23 September 2010

Do You Know Your Flowering Quince?

Whether or not you recognize it, you see flowering quince every spring around the time forsythia blooms. In contrast to forsythia’s bright yellow, flowering quince blooms in pink, red and white.

The two best known flowering quince are Chaenomeles speciosa, Common Floweringquince and Chaenomeles japonica, Japanese Floweringquince. Both are cold hardy as far north as zone 4 or 5 which means gardeners who live south of Minnesota can grow them.

The common variety is native to China but was cultivated in Japan. Proven Winners released two new, low growing, varieties this year and both have double flowers.

Proven Winners, Flowering Quince, Scarlet Storm


The two best known flowering quince are Chaenomeles speciosa, Common Floweringquince and Chaenomeles japonica, Japanese Floweringquince. Both are cold hardy as far north as zone 4 or 5 which means gardeners who live south of Minnesota can grow them.

The common variety is native to China but was cultivated in Japan. Proven Winners released two new, low growing, varieties this year and both have double flowers.

Floweringquince is a woody shrub with a naturally rounded outline. Older plants can become unattractive if they are not pruned from time to time. Spring flowering shrubs are pruned right after the spring flowers fade. Unless pruned some varieties will become 8 feet tall and stop flowering.


Proven Winners, Flowering Quince Pink Storm


A flowering quince that has lost its form or stopped blooming can be cut to 6-inches above the ground to be rejuvenated. They can also be trained onto an espallier or thinned out to just a few canes to make a graceful form. In general, remove the oldest and largest canes first then stand back and look at the plant’s natural shape before continuing to cut.

The traditional quince flowers arrive by March in scarlet, red, pink, peach and white. In late January or February, budding branches can be brought inside and placed in warm water to bloom.

The seed pome that forms after the flowers fade resembles an apple and is about 2-inches long and wide. In October, the bitter fruit can be harvested and cooked. It is high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidant flavinoids. The new flowering cultivars are fruitless.

The adaptability of Floweringquince makes it a good choice for difficult places in the garden where the soil is poor or thin. They enjoy sun and will not flower if planted in shade.

Proven Winners, Flowering Quince Orange Storm


The common varieties have thorns and some gardeners find them useful as a hedge. There are several thornless varieties that are easier to keep pruned.
Floweringquince has had many names over the years. At one time it was Pyrus, then Cydonia and now Chaenomeles, a member of the Rosaceae family.

Here are a few of the 150 flowering quince varieties to consider –

Cameo – Double peach flowers, 5-feet tall, nearly thornless and disease resistant.

Contorta – White flowers on twisted stems that add interest to the winter garden.

Double Take Orange Storm – Orange flowers on thornless, 3 to 5-foot tall shrub. The flowers are double and resemble a peony or rose.

Double Take Pink Storm – Pink, double, camellia-like flowers. No fruit. Deer resistant.

Double Take Scarlet Storm – Large, dark red flowers on heat tolerant, 5-foot tall shrub. The three Double Take Flowering Quince are new introductions from Proven Winners. They were developed at the North Carolina State University Extension Service.

Jet Trail – White flowers on an almost thornless plant that grows to 3 feet tall and wide.

Moned – Bright red flowers on 8-foot tall shrub.

Orange Delight - Bright orange flowers on a low spreading 3-foot tall plant.

Texas Scarlet - An almost thornless 3-foot tall dwarf with tomato-red, profuse, flowers followed by fruit.

Toyo-Nishiki - White, white and pink, pink or red flowers all bloom on the same upright branches.

In mythology, quince was considered to be the Garden of Eden’s forbidden fruit. The Ancient Greeks and Romans dedicated them to Aphrodite and Venus as emblems of love. Widely cultivated by Romans and then Europeans, the fruits were prized for pie and wine making.

Fall is the ideal time to plant shrubs. White Flower Farm (whiteflowerfarm.com) has the new Double Take varieties.

11 comments:

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

I'm looking forward to my Proven Winners' quinces next spring. They are digging in right now and making themselves bigger for better blooms. I love the colors and think they are a great gift to the garden. BTW, I don't have a forsythia. Odd, huh?

Martha said...

Forsythia is supposedly to be given by a friend rather than purchased.
There are lots of new varieties to consider.
The quinces from PW are full of promise. Can't wait to see them next spring after their winter rest.

Angelina said...

Wow. I just recently found this flower in my backyard and put it up on my blog : herbalinfusions.blogspot.com

They are really beautiful!

Anonymous said...


I think this web site has very good composed articles blog posts.

Martha said...

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post a comment.
It's appreciated.
M

Anonymous said...

Quince is my favorite shrub - I have over 20 in my yard. This year I added Double Take Orange Storm. Love their Asiatic look.

Anonymous said...

Hi Martha,
Im love flowering quince. I have space for another in my yard and have a question for you. Somewhere in my past I swear I saw a flowering quince whose blooms were a dark, bright or intense orange with some areas almost fading toward black! Maybe similar to the color of the flowers at this site:

http://healthyhomegardening.com/images/gardengeek/red_6petal_flowers_425.jpg

Is there such a quince? I would love to have one here. AK from Delaware

Martha said...

H -
Take a look at this webpage -
http://www.provenwinners.com/search/content/quince

Proven Winners has several new colors. Maybe you'll see the one you are looking for there.

Peggy said...

My quince was mistakenly cut to the ground today. I had transplanted it from my parents farm and is meaningful for that as well as my love for plants and trees. It has been growing in my yard for many years and this is the first year I've known it to bear fruit. I live in southwestern Ohio and today is September 21.
Do you have any advice for how to try to save it? I've just started researching and one place I read said they can be cut to 6 inches above the ground but mine got cut to less than that.
Any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

Martha Stoodley said...

Hi Sorry to hear about your quince being cut to the ground.
I'm not sure about its future but here's what I'd do.
Water it thoroughly and mulch the roots with a few inches of something organic like pecan shells, pine bark or needles, compost,etc.
This winter do not allow the roots to dry out during freezing weather. After the last freeze of the winter pull the mulch back to allow the sun to warm the roots.
Hope for shoots from which you can create a leader.
Of course, as you know, if this was a grafted tree only the sprouts above the graft have any hope of resembling the tree as you knew it.
I'd plant another quince this fall to hedge against a hard winter.

Peggy said...

Thank you for your quick and helpful response, Martha. I will take your advice and be keeping my fingers crossed.
I had thought of planting another Quince with silly thoughts of it encouraging mine to grow. Maybe imine will come back and be even stronger than before. I hope, I hope!