The Meiwa Sweet Kumquat tree has glossy, dark green foliage and white fragrant blooms that occur singly or in clusters on the leaf axils. Meiwa Kumquats are large and well-known for their sweet, edible rind and flesh that has minimal seeds. The Meiwa Sweet Kumquat tree gives off an amazing citrus fragrance.
The Kumquat tree is a small, evergreen fruit tree of the family Rutaceae classified as genus Fortunella; Kumquat trees are historically classified as a citrus tree (genus Citrus), but the Swingle system of citrus taxonomy placed them in their own genus.
Meiwa Kumquat trees are a natural hybrid of Marumi and Nagami Kumquats. They were first brought to Japan during the Meiwa period 1764-72, hence the name. Kumquat trees were introduced to Europe by Robert Fortune in 1846 and shortly after to North America. Kumquat trees are divided into multiple species and one of them is the sweet Meiwa Kumquat tree (Fortunella crassifolia).
A Kumquat tree can grow as tall as 4’-8’ ft with dense branches that are relatively thornless. This citrus tree has glossy, dark green foliage and white fragrant blooms that occur singly or in clusters on the leaf axils.
Standard and Dwarf Kumquat trees do not grow well from seeds and are generally cultivated and propagated using rootstock of another citrus fruit. It is better to buy your Kumquat trees instead of growing them from seeds. Like most citrus fruits, Kumquats are self-pollinating but much hardier.
Meiwa Kumquat trees produce bright colored round to oval-shaped sweet fruits with an edible rind & flesh with soft seeds in the interior.
Citrus Tree Care
Kumquat trees are easy to grow. They are low maintenance, and great for beginner home growers and gardeners.
Just like other citrus trees that are on trifoliate orange rootstock, Kumquat trees need a slightly acidic soil with pH 5.5 to 6.0 while those on their own root like an alkaline soil with pH 6.0 to 6.5. Make sure to plant the tree in well-draining soil since Kumquat trees do not like wet feet.
Meiwa Kumquat trees thrive in full to partial sunlight and are cold hardy plants that are suitable to USDA plant hardiness zones 8 to 11 and tolerate cold weather with temperatures as low as 10°F. They can also be planted in pots in colder USDA growing zones 4 to 7.
Deeply water the young Kumquat tree regularly, the soil around them should be kept moist but not wet. Before the next watering, make sure that the top 2-3 inches of soil has dried out. Once a healthy root system has been established you can cut back on watering and water only during extended periods of drought, when the flowers are in bloom and when fruits are developing.
When still young, pinch back the growing tips and shoots to make it full and bushy and to establish a sturdy well-branched structure for future fruiting loads as this tree bears fruit to a point of breaking the limbs in some cases. Established kumquat trees should be pruned regularly to keep its shape.
Snip away diseased and dead branches to keep the tree looking tidy and prevent spread of disease. Prune top branches that are too tall but leave out the inner and side growth to not lose the following years’ fruit yield.
Dredge out weeds that are near the trunk of the kumquat tree as they compete for nutrients and water that growing citrus trees need. You can also mulch around the tree to retain the moisture and kill off weeds, but be sure to keep it away from the trunk as a wet trunk can attract diseases.
Citrus Tree Fertilizing
Growing Kumquat trees need fertilizer for citrus trees during the active growing season, about every six weeks or as indicated by the label of the citrus tree fertilizer you have chosen. Citrus tree fertilizer can augment flower production, boost fruit yield and increase the kumquat trees’ overall health.
Fruit & Harvesting
Meiwa Kumquats are large and well-known for their more rounded than oval shape and their notably sweet, edible rind and flesh that has minimal seeds. They have a somewhat thick, golden-orange, smooth oily rind that gives off an amazing citrus fragrance. The flesh is not overly juicy but is sweet and flavorful. Meiwa or Sweet Kumquats are available in late winter to early spring.
Kumquats are entirely edible. You can pop the entire fruit (the rind, flesh including the few soft seeds) in your mouth to enjoy the perfect sweet-tart flavor the Meiwa kumquat offers.
Because of its versatility, Kumquats can be used for both sweet and savory dishes and beverages. It is best eaten fresh but can also be juiced or used as an ingredient for making desserts and drinks. You can pair it with shellfish, pork, apples, and vanilla ice cream.
You can also use kumquats as garnishings or decorative toppings just like when they were first introduced to North America and used entirely as ornamental citrus fruits.
Kumquats are in season from November to March. It takes about a month for the fruit to turn from green to orange and are best when firm and golden-orange in color.
When harvesting the Meiwa Kumquat tree look for a fruit that is brilliantly orange, plump and firm to the touch. Use sharp scissors or knife to snip the fruit from the tree to avoid damaging the branch.
Once harvested, you can eat the fruit fresh or it can last stored in a fridge for approximately 2 weeks.
If the yield is more than what you can eat or give away, you can always make it into a delicious marmalade.
Meiwa Kumquats trees can grow up to 4’-8’ when planted in the ground, but just like other citrus trees, when planted in a pot, they tend to stay smaller. Kumquats usually bloom in summer and yields fruit in winter. It needs heat for the fruit to sweeten and should be protected when the temperature dips below 10°F.
Pests and Diseases
There are some citrus tree diseases and insect problems you have to look out for when growing Kumquat trees.
Scales, spider mites and mealybugs are common and attention must be given when moving your kumquat tree inside the house in late summer or early fall. You can spray neem oil two times a week throughout winter to prevent infestation.
Overwatering can cause root rot or attract fungus. These two can cause leaves to become moldy, have blacked veins and fruits to have yellow-brown spots. Copper fungicide is an effective treatment for common fungus problems while adequate soil drainage can prevent root rot.
Citrus scab is a fungal disease that leaves scab lesions on fruits. Infected fruits will have wart-like outgrowths that would make them look distorted. Copper fungicide spray is best to control this disease.
Greasy Spot causes leaves to drop off the kumquat tree. When there is defoliation, fruit production decreases and makes the tree more susceptible to cold damage and other pest infestations. Copper fungicide and horticultural oils are needed to eliminate greasy spot.
Nutritional deficiencies like Nitrogen, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron deficiency are common to fruit trees and they cause leaf drop or defoliation leading to tree decline. To prevent this problem, use citrus fertilizers on your Kumquat trees to keep it healthy and properly fed. You can purchase citrus fertilizers from your local gardening store or the nursery where you got your dwarf citrus tree.
How big will a dwarf kumquat tree get?
A dwarf Kumquat tree can be pruned once or twice per year to maintain the tree at a small size of 4 to 5 feet tall. If left un-trimmed, a Dwarf Kumquat tree will grow to about 10 to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide.
Are kumquats just little oranges?
No. The kumquat is its own variety of citrus and is not the same as an orange, lime or lemon. The fruit is eaten whole and has a sweet rind and a sour juice, but very little juice is contained in each fruit. Some people do use kumquats to flavor cold drinks like iced tea, and the juice is used to sprinkle on seafood such as cooked fish or shrimp. However, the kumquat is an entirely different fruit from an orange, lime or lemon.
Is it bad if your dog eats a kumquat?
Kumquats are non-toxic and can be eaten by both humans and dogs. However, Kumquats do contain magnesium, which can have a laxative effect at extremely high amounts of the fruit. Also Kumquats contain Vitamin C, which is a mild type of citric acid, and this can cause discomfort for dogs if large amounts of the fruit is consumed quickly.
Are kumquats good for you?
Kumquat fruits contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They Contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, and also have minerals such as calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.
Besides eating them whole, what else can you do with a kumquat?
Kumquats can be sliced and added to salads, marinades, ice cream, and stews. You can use kumquats to make marmalade, fruit salads, and infused vodka for martinis or other drinks. Kumquats also pair well with chicken, fish, and duck.
What vitamins and minerals do kumquats contain?
Kumquats have vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B, and thiamin, niacin, pyridoxine, folates, pantothenic acid, carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.
What makes a Meiwa kumquat different?
Meiwa kumquats are sweeter overall than normal kumquats. The fruit is also a more round shape, as opposed to the oval shape of a regular kumquat. Both are eaten whole.
How do you eat a Kumquat?
Kumquats are the smallest citrus fruit. They have sweet skin and tart pulp. You can eat them whole by cutting off the stem tip of the fruit, squeezing the tart juice out, and eating the sweet rind. You can also eat the fruit whole if you like the tart juice as well. They have small edible seeds. Kumquats can also be made into marmalade, sliced for salads, and used in many dishes and desserts.
Do kumquats taste like an orange?
Kumquats have an edible, sweet skin and a tart, tangy juice and pulp. The overall flavor when eating an entire fruit is a balanced, sweet-tart flavor. They taste similar to a tangerine and the tart juice can be squeezed out for those who only prefer the sweet rind.
What type of kumquat has the sweetest flavor?
The Meiwa Sweet Kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia) has the sweetest tasting flesh, juice, and skin. Since most kumquats have sweet skins and tart juice, the Meiwa Sweet Kumquat stands out because the inside is also sweet tasting.