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
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.
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.
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.