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Eriobotrya Growing Guide
Eriobotrya Growing Information
Commonly known as ‘Loquats’
These evergreen trees or large shrubs are growing in popularity partly because of their attractive foliage but also because of their ability to produce edible fruits in hot summers which climate change may mean are on the increase.
Loquats originate from China and Japan but are commonly gown in Mediterranean countries for their fruit.
They have broad upright lance shaped and toothed leathery leaves. Terminal panicles of white hawthorn scented flowers appear usually in the early autumn followed by rounded orange-yellow fruits 1.5in across in the following spring. At Burncoose we have found the fruit to ripen only after very warm summers and to be edible only when the flowers appear much later in the year.
E. japonica is best grown in full sun against a warm wall to have any chance of the fruits ripening. Those forms with narrower leaves seem to have the best chance of fruiting. At a prep school in Northamptonshire I observed an elderly plant which fruited every year. It is therefore reasonable to argue that this plant is perfectly hardy in southern counties if grown in the right place.
If you grow E. japonica in the greenhouse you will need plenty of room. It is unlikely to flower if grown in a pot and needs an open bed with plenty of pruning to keep it in shape.
In more recent years we have been impressed by small trees of Eriobotrya deflexa growing at Caerhays. Two of these freestanding trees have now grown to 20ft. Their key attribute is beautiful reddish new growth. In a normal year there are two sets of new growth to enjoy. As yet these trees have produced no flowers but the foliage effect is outstanding. We intend to offer this new plant shortly on our website.
Loquats are readily grown from semi ripe cuttings taken in mid summer and provided with bottom head. We have grown them from seed which proved much easier than we expected and some of the young plants are romping away in the garden.