Among the first shrubs to bloom in late winter to early spring, Flowering Quinces (Chaenomeles) are deciduous shrubs that are welcomed additions to the winter garden. They boast abundant clusters of charming, apple-blossom shaped flowers, up to 1.5 in. across (3-4 cm), in cheerful shades of delicate pink, rich vermilion, coral red and pure white. They create a brilliant floral display at a time when there is little to be excited about in the garden. Borne on thorny, tangled branches, the flowers bloom for many weeks and usually appear before the glossy, ovate, green leaves. They give way to small, fragrant, apple-like, greenish yellow fruits, 2 in. across (5 cm), which ripen in early fall. Edible, they are considered too bitter to be eaten directly from the shrub, but they may be used for preserves and jellies.
The Flowering Quinces grown in our gardens are cultivated forms of Chaenomeles speciosa, Chaenomeles japonica and hybrids of these two varieties, Chaenomeles x superba.
- Chaenomeles speciosa is native from China and grows into a tall, spreading shrub, 6-10 ft. high and wide (130-300 cm). Hardy to USDA Zones 4-8, it is an ideal plant for a wall shrub
- Chaenomeles japonica is native from Japan and grows into a shorter but spreading, thorny shrub, 2-3 ft. high (60-90 cm) and 3-6 ft. wide (90-180 cm). Hardy to USDA Zones 5-9, it is perfect for informal hedges
- Chaenomeles x superba cultivars grow in dense, broad, rounded shrubs, about 3-4 ft. high (90-120 cm) and 4-5 ft. wide (120-150 cm). Hardy to USDA Zones 5-9, it is quite versatile and great for mixed shrub borders or flowering hedges.
- Full sun to part shade lovers, Flowering Quinces are not fussy. They are easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. They adapt to a wide range of soil conditions, including dry soils and clay soils provided there is good drainage. Drought tolerant once established, their best flower production occurs in full sun.
- Easy to care for and nearly indestructible, Quinces are a perfect choice for mixed shrub borders or for flowering hedge. Their spreading form and spiny branches make this plant an excellent choice for screening, or as a security barrier. Great as specimen plant or for foundation plantings, they may also be trained against a wall.
- Deer and rabbit resistant
- Plants bloom on old growth. Prune to shape as required after flowering to encourage growth of flowering spurs. Note that such pruning will reduce the fruit production. Remove root suckers to control possible spread.
- Propagate by semi-hardwood cuttings
- Branches can be cut from your Japanese Quince in late winter and forced to bloom indoors