40 Eriobotrya japonicaCommon Names: Japanese plum, loquat Family: Rosaceae (rose Family)
This beautiful little evergreen tree has everything going for it: beautiful foliage, fragrant flowers, delicious fruit and it is easy to grow! The loquat grows to about 20 ft (6.1 m) assuming a rounded form with upward pointing branches. The large leaves are about 10 in (7.6 cm) long and are a deeply textured dark green on top, while the bottom surface is light green and slightly fuzzy. New foliage on some specimens is an attractive rusty red. Deliciously scented, furry looking white flowers grow in terminal clusters in late fall. They are followed by small, edible yellow fruits in spring.
Loquats, Eriobotrya japonica , are native to China and Japan. They are popularly grown as ornamentals in the southeastern and western parts of the United States. In frost-free areas, they are also grown for their delicious fruit.
CultureLight: Full sun for best form and fruit. Can also be grown in shady areas, but flowering will be reduced. Moisture: Water regularly when young. Needs good drainage and will tolerate alkaline soil. Once established, is drought resistant. Adequate moisture and mulch will keep loquats looking their best and increase fruit yield. Hardiness: USDA Zones 7 - 10. Fruit and flowers are destroyed by low temperatures at about 26 to 28ºF (-3.3 to -2.2ºC). In Florida, the foliage will withstand temperatures to 15ºF (-9.4ºC) for short periods of time. Propagation: From seed. If you are growing the tree for fruit, start with a grafted variety from a nursery.
Use loquat as a specimen plant and as a shade tree for the patio or terrace. It's easy to grow, practically maintenance free, and does well in containers. It can be espaliered. If you are growing the tree primarily for fruit, choose a variety selected for your area because varieties differ by ripening time, skin color, sweetness and tartness.
Loquat is one of the most talented trees around! Loquat fruit is a tasty treat that can be enjoyed fresh, dried or in jams and preserves. Be forewarned about the quantities of fallen ripe fruit that attract bees and wasps - don't plant this tree too close to swimming pools, parking areas, patios and outdoor living areas.
Fire blight (a bacterial infection) is a problem in humid areas. If scorched-looking leaves appear, remove those limbs with sterile equipment and burn.
Steve Christman 9/17/96; updated 2/4/98, 8/15/99, 3/20/00, 4/11/04