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How to Grow a Kumquat Tree

Rimlee Bhuyan Aug 20, 2019
The Kumquat tree is a fruit bearing tree that is native of China. Here is an explanation of what this tree is like, its classification, and how to grow one.
The kumquat tree originated in China, but it is now widely cultivated in Japan, Southeast Asia, and Florida and California in the United States. They flourish in a tropical climate, though they can withstand extreme cold without any damage. They are comparatively short trees, a full-grown tree can have a height of between 8 to 15 feet.
Earlier the kumquat was classified under citrus genus, but in 1915 it was transferred to fortunella. The trees are very slow to grow and take 5 to 7 years to bear fruits. They have sparse branches, with small glossy dark leaves and small yellow flowers similar to lime and lemon trees. The fruit is oval-shaped with pale yellow to reddish-orange peel.
The fruit has 3 to 5 segments, and it is sour and sweet in taste. The most unique characteristic of this fruit is the edible peel. There are different varieties of kumquats like Hong Kong wild, marumi, meiwa, and nagami. The most common type is the nagami variety, which can also be grown as indoor plants.

How to Grow a Kumquat Tree

You can grow this tree by grafting a cutting from another tree, or from the seeds of the fruit. Grafting involves planting a cutting from a tree, and is complicated. It needs the skills of a professional gardener. Growing the tree from the seeds is simpler.

Prepare the Seeds

First, purchase some kumquat fruits and cut them in half. Carefully remove the seeds, and wash them in running water. Take care that they are not damaged, or the seed will not germinate.

Prepare the Soil

Now prepare potting soil by misting it with some water so that it is soft and well-conditioned. If you are planning to have an indoor tree, take a terracotta pot or container and make a small hole at the bottom for drainage.
Place a piece of porous material, like a broken brick piece, to partially cover the pot and fill it with the potting soil. You can also prepare a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and sand.

Planting the Seeds

Now make a small hole in the soil and plant one seed at least an inch deep into the soil. Cover the area with soil and then cover the pot with plastic wrap. The plastic wrap will ensure that moisture isn't lost from the soil. After 2 to 4 weeks you will see the seed sprouting. At this stage, remove the plastic wrap and place the pot in a sunny place.
Once the tree starts growing, you may need to transfer it to a larger pot. Water the tree at least once a week, and use a good fertilizer. Pruning is not important, but  trim extra branches to maintain shape.
You can grow a kumquat tree indoors, but remember they are tropical trees and require a lot of sunlight. Fruits can be enjoyed whole, or used to make delicious marmalade, preserves, or candy. They can also be pickled to last long. Some common diseases that inflict this tree are algal leaf spot, greasy spot, and mealybug infestations.