep floor, which should also be well ventilated. Because only then will the quite fine roots of the ornamental quince have the chance to spread out into the depths and firmly anchor the plant there. A sunny to partially shaded location is ideal. Ideally, the ornamental quince is planted in your own garden in October or again in April. Most experts, however, opt for planting in the fall. After all, this gives the ornamental shrub enough time to form plenty of new roots during the winter months.

Important:
While the ornamental quince appreciates a certain regularity of irrigation, standing moisture can quickly mean her death. Soils that are prone to waterlogging are anything but ideal. In this case, a lower layer of compost or mulch should be placed in the planting hole so that the necessary water drainage can be better guaranteed. If the soil is rather poor in nutrients, it is important to fertilize it sufficiently in spring to provide the ornamental quince with all the necessary nutrients.

Plants:

If the necessary site conditions are met, ornamental quince can be characterized by a very expansive growth. This should be considered when planting the shrub, so that there can be no space problems later. If it is a solitary plant, there should be enough distance to other plants in the same bed. Otherwise the neighboring plants would probably be unnecessarily overshadowed by the ornamental quince, which could quickly be the case with smaller plants.

If you want to plant the ornamental quinces as a magnificent hedge, please keep a planting distance of around one meter. This ensures that the ornamental hedge is sufficiently thick and healthy at the same time.

❶ Whether as a hedge or as a shrub, the planting hole must of course first be excavated. Ideally, this hole should be five times the size of the ball of the quince. It is also important to loosen the bottom of the hole well. As already mentioned, a drainage layer, which can consist, for example, of pebbles or as expanded clay, may be required. This ensures that waterlogging has no chance at all.

»Expert tip: Before the ornamental quince is placed in the ground, any root remains that have either died or been damaged in any way should be removed. In addition, it is important to water the root ball sufficiently well before it is transplanted into the ground. A net that surrounds the root ball of the ornamental quince as possible must be removed before planting.

❷ After the decorative quince has been inserted into the hole in the ground, it is necessary to fill it. For this purpose, the excavation can be enriched with compost or stable manure if necessary in order to provide the ornamental quince with a sufficient amount of nutrients when growing in the garden. The earth should also be started lightly until there is a depression.

❸ Finally, the ornamental quince wants to be watered sufficiently. So that the water can be stored optimally, a top layer consisting of bark mulch is also useful.

To water:

While the ornamental quince is actually quite frugal, especially young plants that have just been planted should be watered regularly. Older ornamental quinces, on the other hand, require significantly less water and require them especially during longer dry periods. If the flowering quince sheds its flowers during the actual flowering period, this should be understood as a clear sign that the plant has not been supplied with sufficient water. This can even lead to the ornamental quince shedding its fruit in summer before it ripened in autumn.

Fertilize:

Usually it is sufficient if the ornamental quince is fertilized once in the spring. However, this is only a requirement for locations that are considered to be rather poor in nutrients. The following types of fertilizer are suitable for this purpose:

  • manure
  • compost
  • other organic fertilizers

Rear section:

Cutting measures are generally to be enjoyed with caution when decorating the quince. In this case, less is more. The first pruning of the shrubs, which are generally known for their slow growth, should not take place until the third year. In particular, the following components of the decorative quince can be shortened:

  • Tree branches that cross
  • Shoots that grow askew / inside
  • Shoot tips following flowering (pruning in May or June)
  • old / dried wood in autumn before going into hibernation (please cut very close to the branch)

As far as a taper cut is concerned, around thirty percent of the branches of the decorative quince are cut back. The inside of the shrub should not be overlooked either, so that the ornamental quince cannot overgrow. From the third year, the taper cut can be done once a year. After three years at the latest, this ensures a particularly rich floral and fruit display of the ornamental quince.

In the case of ornamental quinces that were planted as a hedge, overgrowth is even expressly desired. Finally, this contributes to the hedge's opacity. If you get your hedge into shape, you have to be prepared for the fact that fewer ornamental quince flowers are expected next year. If you want a dense, shapely and flowering ornamental hedge, you have to be patient.

Multiply:

If you want to increase the decorative quince, you can do this with the help of cuttings or by sowing. However, the propagation of cuttings is considered the more reliable of the two methods.

❍ Propagation with cuttings:
To do this, remove a cutting from the plant and place it in a glass filled with water. As soon as the ornamental quince cuttings have developed sufficient roots, they can be planted in the ground.

Occasionally there is a random increase in the ornamental quince in your own garden. This phenomenon is due to the fact that birds love the fruit of the ornamental quince. They eat the fruits and later excrete the seeds of the ornamental quince in the garden. However, if you don't want to leave anything to chance, you should keep the following factors in mind when propagating the quince with the help of cuttings:

  • Only cut cuttings in spring (this is the growing period of the ornamental quince)
  • Ideal length of the ornamental quince cuttings: 15 to about 20 centimeters
  • the bottom leaves of the quince cuttings must be removed

❍ propagation with seeds:
If you want to try growing seeds, you should know that they are cold germs. With this form of propagation, proceed as follows:

❶ First of all, the seeds of the ornamental quince must be freed from any pulp. They then have to dry for several days before being stored together with sand in a sufficiently large bag in the refrigerator for a total of three months.

❷ Only then can the seeds of the quince be sown. Germ-free seeding soil is a must. The seeds should also be covered with little soil.

❸ The pot in which the ornamental quince seeds were sown should be covered with a glass pane and placed in a bright but not too sunny location. The earth must not be too wet, even if the decorative quince prefers even moisture.

The seeds germinate for two or more months. Only when the new ornamental quince plants have reached a height of five centimeters can they be planted in the garden.

Wintering:

The ornamental quince also knows cold temperatures from her native Asia. Most ornamental quince species that are offered for the local areas can easily hibernate in the garden even in freezing temperatures. Nevertheless, all hobby gardeners should not neglect the necessary care of the ornamental quince in winter. Although the plant does not require winter protection measures such as covering with nonwovens, adequate irrigation is a must, even in winter.

Diseases & pests:

Fortunately, the ornamental quince is not very susceptible to diseases. However, too much waterlogging and a lack of iron can permanently damage the ornamental plant. A lack of iron in the plant is usually due to a soil with an excessively high pH. Therefore, the pH of the soil should be reduced accordingly. Herbicides are also poison for flowering quinces. Treatment of the ornamental quince with a herbicide should therefore be avoided, which is also not necessary, since the ornamental quince is hardly susceptible to pests and diseases.

Only the so-called fire blight can become a problem with ornamental quinces, as with many quinces, pears and apples. If the plant is infected with it, this can be recognized by the black shoot tips, which actually look as if they have been burned. If the ornamental quince is indeed affected by the fire blight, the entire plant must be dug up. The next step is to destroy the plant. In addition, the fire blight must be reported to the authorities. This is due to the fact that this bacterial infection, particularly in fruit growing regions, can lead to considerable damage and financial losses for local farmers.