quince image by PeTe from Fotolia.com
Quince (Cydonia oblonga) is a fruit-producing tree indigenous to the Near East and Central Asia. It is hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9 and requires minimal pruning. Quince trees' fruit resembles pears and apples, and is ideal for use in jams and jellies. Quince can be grown as fruit-producing trees or ornamental shrubs. Plant in full sun, with good drainage and heavy, moist soil. The tree requires some winter chilling to produce its best fruit.
Either buy flowering quince seeds locally or online, or extract them from mature fruit. Then mix them in sand and leave in a cool location, or place in a plastic bag and keep them moist and refrigerated, until planting in late winter/early spring.
Fill small pots (4-inch pots will work well) with potting mix (growing medium), dampened and packed down. Poke two or three holes 1 inch deep in each pot. Remove seeds from storage and plant one seed per pot, covering with a mix of sand and soil. Set in an irrigation tray that is about 3 inches deep.
Place the irrigation tray in a well-lit, warm place. Provide up to eight hours of light daily, keeping the temperature between 12.7 and 21.1 degrees C. Water your quince seeds by pouring an inch of water in the tray frequently to keep the pots moist. Cover the tray with a tent of clear plastic sheeting to maintain humidity.
When seedlings emerge, keep them moist and in full light up to 10 hours a day. When they reach about 4 inches in height, transplant them to larger pots. Gradually harden off your seedlings by placing pots outside for part of a day once there is no risk of frost. Allow one week to be sure the plants are acclimated before planting outside.
Plant the pots in a row in a garden area for the summer, allowing up to 1 1/2 feet between plants. Once dormancy sets in with fall's arrival, you can transplant your quince to permanent spots. Be sure you plant them in moist, slightly acidic soil, with good drainage. Your quince trees will need protection from wind and harsh cold, as they have shallow root systems.
- Another approach to preparing the seeds is to clean them and soak in water for 24 hours. Then place them on a damp paper towel, seal them in a bag and chill at 1.66 to 4.44 degrees C for 30 to 60 days.
- Quince is adaptable and grows well in a variety of conditions, from cooler parts in subtropical regions to those that are more temperate and cool.
- When planting quince from seeds, you can expect fruit by the fifth year of the shrub or plant's life.
- Growing quince seeds can take time and patience. Germination can take between 30 and 60 days.
- quince image by __PeTe__ from Fotolia.com