Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) belongs to the Rosaceae family. Their fruits look like a crossbreed of apples and pears. It has a deliciously distinctive taste and is widely used in jellies and preservatives. Upon maturing, the fruits appear bright golden-yellow. This species is native to Asia Minor and Southwest Europe. It is gaining attention throughout the world because the fruits are rich in phenolic composition, antioxidant capacity, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-allergic, hypoglycemic, and anti-ulcerative activities. In addition, the fruit can act as a tonic for the heart and brain.
This tree is known for attracting pollinators especially bees because of the nectar pollen-rich flowers. It has bright-green leaves with an oval to oblong shape while the flowers are white or pink. Often Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) is confused with the Japanese quince or Chinese quince which are ornamental plants. However, Japanese quinces also produce edible fruits.
Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) is native to woodland margins and rocky slopes in America, Western Asia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Georgia, and Romania. They can thrive in different climates and can be successfully grown at latitudes. It used to be a garden staple of middle-class homesteads of North America. The tree was neglected because of the popularity of apples and pears. However, the Quince tree regained its popularity due to the low maintenance and aromatic taste of the fruit.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) Bonsai?
Cydonia Oblonga is a self-fertile plant and often takes five to six years to produce the first fruits. However, the tree may take up to ten years for maximum production. They can tolerate a wide range of soils but grow well in deep-fertile and moisture-retentive soils. The trees dislike water logging especially in winter and always enjoy warm and sunny areas.
Positioning and Lighting
Position your Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) Bonsai tree in full sunlight with good aeration away from the dry winds. Ensure the tree is facing south or west and positioned in a warm place. Proper positioning of this plant in the light makes the trees pests- and disease-free offering the best blossom. You can also position the Quince tree in semi-shades or full-shades to sustain, but the tree may not produce fruits in semi-shades and full-shades.
Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) prefers hot summers and grows optimally at 15℃. However, they can tolerate the temperature to about -15℃. Fruits will ripen in cold weather but not in cool summers. They are sensitive to strong winds, cold, and should be placed in sheltered places with good sunlight.
The Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree prefers fertile, slightly acidic soil and may also tolerate alkalinity. The soil must be moist, well-drained, and without any water logs. This quince tree is suitable for sandy (light), loamy (medium), and clay (heavy) soil. Never keep the soil completely dry.
A Quince tree is not drought-tolerant, and they need to be watered as soon as the soil is dry. The tree might sustain for a couple of weeks without water. However, it required deep watering once a month. Always water depending upon the outside temperature. Overwatering may invite fungal disease and insufficient watering may cause fruit drops.
Feed your Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree every couple of weeks in their growing season. Feeding is essential as it helps to grow the Quince tree healthy and disease-free. You can use liquid potassium to feed the trees in late winters.
You can grow the Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree in multiple styles – upright forms and cascades with multiple trunks or single trunks. The styling is suitable for a medium to an extra-large tree.
How to Plant and Grow Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) Bonsai?
Plant new Cydonia Oblonga while they are dormant between November and March. You can follow different propagation methods to grow the bonsai as you desire. Quince trees are hardy and grow in zones five to nine in the US. They adapt to both wet and dry soils but have healthy growth in well-drained soil.
You can propagate the Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree using hardwood cuttings or by seeds. If you are looking for commercial growing, propagating the Quince tree sowing seeds should not be encouraged because the fruit quality is crucial. However, sow the seeds in cold frames when it is ripe. Autumn is the best time for sowing seeds. Early summers are ideal for greenwood cuttings. Otherwise, you can also use semi-ripe cuttings in mid-to-late- summer. Hardwood cuttings are preferable in winter.
Pruning and Wiring
Prune damaged and dead branches after the last frost. Remember that the fruits grow on old growths or branches, so cautiously prune the tips of the branches. Prune the overcrowded branches and branches that show little growth or no growth. Always remove suckers around the tree base. Eliminate unwanted shoots from the main stem. Stop pruning after mid-summer so as not to compromise the flowering of the coming year. As flowers and fruits are produced on the same shoots, the tree needs new wood every year.
The ideal time for wiring the Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree is in autumn. You can also wire young shoots in summer. Older twigs are stiffer and younger twigs are easy to shape. Wiring in the first couple of years helps the bonsai to grow in the desired shape offering a strong root base.
You need to fertilize the Quince tree during winters with slow-release low nitrogen fertilizer. Make sure that you fertilize the tree only once a year. Excessive fertilizer may invite disease in the tree. You can also use organic fertilizers, especially in the first year.
Repotting is crucial to transform your tree to have excellent blossoms. Re-pot the young Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) tree every two years and older trees for five years to prevent pot-bound. Repotting will encourage a good supply of nutrients. You need to re-pot the tree in early spring but not in winter or summer.
Pluck the fruits from this bonsai only when they are mature and not fully ripe. They continue to ripen when the fruits are off the tree. Following this process reduces fruit dropping from the tree. Use a sharp knife or cutting tool to pluck the fruits from the tree. Don’t simply pull the fruit because this may cause damage to the twigs.
The fruits are ready to harvest in October or November when they transform their color from light yellow to dark golden color. You must store the fruits at least for six weeks before consuming them to enjoy the complete aromatic taste. Place the undamaged fruits in cool and dark places by avoiding wrapping them individually.
Image source: Quince Fruit Plant – Free photo on Pixabay
How to Care for Your Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) Bonsai?
Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) trees are easy to maintain and you can shape the tree when it is young. They may have some drought tolerance, but require regular watering during dry spells. Lawn-fertilizers and other nitrogen plant foods encourage good foliage with the growth of flowers and fruits. Transplantation or re-potting must happen at the right time to keep your quince bonsai healthy. Remove tree suckers or waterspouts throughout the year.
Pests and Diseases
Usually, Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) grows healthy if it is given proper care while growing the bonsai tree. However, it is observed that diseases like brown rot, leaf blight or leaf fleck, and fire blight are common. Insects that attack apples or pears may also attack the quince tree or fruit.
Brown rot and leaf blight are fungal diseases while fire blight is a bacterial disease. Leaf blight occurs commonly in the wet season causing premature leaf fall or spotting the leaves. Prevent the disease by removing dead leaves and shoots.
Brown rot occurs commonly in wet summers damaging the fruit. Remove the dead or destroyed fruits to avoid further spread of the disease. To keep your tree disease-free, use fungicides to eliminate fungal diseases and for bacterial diseases use Bordeaux mixture.
In coastal areas, Fleck is a common disease that defoliates quince trees. The disease spreads over leaves and fruits. It appears small and slightly raised purple dots with a white central dot. You can use fungicides to control fleck or maintain the climate as needed.
Fruit fly and Codling moth are common pests seen in the Quince tree. You can use pest control techniques to eliminate them.
Other Interesting Facts
Quince trees can bear the fruit at the tip of tiny branches giving ample space for each fruit to blossom well. Poor summer climate may result in poor fruit quality in the coming year. You can use Cydonia Oblonga (Quince) fruit in many recipes. The center of the tree needs maximum sunlight for healthier branches and twigs.