Flowering Quince are prized not only for their massive display of colorful early-spring flowers, but also because they are so easy to grow and long-lived.

Flowering Quince is an ideal choice as a specimen or in groupings for eye-popping color in flowering shrub borders. Excellent companions are other early spring bloomers such as ForysthiaTulip Tree Magnolias (tulip trees), Camellia Japonicas, and Reeves Spirea


Here's a breakdown of what you need to know regarding planting and caring for Quince...


Cultural Preferences


Soil Preferences

Quince adapt to most any type of well-drained soil, preferring a loamy soil. Constantly soggy or wet soil is problematic. Plants are very drought tolerant when established. 


How To Test Soil Drainage  

If you are uncertain about soil drainage in the area you intend to plant, it's well worth taking the time to test it before planting. 

To test soil drainage, dig a hole 12" wide by 12" deep in the planting area. Fill the hole with water and let it drain. Then, after it drains, fill it with water again, but this time clock how long it takes to drain. In well-drained soil the water level will go down at a rate of about 1 inch an hour. A faster rate, such as in loose, sandy soil, may signal potentially dry site conditions. A slower rate indicates poor draining soil and is a caution you need to improve drainage, plant in a raised mound or bed, or look for plants that are more tolerant of wet or boggy conditions.


Soil pH

Quince grow best in an acid to slightly alkaline soil ranging between 5.0 to 7.0 on the pH scale. Most average garden soils fall between a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. 


How To Test Soil pH  

Soil pH is a measurement of the alkalinity or acidity of soil and is measured on a scale of 1-14, with 7 as the neutral mark. Any measurement below 7 indicates acid soil conditions, and anything above 7 indicates alkaline. 

If you're unsure about the pH of your soil, and whether or not it's suitable for growing Quince, it's a good idea to test the soil pH in the planting area. You can quickly test soil pH with an inexpensive soil pH tester probe. To raise the pH (make more alkaline) you can add pelletized limestone to the soil. To lower the pH (make more acid) you can apply Soil SulfurAluminum Sulfate, or Chelated Iron. Adding organic compost to the soil or using compost as mulch can also help to increase acidity and maintain acid soil conditions.




Light Preferences

Quince flower the best in full to mostly sun, however plants will tolerate part shade. I suggest at least 5 hours of direct sunlight for best flowering.



How To Plant A Quince

Scroll down for container planting instructions and care tips


Step 1

Start by digging your planting hole at least two to three times as wide and as deep as the height of the rootball of your Quince plant. The wider the hole the better. Place native soil removed from planting hole around the perimeter of the hole, in a wheel barrow, or on a tarp.


Step 2

Depending on the type, fertility and porosity of the soil in the planting area you might need to mix in a soil amendment to the native soil removed from the planting hole. When planting Quince in compact clay or poor quality soils it is beneficial to thoroughly mix in some good organic matter such as sand, bagged top soil, and/or a good planting mix at a 25-50% ratio with the soil removed from the planting hole. When planting in very sandy or quick-draining soil mixing in some top soil, peat moss and/or compost will help to retain moisture in the soil. When planting in average, well-drained moist soil there is no need for adding a soil amendment.


Step 3

To remove your Quince from the container it was growing in, squeeze the sides of the pot. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and try to very gently lift and remove the root ball from the container. If the root ball is stuck in the pot use snips to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball.


Step 4

If you are planting in well-drained soil set your Quince in the planting hole so that the top edge of the root ball is at or just slightly above ground level to allow for settling.


Note:  If the soil is poorly drained (constantly soggy or wet) improve soil drainage or select a different plant species tolerant of wet soils. 




Step 5

After setting your Quince in the planting hole, use one hand to hold the plant straight and your other hand to begin back-filling your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go to remove air pockets. When you have filled the hole to the halfway point you can soak the soil. Then continue back-filling to the top edge of the root ball. To avoid suffocating your plant, avoid placing any soil on top of the root ball.


Step 6 (Optional)

When planting your Quince in a site far away from a water source, and in well drained soil, you can use remaining soil mixture to build a water retaining berm (catch basin / doughnut) that is 3 inches high or so around the outside perimeter of the planting hole, as shown in the illustration above. This basin will help to collect water from rainfall and irrigation which can help reduce the need for hand-watering. The berm can be removed after a growing season.


Step 7

Next, deeply water the planting area, including the root ball, to a depth equal to the height of the root ball. For an extra boost, you can water your newly planted Quince with a solution of Root Stimulator, which stimulates early root formation and stronger root development, reduces plant shock, and promotes greener, more vigorous plants.


Step 8

To conserve moisture and suppress weed growth, apply a 1 to 2" layer of cured, shredded or chipped wood mulch or pine straw around the planting area. Avoid using freshly chipped wood for mulch until it has cured in a pile for at least 6 months, a year is better. Avoid placing or piling mulch directly against the base of your plant as this could cause the bark to rot.




Planting Quince In A Container


Quince growing in pots appreciate a moist, but well-drained soil. Constantly soggy soil can and often will cause root rot or other harmful or deadly plant diseases. Therefore, we recommend a well-drained container with drainage holes, and a quality potting soil or potting mix, or a 50/50 combination thereof, for planting. Optionally, you can also add some pumice or perlite (maybe 20%) to the soil mixture to help with drainage.

Choose a container that is large enough to allow for 2 to 3 years of growth before shifting up to a larger size container. This might mean your planting pot would be 8 inches or more in diameter (width) than the root ball of your plant. 

Container color will matter as well. Not only will you want to pick a color of container that goes well with the foliage colors of your Quince, you'll also want to pick a container that matches the style of your home or other structures and other plants in the surrounding environment. 

Many nursery & garden centers offer a wide variety of containers to choose from. Before heading out to buy a container take pictures of your home and the surrounding environment. Doing so will help you to choose just the right color and style.


Container Planting Instructions


Step 1

Before filling your container with the soil mix, I recommend lining the bottom with shade cloth or a porous landscape fabric. This will keep the drain holes from becoming clogged with roots and soil. If you place gravel or other materials in the bottom of the pot lay the fabric over it. 


Step 2

To remove your Quince from the container it was growing in, squeeze the sides of the pot. Then grasp the base of the plant with your finger tips and try to very gently lift and remove the root ball from the container. If the root ball is stuck in the pot use snips to cut the container away. After having removed the plant from the container, gently loosen some feeder roots around the surface of the root ball.


Step 3

Pour a small amount of your soil mixture in the bottom of the container. Set your plant in the container and make necessary adjustments by adding or removing some soil so that the top edge of the root ball will sit approximately 1" below the rim of the container.




Step 4

Backfill with your soil mixture around the root ball, tamping as you go, until the level of potting soil is even with the top edge of root ball.


Step 5

Water thoroughly until water starts to drain from the holes in the bottom of the container. Add more soil mixture if settling occurs during watering.


Step 6 (Optional)

Apply a 1/2" layer of wood chips or sphagnum moss to soil surface to help conserve moisture. Stone mulch can also be used.




Quince Care Tips


Quince shrubs are very easy to care for and maintain. Below are some helpful care tips that will have you growing them like the pros.



How To Fertilize Quince

Quince are light feeders however benefit from fertilization. I feed mine in late winter or early spring with a slow-release shrub & tree type fertilizer Alternatively, you can feed with a natural, organic plant food. Before applying fertilizer, always carefully read and follow instructions on the product label.

In Containers:  Feed Quince growing in containers in early spring and again in late spring with a water-soluble plant food listed for use in containers. Follow usage instructions on product label. 




How To Water Quince


At Planting Time

Immediately after planting deep soak the soil in the planting area to a depth equal to the height of the plants root ball. For an extra boost, to stimulate early root formation and stronger root development, you can also water you newly planted Quince with a solution of Root Stimulator, which reduces transplant shock and promotes greener, more vigorous plants. When planted during the winter dormant season plants will require less water. 


During The First Growing Season

In average garden soil you should not have to water your newly planted Quince every day. More often than not, this causes soggy soil conditions that can lead to root rot and other harmful plant diseases. In the absence of sufficient rainfall, water only as needed to keep the root ball and surrounding soil damp to moist. 

Keep in mind that deep soaking less frequently, and allowing the soil to dry out somewhat before watering again, is much better than splashing just a little water on the plants every day. During the winter dormant season, when plants are not actively growing and evaporation is much slower, plants will require much less water. So, be extra careful not to overwater during winter!


Thereafter

When established Quince are very drought tolerant plants. Only during prolonged periods of summer drought will plants require supplemental irrigation. If you see leaves wilting or falling from the plant during a drought this is a sign your plants could use a deep soaking.


Note:  When watering with an automated irrigation system it's best to set your timer to water during the early morning hours and not in the late evening or at night, which can lead to the onset of fungus and other foliar diseases. During the first few weeks after planting, check soil moisture often and adjust irrigation time if necessary to keep the soil moist, not wet. 



Pruning Quince

When provided ample space to grow, quince will not require pruning. That said, they respond well to it for shaping purposes, to reduce the size of a plant that has outgrown the space it was intended to fill, to rejuvenate an old and tired plant, to remove a stray branch that is spoiling the shape of the plant, or to remove a damaged or dead plant parts, which can and should be done any time of year.

Note:  The flowers of quince are born on old growth (last years branches) so it's best to avoid heavy pruning unless you need to reduce the size of the plant. 

Use a sharp pair of bypass hand pruners or loppers to prune Quince for shaping or reduce the size of the pant. This pruning will stimulate new growth of flowering spurs which will increase bloom for the following year.

To rejuvenate an old plant branches can be cut down to 6 inches or so above the ground. Keep in mind though that diseased, dying, or otherwise very weak plants can be killed by rejuvenation pruning. However, if this is the case, what do you have to lose? Even sickly plants sometimes are rejuvenated by this drastic type of pruning. 

 



Plant Long & Prosper!™

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