Plants

Loquat

Eriobotrya japonica

Kathrin Auer Kathrin Auer

Loquat not only has decorative leaves but also develops delicious fruit. Follow these care tips and the container plant will flourish.

Growth type
  • small tree
  • large shrub
Growth height (from)
from 200.00cm to 300.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • upright
  • bushy
Flower color
  • white
Flowering time (month)
  • September to November
Flower shape
  • Cluster
Flower characteristics
  • lightly fragrant
Leaf color
  • green
page format
  • elliptiques
Sheet properties
  • evergreen
Fruit color
  • yellow
  • orange
Fruit characteristics
  • edible
Light
  • sunny to semi-shade
Soil type
  • sandy to loamy
Soil Moisture
  • moderately dry to fresh
Nutrient requirements
  • moderately nutritious
Humus
  • rich in humus
Decorative or utility value
  • Flower Decoration
  • Fruit ornaments
  • Fruit
Climate zones according to USDA
  • 8
Use
  • Planters
  • Winter garden
Garden style
  • Mediterranean garden
  • Pot garden

Origin

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a valuable fruit tree and an attractive container plant from the rose family (Rosaceae). It belongs to the Maloideae (Pyrinae) and is originally native to the warmer regions of eastern Central China. Loquat was later cultivated in Japan where it is still one of the most important fruit trees today. Around the end of the 18th century, loquat arrived in Europe and is now particularly widespread in Italy and other Mediterranean countries.

Growth

Eriobotrya japonica develops into a small evergreen tree. Loquat easily grows six to ten feet tall in tubs and is available to buy as a bush or a standard.

Leaves

The decorative foliage of Loquat is particularly attractive. The 7.87-9.84 inch long leathery leaves have a glossy, dark green surface and have white woolly hairs on the underside. The leaf veins are very prominent. Due to its hairiness, new growth has a silvery-white look.

Flowers

The white flowers of the Loquat appear between September and November. They sit in small clusters on the ends of branches and give off a pleasant fragrance.

Flowers of the Loquat

The fragrant flowers of the Loquat do not emerge until late in the year

Fruit

The edible plum-sized yellow to orange-red fruits of the Loquat, which are also known as Japanese medlar and nespolo, develop between February and May. The firm flesh delights with its sweet and tart taste. Tip: If possible, only harvest the fruits of Eriobotrya japonica when they are fully ripe as this is when they have the highest sugar content. They can be enjoyed raw or cooked to make jam or jelly. Anyone hoping for a rich harvest should specifically look for fruit-bearing plants. The fruits usually contain three to four seeds, but sometimes only one.

Location

A sunny to partially shaded location in the garden or on the patio – sheltered from the wind and rain – is ideal for Eriobotrya japonica. You should secure the tubs of larger plants to help prevent them tipping over in the wind. It is also possible to keep them in a conservatory.

Substrate

A high-quality container potting soil is recommended as a substrate. Plant the Loquat in a large tub as the root ball can become very big over time. And a bigger, heavier tub will not tip over so easily.

Watering

Loquats must be watered regularly and generously during the growing period. Frequent dry conditions cause brown leaves, however occasional drying out is tolerated quite well. Water the plant using water with as little lime as possible.

Fertilizing

Loquats should be fertilized every one to two weeks with a high-quality liquid fertilizer for container plants. If they are fertilized too little, growth slows and the leaves stay small and turn yellow.

Repotting

Eriobotrya japonica thrives when it is repotted every two to three years or at least has its substrate replaced.

Removing weeds from the loquat pot

Weed can be removed in summer with a manual weed puller if they grow out of control in the pot. This also loosens the substrate at the same time

Pruning

To encourage branching, it is advisable to pinch off the shoot tips of young plants several times between May and August. Corrective pruning can be done after harvesting in summer or in February/March.

Overwintering

Loquat is very robust. Light frosts as low as 17.5 degrees Fahrenheit do not damage the plant, therefore it often does not need to be brought inside until November and can go back outside early in the year. The ideal temperature for overwintering is around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Whether in a greenhouse or conservatory: A bright overwintering location is essential. If it is too dark, the plant will shed its evergreen leaves early and become bare. Water the Loquat sparingly in winter, but do not leave the root ball to dry out completely.

Propagation

You can propagate Eriobotrya japonica by seed or cuttings. Fresh seeds – available between March and May – germinate at temperatures of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit after just eight to ten days. Propagation by cuttings is a bit more time-consuming as rooting takes a relatively long time. Cultivars are usually propagated by grafting.

Diseases and Pests

The plant does not tend to be affected by diseases and pests. The woolly hairs seem to protect the loquat from aphids, spider mites, and other sucking insects. There is however a risk of fungal infection (loquat scab) in very wet summers. This can be identified by green spots on the leaves which later turn brown and increase in size. Other symptoms include black spots on the fruits and premature leaf fall. The plant should be covered during long periods of rain as a preventive measure. Loquat can also be affected by fire blight. This can be recognized by shoot tips which are almost completely black.

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