Growing loquat trees in pots is easy and a popular choice among many gardeners who want an attractive fruit-bearing tree.
Loquats are large evergreen small trees that can grow up to 20-30 feet tall but most of them only reach about 10 feet or slightly larger. They are easy to grow! They are loved for their production of sweet and tangy fruits that are plum-sized.
Loquat fruits are oval, round, or pear-shaped 1-2 inches long with a smooth yellow or orange skin. The flesh is white, orange, or yellow depending on the cultivar. The fruit is juicy and thick-skinned which is a favorite to many. It can be eaten fresh with the skin peeled off or turned into loquat jam.
Loquats are also known as Japanese Plum and Japanese Medler. Their botanical name is Eriobotrya japonica. This fruit is a member of the pome family and a cousin to quinces, apples, and pears. It contains 2-3 black seeds in the middle of the orange or yellow flesh.
Loquats trees do well in USDA Hardiness zones 8-10 and they can tolerate temperatures of as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Grow Loquat Trees in Pots
Growing loquat trees in pots is possible as we will see below. Let’s look at a step-by-step guide.
- Choose a pot that is at least 600 mm wide.
- Place it in full sun and fill it with a quality potting mix of your choice.
- Take the shrub from the container and gently ease the roots into the pot. If there are any tangled roots, cut them off.
- Position the plant in a hole and fill it with the potting mix as you gently firm it down. Water it generously to help it absorb the transplanting shock.
- Water well at least 2 times a week depending on weather conditions
- Mulch around the base using organic mulch like bark chips to keep it from drying fast
- You can add fertilizer once yearly, in spring, summer, and autumn.
- When it gets to the flowering stage, feed it weekly with a fruit plant food to help promote more flowering and fruiting.
- Re-pot annually to prevent plants from becoming root-bound.
- A loquat tree is a great choice for the patio area. But avoid planting them where the fruit can drop on sidewalks or patios.
How to Take Care of Loquat Trees in Pots
Loquats are shallow-rooted plants. Do not disturb their roots when weeding and put mulch around the base to protect them.
Water these trees regularly to help them produce juicy fruits. Loquats are drought-tolerant but they do well with regular watering. Do not overwater; it makes the soil wet all the time and kills the plant. Keep the soil evenly moist. When the blossoms are swelling and during harvest time, remember to water during this season.
Fertilize the loquat trees 3 times a year in spring, winter, and autumn with 6-6-6 organic fertilizer.
Avoid high nitrogen fertilizers because they can reduce flowering. After mid-summer, do not fertilize the trees.
Pruning loquats is important after harvesting. Prune back the shoots to keep them free from growing too tall. Remove the dead, diseased, crossing branches and dense shoots that grow in the center of the plant.
This ensures that sunlight reaches ripening fruit. Severe pruning does not harm loquats.
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Loquat Varieties to Grow in Containers
Orange Fleshed Cultivars
- Early Red. Medium-large, pear-shaped fruits that form in small clusters. They are ore orange-fleshed with an orange-red skin with white dots. This type ripens in winter.
- Big Jim. Round to oblong fruit that is 1 ½ inch in diameter. It has pale orange-yellow skin that is easy to peel. Its orange-yellow flesh has a very good slightly tart flavor. It ripens in mid-spring.
- Mrs. Cooksey. A large fruit of about 1 ½ inch in diameter with a yellow flesh and excellent flavor.
- Gold Nugget. A large, rounded oblong fruit with yellow-orange thin skin. This type’s orange flesh is juicy, firm, and sweet and its flavor is similar to an apricot.
White Fleshed Cultivars
- Champagne. Medium to large oval fruit with deep yellow skin and white flesh. It melts with sweetness and is very juicy and has a good flavor. This type ripens late spring.
- Advance. A medium to large pear-shaped fruit with deep yellow thick skin and white flesh. It ripens later in winter to early spring. Its tree is a dwarf of about 5 feet tall and resistant to fire blight.
- Herd’s Mammoth. Large fruit with yellow-orange skin and white-cream-colored flesh. It ripens earlier than other types.
- Vista White. A small to medium-sized fruit with yellow skin and white flesh. It is very sweet and superb for dessert.
If you are already growing loquat trees, share your experience with us. If these tips were useful, do not forget to share.