The quince tree (Cydonia oblonga) could have a home in almost any Perth garden. It makes an excellent specimen deciduous tree with gnarled branches, masses of gorgeous pinky white flowers, striking heart shaped green leaves with a grey downy underside, plus lovely autumn colour as it turns.
The fruit is green and then ripens in autumn into a golden orb that scents the whole garden. Fruit is very hard and less susceptible to fruit fly. Quince fruit is delicious and turns a ruby red colour once cooked. As well as poached or stewed, it can be made into jellies, jams and pastes.
The quince is originally from Asia and its cultivation is similar to that of an apple or a pear. They are a small to medium tree that gets to about 4 – 7 metres depending on the variety. It is long-lived and doesn’t like to be disturbed once it has settled in, so choose your location carefully. Quinces are self-fertile so a single tree will produce fruit without cross-pollination. The two most popular varieties are Smyrna and Champion which are both vigorous and productive. In Perth's climate, they will fruit in late autumn to winter.
The quince requires full sun in an area protected from strong winds. Branches can be susceptible to wind damage when they are heavy with fruit. It is tolerant of most soils that are free draining and improved with organic matter.
Planting and Care
Plant in full sun where it is protected from hot drying winds. See our tips on improving your soil before planting for full instructions. Apply a seaweed tonic such as Seasol when watering in. Quince trees can be planted as a bare root tree in winter or a bagged specimen at other times of the year. Keep well-watered and fed during the growing season.
They benefit from the addition of compost and aged manure, which will help maintain soil health and water retention. The application of a general purpose slow release fertiliser as the fruit is forming will help. Regular watering is required during the warmer months to encourage strong growth and crop production. You will get fruit, which is formed on short shoots of the current season’s wood, with just one tree but improved fruit set with two trees.
They are multi stemmed but usually are kept pruned to a single trunk. They benefit from pruning to maintain their shape. They can also be espaliered onto a wall to take up less space. Trees are pruned annually after the leaves drop. The aim is to maintain a vase shape that encourages new growth upwards and outwards.
Please note that this is intended as general information only. Please ask one of our qualified horticulturists for more specific advice for your situation.
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Why not try growing some Quince for yourself?