Growing quince from seed

Can I Grow Quince Trees From Seed: Learn About Quince Seed Germination

Sure, you can buy a quince seedling from a nursery, but what fun is that? My sister has a gorgeous quince tree in her backyard and we regularly make the fruit into delicious quince preserves. Rather than go to her house to procure fruit, I pondered the question “can I grow quince trees from seed instead.” Turns out that seed grown quince is, indeed, one method of propagation along with layering and hardwood cuttings. Interested in growing quince fruit from seeds? Read on to find out how to grow a quince tree from seed and just how long it takes to grow following quince seed germination.

Can I Grow Quince from Seed?

Many types of fruit can be started from seed. Not all of them will be true to the parent plant, including seed grown quince, but if you are a curious, experimental gardener like me, then by all means, try growing quince fruit from seeds!

How to Grow a Quince Tree from Seed

Quince seed germination isn’t particularly difficult, although it takes some planning since the seeds need a period of cooling or stratification prior to planting.

Acquire quince fruit in the fall and separate the seeds from the pulp. Wash the seeds in clean water, drain them and allow them to dry on a paper towel for a day or so in a cool area out of the sun.

Place the dry seeds in a zip lock bag that has been filled about ¾ full with clean, moist sand or sphagnum moss. Seal the bag and gently toss the seeds around in the sand filled bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for three months to stratify.

After three months or so have passed, it’s time to plant the quince seeds. Plant 1-2 seeds in a pot filled with potting mix. Seeds should be planted about ½ inch (1 cm.) deep. Water the seeds in well and place the potted seeds in a southern facing window.

Once the seeds have sprouted and are showing their second set of leaves, select the weakest plant from each pot and pinch or pull it out.

Before planting the seedlings outside, harden them off for a few hours each day once the weather has warmed and all danger of frost has passed. Gradually, increase their outdoor time each day over the course of a week until they are fully acclimated.

If the seedlings were germinated in peat pots, plant them that way. If they were in a different type of pot, gently remove them from the pot and plant them at the same depth as they were currently growing.

While fruit quality may be a gamble, planting quince from seed is still fun and certainly the resulting fruit will be suitable for cooking purposes. Seedling quince also accept scions from pear cultivars as well as some other quince trees which will give you choices of many fruit varieties on this species of hardy rootstock.

Quince growing

4. Wind

Excessive wind makes tree training more difficult, hinders tree development and can be very damaging to crops. Quinces in particular are susceptible to damage due to the floppy growth habit when fruit is on the tree. The site and general topography determine the need for windbreaks. If possible, establish windbreak trees before the orchard is planted, and promote development by the control of weeds and provision of irrigation. Alternatively, an artificial windbreak can be considered.

Propagation

Quinces will usually propagate readily from hardwood cuttings of selected varieties, although cuttings from some varieties will not root easily (e.g. Champion). The cuttings should be about 25 cm long and taken during the late autumn–early winter period (no later than the end of June). This is the most convenient method of propagation, butthe disadvantage is that resultant trees tend to produce suckers, which need to be periodically removed.

The Angers clonal quince selection, Quince A, can be used as a rootstock for the various quince varieties. By budding the selected varieties onto this rootstock, the treeswill bear a little earlier after planting out and, when fully grown, will be smaller than those established on their own roots or seedling rootstocks.

Quince seedlings are satisfactory as rootstocks for budding and have the advantage that such trees produced do not sucker. Where seedlings are to be used, the quince seed is extracted from mature fruit, cleaned, stratified in sand and stored in a cool place or held moist in a plastic bag in the refrigerator until planting out in late winter – early spring. If the seedlings are well grown, they will be large enough to bud with the desired varieties during the following late summer–autumn.

Trees on seedling rootstock should produce some fruit by about the fifth year. Those from cuttings will fruit sooner.

Orchard establishment

Trees establish better in virgin ground. Occasionally problems are encountered in virgin land where tree roots have become infected by the fungus Armillaria mellea,which is found on the roots of some native timbers. To minimise losses from this disease, roots from cleared timber must be grubbed and burnt. Deep-ripping of the site not onlybrings these roots to the surface to be collected and burnt, but promotes better tree growth during the early years of establishment.

With previously cropped land, as in the case of cleared land, try to improve soil fertility and ensure that soil pH is satisfactory.

Nurseries are often unable to provide trees at short notice, so it is wise to plan ahead and order in advance.

Pollination

There is no local evidence that quinces require pollen from another variety to set crops. Indeed, there are plenty of examples of single trees cropping well without pollinators. However, cropping improves in many deciduous fruit crops where pollination is provided. It is therefore suggested that more than one variety be grown if possible.

Flowers develop on new shoots in spring. The cultivars overlap fairly well in flowering from the earliest to the latest in cool districts. They open after most apple cultivars, with full bloom 4–7 days later than ‘Delicious’ apples.

Planting

Planting is best done during the latter part of June or early July when trees are completely dormant. Planting techniques and post-planting care are the same as for most other deciduous fruit trees.

A suggested planting distance is 5 × 2.5–3 metres, which will require some 667–800 trees per hectare. Where seedling rootstock has been used, especially wheresoils are deep and fertile, the trees can be expected to grow larger and a planting distance of 6 × 4.5 metres should be used, giving about 370 trees per hectare.

All quince varieties have a sensitive skin and are liable to superficial blemishes, especially if grown unprotected from wind.

Management of newly planted trees

Young trees need protection from vermin. Fences are equally effective, but sometimes stem guards or repellents are equally effective. Never allow grazing stock into youngplantations.

Control of grass and weeds around young trees is important and can be achieved with suitable herbicides. It may be necessary to protect the stems. If suckers develop, theymust be removed.

The young tree with restricted root development is particularly prone to long dry periods. Aim to have soil moisture available to meet requirements during the entire growing season to maximise early tree growth development and, later on, production.

Normally, pesticide applications to young trees are restricted in the interest of economy, but in order to do this effectively keep young plantings under regular observation (in particular observe for quince fleck, and pear and cherry slugworm).

Varieties

Fifteen varieties have been grown and examined by I&I NSW. These are described in Table 1.

Table 1. Characteristics of quince varieties

Variety Flowering Maturity Size, shape and quality Colour on cooking
Missouri Mammoth Early Early Large, round Pale pink
Portugal Early mid Early mid Medium, pear-shaped, poor quality (small fruit strain) Pale pink
Powell’s Prize Early mid Early mid Small, pear-shaped Pink
De Vranja Early mid Early mid Large, long pear-shaped, good quality Pink
Appleshaped Mid late Mid Medium, short pear-shaped, good quality Yellowish
Champion Early mid Mid Medium, pear-shaped, good quality Pale pink
Orange Early Mid Small-medium, pear-shaped, poor quality Pink
Rea’s Mammoth Early mid Mid Large, short pear-shaped Pink
Smyrna Mid Mid Large, long pear-shaped, good quality Pale pink
Mummery’s Seedling Early Mid late Large, pear-shaped, good quality Pale pink
Fuller’s Early Mid late Medium-large, pear-shaped Pale pink
Pineapple Late Mid late Medium, pear-shaped, good quality Pale pink
Master’s Early Early Late Medium-large, pear-shaped Pink
De Bourgeaut Late Late Medium large, pear-shaped Deep pink
Van Deman Early Very late Medium, pear-shaped Orange

Figures 3 and 4 below show the comparative size and shape of some quince varieties.

Quinces

Quinces are a terrific little home garden tree, which are very hardy – will tolerate a wet soil, and also have some drought tolerance, making them a good tree for difficult areas. With a little bit of looking after (regular watering, pruning, fertilising) they will set a heavy crop of fruit, and when the fruit are ripening they send a very distinctive and tantalising aroma wafting around the garden, not to mention their very pretty ornamental flowers in Spring.

Quinces are primarily used for making jams and jellies, but they are also dried and made into cider, they make a delicious paste (suitable for cheese platters), stewed with custard they’re a terrific desert….need I go on.

Most of our quinces this year, (except Smyrna Large, and Champion Large), are offered on semi dwarfing rootstocks -they are grafted onto Quince A rootstocks, which yield a tree of about 2.5 – 3 metres height. They are very easy to keep pruned to a smaller size if desired, and will make a very good espalier as well. The Smyrna and Champion grow to larger trees – more like 3-4 metres.

Showing all 10 results


  • Powells Prize Quince

    Out of stock

    Powells Prize quince are a smaller fruit, with a pear-shape, they turn a lovely pink colour when cooked, harvest early, hardy tree, easy to grow


  • Van Deman Quince

    Van Deman quince $32.00 inc. GST


  • Rea’s Mammoth quince

    Rea’s Mammoth quince is one of the strains of the Orange quince, characterised by very large quinces and a productive tree, foliage quite dark, and the fruit keeps well after maturity $32.00 inc. GST


  • Pineapple quince

    The Pineapple quince is a very old variety, vigorous growing tree, extra large leaves, fruit harvests late and has very nice flavour with a pineapple like aroma, useful baking, jams, and makes a terrific quince jelly, profuse ornamental bloom $32.00 inc. GST


  • Apple Shaped quince

    Apple Shaped quince is a local Victorian variety found growing near Creswick, a true apple shaped fruit, similar to the Apple quince, excellent jelly and stewing $32.00 inc. GST


  • Angers French quince

    Angers French quince is a French type, with smaller leaves, and a more dwarfed tree overall (grows to about 2 metres), smaller fruits with flesh a little harder than other varieties but cooks down very nicely, seems to keep longer than most of the others, sets a heavier crop with cross pollination from another variety. $32.00 inc. GST


  • Fuller’s quince

    Out of stock

    Fuller’s quince is a variety from out of the USA, in the 1860’s, large fruits, rich aromatic flavour, early ripening, regular bearer, flowers mid season


  • De Bourgeaut quince

    De Bourgeaut quince is a relatively vigourous tree, upright, and has very large leaves, (we love the large leaves – they look lush, and more like antiquity than ever) , fruit a greeny yellow colour, flesh juicy and mild, cooks to a lovely deep colour $32.00 inc. GST

  • Champion quince

    This year, we offer this variety as the option of a standard sized tree, which will potentially grow to a 3-4 metre full sized tree, originating around 1860’s, in the USA, the Champion quince is a smaller rounded variety ripening mid season, very good flavour, and performs well in many different areas $32.00 inc. GST

  • Smyrna quince

    Smyrna Quince is originally from Smyrna in Turkey, a very good bearer, very large yellow aromatic fruit, flesh relatively tender, very showy blooms, ripens late in the season $32.00 inc. GST

Quince

Cydonia oblonga

Quince trees live to a great age and have showy, white or pale pink ornamental flowers and a delicious aroma as the fruit ripen. As the tree matures the wide, contorted branches make a very sculptural form in the garden.

Planting is best done during the latter part of June or early July when trees are completely dormant. Quinces are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency under alkaline conditions; hence they prefer slightly acid ph soils. They are self-fertile so you only need one tree. They prefer cooler subtropical areas to cold temperate regions. Aim to have soil moisture available to meet requirements during the entire growing season to maximise early tree growth development and fruit production.

Plant Care

Unlike other pome fruit (apples and pears), it is difficult to train quince trees to have central leaders. This is because the fruits are often on the tips of shoots, causing the shoots to bend over, resulting in a floppy drooping tree habit. All pruning is normally done in the winter, and certainly any moderate or hard cutting should be confined to this period. For the early 3 – 4 years prune one year old growth by half to ensure a compact shape. It is important to have plenty of new young wood so prune back lightly each year.

Harvesting

Quince produces both its flowers and fruit on fairly short shoots which grow during the same season. For the fruit to ripen it requires a warm sunny position.

Storage

Pick fruit from mid-autumn and they will continue to fragrantly ripen in a cool place for about six to eight weeks. The fruit is unsuitable for eating raw. It has a high pectin content that makes excellent jams and jellies. They require a long slow cooking time when stewed, baked or made into preserves.

Varieties suitable for the Sydney Basin

Dwarf pineapple quince – very old quince variety, vigorous growing tree with extra-large leaves and profuse ornamental blooms. Medium sized, pear shaped fruit harvests late and has very nice flavour with a pineapple like aroma, useful baking, jams, and makes a terrific quince jelly,

Dwarf Smyrna – originally from Smyrna in Turkey, it has a very showy bloom and is a good bearer of large, golden skin, aromatic fruit. Starts bearing, relatively tender, fruit in its second year, ripens very late in the season.

References: NSW Department of Agriculture

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