The kumquat is a type of tree that produces fragrant flowers in the late spring, followed by small citrus fruit in the fall. The fruit looks similar to oranges, but is about the size of a plum and its flavour is a combination of sweetness and tartness. Kumquats thrive in central Florida. However, they can also be grown in locations where there is plenty of sunshine. Overall, the kumquat is easy to maintain as long as you follow simple plant care guidelines.
Kumquat trees can be planted from the seed, but normally are purchased partially grown. According to the website Floridata.com, kumquat trees are usually grafted onto special root stocks to gain important traits like disease resistance, increased cold hardiness or faster maturation. The plant will grow best in an area that receives full sun. However, you can also plant it under a large oak or pine tree, which will help the plant get additional freeze protection during the winter and fall, according to Floridata.com. When planting, spread mulch around the area to reduce weed competition. At most, the tree will grow between 8 and 10 feet tall. Expect active growth during the early spring in warm climates. The plant will then remain dormant during the late fall and winter.
Watering and Fertilizing
After you first plant your kumquat tree, it will need a considerable amount of water to establish itself in the ground. Then, water only occasionally, mostly during dry periods, while the tree is in bloom, or if the fruit is developing. Use a hose or irrigation system to water, and make sure the soil is evenly moist around the tree.
Withhold fertilisation for the first month after planting. According to B.J. Jarvis, the county extension director for Pasco County, Florida, Master Gardener, and horticulture agent Rhonda Rhodes, plants usually have a slow-release fertiliser in the pot upon purchase. Therefore, adding more fertiliser could damage the plant. After the first month, fertilise the plant three times a year, in the early spring, early summer and late summer.
Prune after you have picked the fruit, but before the new flowers start to grow. Remove any dead or broken branches. If you notice suckers at the bottom of your tree, prune these as well. According to Jarvis and Rhodes, suckers can take away the energy from the fruit-bearing portion of the tree if not pruned. Also trim branch ends to help maintain the tree's shape.