The quince of Japan, Chaenomeles japonica, also known as apple tree of Japan or Cydonia, is a shrub species cultivated for ornamental purposes due to its spectacular spring flowering.
Characteristics of the quince or apple tree of Japan
The Quince of Japan originally from the Japanese country, it is a shrub that reaches average heights of about 150 cm.
The branches, with smooth green-brown bark, are thorny; the expanded foliage is even more than 2 meters wide.
The leaves, ovate and with serrated edges, they appear when the quince is in full bloom. The young leaves are brownish in color, after development they take on a beautiful bright green color and in autumn before falling they turn to reddish-yellow.
Read also: Quince or Cydonia oblonga
THE flowers they are hermaphroditic and gathered mostly in racemes have a showy corolla with red or orange petals, sometimes white as in some varieties. The flowers open on bare branches or in conjunction with the emission of the leaves.
THE fruits they are small apples with a hard consistency and a bitter taste that ripen in autumn.
The yellow or reddish apples, although edible, are not suitable for fresh consumption but when cooked they are excellent for the preparation of quince, jams and liqueurs.
The beautiful and showy flowers of the Cydonia they begin to bloom on the branches of the previous year depending on the exposure in the period late March – mid April.
You may be interested in: Spirea of Japan – Spiraea japonica
Cultivation of the Quince of Japan
The quince of Japan adapts to sunny and semi-shady positions, but for a more abundant flowering it is advisable to plant them in sunny areas sheltered from the winds. It does not fear the cold and easily tolerates temperatures below -15 ° C, which makes them suitable for any environment on the peninsula, including high altitudes in the mountains. They also tolerate periods of summer drought well, requiring, in the most extreme cases, some emergency irrigation.
It is a rustic plant that adapts well to almost all types of soil, even the common garden one as long as it is well drained and not too alkaline.
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It is a plant that is satisfied with rainwater and should be watered during the flowering period only if the spring is particularly dry. Irrigation must be suspended completely in the autumn-winter period as the peach blossom loses its leaves and enters vegetative rest.
In spring and autumn, bury a mix of leaves and peat or mature manure at the base of the plant.
Japanese quince: cultivation in pots
For the cultivation in pot, a variety with a contained development and a fairly large pot, 30 cm wide and 40 deep, is recommended. A drainage layer (expanded clay or fine gravel) covered with a mixture of universal soil and garden land. Watering should be done more frequently but without exceeding and suspended as soon as the plant loses its foliage and then resumes in the following spring or as soon as the temperatures become milder. In spring the vegetative restart of the peach blossom supported with a good dose of organic fertilizer.
The quince of Japan should be repotted every two years. As an alternative to repotting, you can opt for replacing the surface soil and in this case just remove 3-5 cm of old soil and add an equal amount of new and rich in organic substance.
Multiplication of the Quince of Japan
The quince of Japan reproduces through numerous vegetative techniques: cutting, offshoot, seed and separation of the basal suckers.
We refer to the dedicated guide: How to multiply the Japanese quince.
The new seedlings obtained with the different multiplication techniques must be grown in containers for at least 2 years and transplanted into the ground in the third year of vegetative life, a period that coincides with that of the first flowering.
Japanese quince plant
This splendid ornamental flowering plant can be planted at any time of the year even if the months in which the ground is frozen and those in which the temperatures are too high are recommended.
The transplant must therefore be done in spring or autumn by placing the plant in a deep hole and at least twice as wide as the bread of earth.
A thick layer of draining material is placed on the bottom of the hole, some manure is inserted and the plant is filled, all the gaps are filled with the excavated soil set aside; finally water abundantly but avoiding water stagnation.
It is a plant that combines for the concomitance of flowering and for the contrast of the colors of the flowers with equally rustic species such as: Berberis, Pyracantha, Forsitia or Spirea.
Japan quince pruning
The pruning of the quince or Japanese apple tree is done after flowering. The old branches are pruned up to the height of 3 buds to favor the emission of new ones. The central branches are shortened to favor the sunshine also of the internal branches.
Diseases and Parasites of the Quince – Cidonia
Among the diseases, the quince fears chlorosis, a disease that manifests itself with more or less marked discoloration of the leaves generally caused by excessively alkaline soils. Among the animal parasites it suffers from the attack of aphids.
Among the fungal or cryptogams diseases is subject:
- to scab and monilia which cause the drying of flowers and leaves and also to the formation of branch cancers;
- to powdery mildew or sickly white which with its whitish powdery deposits considerably reduces photosynthesis. It occurs when the climate is hot and humid.
In addition, the Apple tree of Japan like the other Rosaceae is subject to the blight of fire which must be paid particular attention in case of branch desiccation.
Cures and treatments against parasites
Fighting chlorosis with the use of the sequestering agent and aphids with a pyrethrum-based insecticide.
Powdery mildew can be prevented by using wettable sulfur. The plant affected by blight must be eliminated and burned as soon as the first signs of infection appear.
Variety of Chaenomeles – Cidonia
The genus in addition to the variety Chaenomeles japonica includes rustic species and many hybrids obtained by G. Frahm in 1900, appreciated for the beauty of the blooms.
A species endemic to Southeast Asia. At the end of winter, numerous bright red flowers with yellow anthers bloom on the bare branches, gathered in dense bunches followed by yellow-gold, rounded, inedible fruits. It has a very slow growth and grows well on any type of soil. He is intolerant of pruning.
A deciduous and thorny species, native to China. It has ovate-lanceolate leaves that are often toothed. It produces pink or white bell-shaped flowers and fragrant yellow-red apples 6 or 7 centimeters wide.
It is a very thorny deciduous shrub that can also be grown as a sapling. In full vegetative vigor it reaches a height ranging from 150 to 300 cm. This variety, discovered only in the mid-1900s, is cultivated in the places of origin, for food purposes for the consumption of fruits, as an ornamental and as a medicinal plant.
The Quince of Japan is perfect as an isolated element in the garden; in rows it is ideal for creating rustic and defensive hedges, mixed with other shrubs with thorns.
The fruits can be cooked, for the preparation of jams and jellies or raw for the perfume of the linen of the rooms and even large rooms.
Language of flowers
In the language of flowers, the Apple tree of Japan symbolizes temptation perhaps because of the fruits that resemble the apple.
Is the Japanese apple tree poisonous?
The seeds of the fruits contain cyanogenic glycosides, vegetable substances that, when ingested, break down in the digestive tract, generating hydrogen cyanide or extremely poisonous compound cyanide that can cause shortness of breath, weakness, excitement, dilation of the pupil, spasms, convulsions, coma and respiratory insufficiency to death.
the presence of colorful flowers that can range from red, to orange, to white to pink, combined with a glossy green foliage able to further highlight these colors. The leaves are oval with serrated edges and can grow to a maximum of about 7cm.
The most widespread species of Chaenomeles, all native to central and south-eastern Asia, were introduced in Europe towards the end of the 1800s. The Chaenomeles japonica, was found in the late 1700s by Thumberg in Japan and the Chaenomeles speciosa, later, by Sir Joseph Banks.