Secrets for growing kumquats in the garden and in a pot
“Kumquat” means “golden orange” in Mandarin Chinese and is a very common tree in China and Japan. An evergreen plant that belongs to the citrus, with slow growth, kumquat can be grown in our garden and reach a height of 3-4 meters. Kumquat is an ideal tree for planting in pots on the balcony, where it is very often planted for beautification and shows more controlled growth. Kumquat blooms in mid-summer with beautiful white fragrant flowers and gives us orange or orange-yellow fruits that ripen in January – February and look like elongated tiny oranges.
The kumquat oval fruit is pitted and like all citrus fruits, it is rich in vitamins A and C. Although the kumquat fruit peel is very fragrant with a sweet taste, its flesh is not very juicy and has a sharp and bittersweet taste. For this reason, kumquat is usually not eaten raw but is used to make liqueurs, jellies, jams, and desserts. So let’s see how we can cultivate kumquat for its special fruits, as well as to enjoy the unique beauty of the dark green leathery leaves and the orange-yellow fruits.
Under what conditions does the cultivation of kumquat thrive?
Kumquat grows best in medium, deep, fertile soils with low calcium content and adequate drainage. Kumquat wants mild cool conditions, without very high and low temperatures or abrupt changes. It prefers sunny and warm areas to thrive and give quality fruits.
The ideal temperature for the normal growth of kumquat is between 13 ° C – 30 ° C. Strong winds, especially cold north winds, hail and snow cause a decrease in vegetation and kumquat production, as well as a deterioration in the quality of its fruits.
What do we pay attention to when planting kumquat in a pot on the balcony?
Kumquat grows best in sunny places on the balcony to have good growth and rich fruit. We choose a place sheltered from frost and north winds, mainly in places with south or west orientation. Even in hot southern regions, kumquat when planted in pots on the balcony should be protected on cold winter nights.
Kumquat needs a relatively large pot, 30-40 cm in diameter to be able to better develop its glossy foliage and give us its wonderful fruits. For planting kumquat in a pot, we choose general-purpose plant soil, rich in nutrients, while at the base of the pot it is good to place a layer of gravel to remove water.
How often does the kumquat need watering?
Kumquat needs frequent watering to ensure satisfactory soil moisture in its root system. The needs of the kumquat for water are clearly greater in the warmer months, as it requires regular watering every 2-3 days, while in the spring and autumn period once a week is sufficient. Especially the young kumquat seedlings, when planted, require good watering to adequately develop their root system and to quickly give new strong vegetation. The kumquat also needs regular watering when planted in a pot, although we should check the soil moisture and let it dry before re-watering.
How often put fertilizer in kumquat?
Kumquat needs enough nutrients to give us rich vegetation and good production every year. Apply complete organic fertilizer, rich in magnesium and trace elements of iron and zinc in early spring, incorporating them into the soil. We repeat fertilization at the beginning of summer and fertilization with more potassium during the autumn period.
To fertilize the kumquat in a pot, add 3-4 tablespoons of complete organic fertilizer, once a month, during the spring and autumn. The kumquat in the pot will need additional iron lubrication to green the foliage.
What insects and diseases affect kumquat?
The kumquat is infested with several insects, such as meligra, as well as the leafhopper insect that damages its tender vegetation by causing the leaves to twist. For the biological treatment of insect infestations, we spray preventively with biological preparations such as summer pulp and potassium fatty acid soaps that can be purchased from agricultural stores.
In conditions of high humidity, kumquat can be infected by the herbivorous fungus that infects the root system of the tree. For the biological treatment of the herbivorous fungus, we avoid excessive watering and smear the trunk of the tree up to one meter with prodigal pulp (blue stone with lime).
When and how do we prune the kumquat?
A suitable time for pruning the kumquat is in early spring after the fruiting of the trees has been completed. Kumquat requires light pruning every year to keep it cup-shaped and to keep the tree at a constant height.
When pruning the kumquat, we remove internally weak shoots as well as greedy shoots that do not bear fruit to ensure better ventilation and lighting in the tree. When it is planted in a pot, we can do a second additional pruning in early autumn to beautify it and keep its compact shape in the form of a ball.
How is kumquat multiplied?
The main method of propagation of kumquat is done by inoculating the desired varieties in suitable subjects and specifically with the method of inoculation with T or with inverted T. Suitable subjects for inoculation of kumquat are the subjects Neratziat, Orange T Carrizo & Troyer, Glycolimetias, and Volcameriana. A good time to vaccinate the kumquat is in the spring, from March to April, as well as at the beginning of autumn. We can create new kumquat plants by the method of propagation by cuttings, cutting cuttings 15-20 cm long from healthy and vibrant shoots of the tree. If we try to propagate the kumquat with seed, it will not give us a sapling that produces fruits of the same variety as the seed we planted and we will have to inoculate them with the desired variety of kumquat.