Introducing the Kumquat Tree
The kumquat tree has the botanical name Citrus Japonica. It originates from China and is associated with the tropics and eastern Asia. They are relatively small quite attractive for the suburban garden.
There are a number of varieties of kumquats. The most popular are:
Growing Kumquat Trees
Location and Soil
Kumquat trees will grow in most soil types, regardless of the ph. However, they should be planted in a well draining location. While they thrive in the tropics they can survive in areas with temperatures down to – 8 Celsius.
This tree thrives in full sunlight and enjoys high humidity of 50 to 70 per cent.
Kumquats do not grow well from seeds and are overwhelmingly grown by grafting. This is done by using rootstock of another citrus fruit.
How to grow kumquat trees from cuttings.
- Select Cutting
Make sure the cutting has 3 nodes (nodes are the knobby areas on the stem from where the leaves grow).
- Apply hormone
Put the end of the cutting into the rooting hormone mixed with water.
Push a small hole in your potting mix. Put the cutting in the hole and firm up the soil so it can stand on its own. Make sure the soil is damp to the touch, but not water-logged.
When your seedling fills the pot, transplant it into your growing spot in your tropical garden.
In spring, you should fertilise kumquat trees with a slow-release citrus fertilizer.
During the growing season, regular applications of a liquid fertilizer can increase a trees growth and productivity.
Make sure you water your tree well before and after you apply the fertiliser. Otherwise you may burn the plant.
Any pruning should be done in the dry season (winter/spring).
Growing in a pot
Kumquats are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in a pot. However, if you do place your plant inside, make sure it is located where it will get as much light as possible.
Mulching is recommended, but you should keep the ground at the base of the tree moist, but not wet of soggy.
Water trees regularly throughout the dry season. However, during the ‘wet’ they will be fine without any additional water.
Pests and Diseases
Root rot can be a problem with kumquat trees. So while mulching is recommended, you should pull back the mulch a few centimetres from the base of the tree.
Eating The Fruit
Kumquats are usually eaten raw. Do not peel before eating as the sweet skin complements the more bitter flesh of the fruit. However, make sure you spit out the seeds!
Kumquats are low in sodium and devoid of fat and cholesterol. In addition, it offers a number of other health benefits.
Kumquats are low in calories yet high in fiber, making them an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. Indeed, adding kumquat to your diet is a useful way to curb cravings and boost weight loss.
The high fibre and water content in kumquats makes them filling and good for digestion. Consequently, they can also help with constipation.
The fruit is very high in vitamin C which boosts the immune system. Each fruit contains around 8 mg of vitamin C.
The edible peels are full of antioxidants, that contain compounds that support the immune system and lower the risk of certain cancers.
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