Grow a Loquat Tree For Big Harvests

February 17, 2023 0 Comments

Grown as a loquat tree or shrub, this fruit plant is interesting. A relative of the Rose, it makes small fruits that taste like a mixture of peaches, citrus and mango, and some describe it as a Honey Nut.

But most people have never tasted it and know practically nothing about this unusual fruit or the lush tropical tree on which it grows!

I’ll fix that right away, because loquats are delicious, nutritious, and a lot of fun to grow if you’re in the right climate to do so. These evergreen trees are a beautiful ornamental species, but if you add the benefit of fresh fruit, it’s definitely worth growing!

All About The Japanese Plum Tree

With an average height at the top of 30 feet, it can grow into a pruning evergreen tree. However, it is more often kept in the 10 to 15 foot range by commercial growers for ease of maintenance and harvesting. At the height of 10′, the lake is treated as a dense tree-like shrub.

Although up to 800 cultivars are available, they are all the same basic varieties. Sometimes called Japanese plum, Chinese plum or Japanese Medlar, the tree and its fruits are called Pipa in China.

There are varieties with white meat or orange meat. Some popular cultivars in the United States are:

Vista White: a round variety with white flesh and light yellow skin, small to medium in size, needs a second tree to cross-pollinate
Golden Nugget: a round to oblong variety with firm orange flesh with a yellowish orange skin, large-fruited, self-fertile
Early red: pear-shaped variety with orange flesh with orange-red skin sprinkled with white, medium to large fruits, self-fertile
Champagne: pear-shaped variety with white to yellow pulp, pale orange-yellow skin, medium to large fruits, self-fertile
Big Jim: round variety with orange flesh with pale orange-yellow skin, large-fruited, self-fertile

In traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine, the fruits and leaves of the loquat plum are used for many different purposes.

The Chinese use the fruit to make a syrup to relieve cough. The leaves are used in Japan to make biwa cha, a drink believed to help with skin conditions and help with bronchitis or other respiratory conditions.

The leaves and seeds contain small amounts of cyanogenic glycosides that release cyanide when digested. However, small amounts of these compounds rarely have an effect. It is always good not to eat the seeds or leaves and keep them away from children and pets.

At the end of a warm summer, the loquat plum begins to develop flowers as autumn approaches. It forms its flowers on the tops of new growth branches less than 6 months old, and the flowers are in pannicles or clusters.

These flowers often carry a sweet tropical scent in your garden during the warm autumn afternoons, which is great fun!

One Hundred Flowers can form on one cluster, but this does not mean that it will produce one hundred fruits from this cluster. Typically, there will be between forty and sixty flowers on a pannicle, with 10 to 12 fruits developing in this place.

If you notice that your tree seems to be producing a lot of fruit, now is a good time to prune some of the excess to make sure you have larger, healthy fruits instead of a bunch of small ones.

If the individual flowers begin to swell into fruits, it is also important to keep your tree warm. A Cold Blow can knock flowers or fruits off the tree. Avoid temperatures below 30 degrees if possible.

The fruits must ripen on the tree, because during this ripening period they develop all their sweetness and taste. When ripe, the fruit softens and usually the whole tree ripens at or around the same period.

After harvesting, the tree recovers in the rest of the spring, sending new shoots and growth from spring to summer. As soon as autumn returns, it’s time to bloom again.

Flowering may not be constant from one year to the next and the fruit set may vary. Some years can have a bountiful harvest, while others are much smaller. It depends on the weather conditions as to the quality of the annual production of your Medlar.

Care of Loquats

Generally preferring tropical climates, loquat plum trees are easy to maintain once established. If you keep them in the right temperature range, they will provide beautiful dark green foliage and shade all year round. Let’s see the perfect conditions to grow your Medlar!


This tree should be grown in full sun to partial shade and does best in zones 8 to 10. This means that much of California is perfect for growing these small sour and sweet fruits, as well as much of the south or southeastern United States.

Often loquats are grown as a shade covering for patios and can be shaped into trellis patterns. If placed in the right place, you may be able to get some shade on your Japanese plum during the hottest periods of summer, which can be beneficial for the growth of the tree.

It is possible to grow loquats in containers. These remain small and compact and can be placed outdoors when the weather is optimal and moved indoors under a bright grow light when temperatures are too cold. Containers such as air pots provide the most support for the root system of the tree.

Temperature and humidity

Surprisingly sensitive to temperature, they can be grown as ornamental plants in areas where it is as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, fruits and flowers fall from the tree at temperatures below 30 degrees, as a result of which it does not bear fruit.

Hot weather is also a problem. At temperatures above 95 degrees, they suffer from leaf burns and may have difficulty growing. It is essential to provide extra watering during the hot summer months to alleviate these problems.

In their original Asian environments, loquats naturally thrive in a much more humid environment than in the California desert or the southwestern half of the United States. Some cultivars have been developed that do well in conditions of lower humidity.


In the first year after planting a new tree, it is important to water more abundantly than you would otherwise. For the first two weeks, water 3-4 times a week, then gradually and slowly reduce the frequency of watering until it is established.

As a rule, loquats planted in the ground do well when the local total rainfall is between 20 and 45 inches per year. At the lower end of this range, it can benefit from additional watering at certain times.

When the flowers begin to swell to bear fruit in the spring, give it a long, slow stream of water. This can be done with a dripping pipe, through which moisture slowly seeps through the soil around the roots of the tree. Stop when the water starts to drain.

During the summer heat, deep and slow weekly watering will help your tree resist the scorching rays of the sun. This is most important in warmer weather of 95 degrees or more. Again, a drip hose is very convenient for this purpose, as it prevents water from splashing.

Mulching around the base of your tree during the summer months is also beneficial, as it maintains moisture in the soil where the tree uses it.


Your medlar prefers soil that drains well, but it is less picky than some plants when it comes to the composition of the soil as long as it is not silvery. The pH value of the soil is not of great concern, since loquats grow well in acidic and alkaline soils.

I recommend loosening the soil well in a four to five-foot circle around where you are planting your tree, going at least 18″ below the soil surface. You can adjust your soil at this time with compost if you wish.

Poor drainage can cause difficulties for the roots of your tree. If your soil is too clayey, you may need to adjust a larger area to ensure good drainage. Your loquat will not like to stay in stagnant water for a long time!


A slow-release granular fertilizer suitable for fruit trees will work very well. Focus on varieties intended for feeding apples, quinces or pear trees, as they are closely related.

If you do not have access to a fruit tree fertilizer, you can use a standard lawn fertilizer, as long as it does not contain herbicides or herbicides.

In the first year, three fertilizer applications spread out throughout the year should be enough, but wait until the tree is slightly established before making the first fertilization. You want the roots to penetrate deep into the soil mass before giving it additional nutrition.

When fertilizing, try to fertilize in a four-foot ring around the base of the tree. This will allow nutrients to penetrate into a larger area and the roots will be able to absorb them more easily if necessary.



Transplanting loquats is quite simple. Start by preparing the soil where you want to plant the tree and work to loosen the soil in at least a 4-foot circle around the area where you plan to plant.

As soon as the soil is loosened and a hole is dug for the tree, remove it from the container. Rinse off some of the potting soil to expose the roots, although you don’t need to remove everything.

Place it in the hole at the same height as it was originally planted, being careful not to go further. Make sure that part of the new soil comes into contact with the roots and fill the hole around it. Water it well and mulch it to prevent weeds from growing at the base.


Medlars grown in the ground only need an annual pruning in April to allow light to penetrate the center of the canopy. They can be cosmetically trimmed to keep them in a certain shape if desired.


Ripe loquats tend to be slightly larger than unripe loquats and give something when pressed gently. Their skin will be a little darker than that of the immature, which will tell you when to start checking. If they cling to the tree for too long, they will fall off on their own, but will be overripe.

It is easiest to harvest by cutting off the end of the branch to which the fruit is attached, taking whole pieces of fruit at once. Try to pick pieces where most of the fruit seems ripe to avoid waste.


Although loquats are delicious and worth growing, they all seem to ripen at the same time. And while they’re great for eating fresh, they only last a few days when they’re done. There is a clear period of “eat me now” for fresh food, after which they are no longer suitable.

Fortunately, whole fruits can be placed on a cookie sheet in the freezer and frozen until firm, then stored in a freezer bag until it’s time to use them. Once thawed, it will be soft and a little mushy, but will make an excellent syrup or jam.

Growing Problems

The most common growing problem is the burning of the tips of the leaves. This causes the tops of the leaves to turn brown and crispy during the warm periods of the year.

Unfortunately, there really is no solution for this, as it is usually caused by heat above 95 degrees. Making sure your medlar has enough water during heat waves is the only preventive measure, but even that doesn’t always work.

Although it is not susceptible to many ailments, your medlar is exposed to two different forms of burn: burn blood and pear blood.

In regions where it rains in after spring or early summer, or where humidity is high, fire sickness is relatively common. Transmitted by bees, it turns young shoots brown and finishs leaves.

Some bactericides are used to prevent burns, but as soon as the young shoots become infected, they must be removed and damageed. You need to properly cut contaminated materials into green and healthy wood to prevent its spread.

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