The Japanese loquat originally comes from China. In Japan, however, it was introduced very early on. With us, it also grows outdoors in areas with mild winters (such as along the Rhine) without any problems. Otherwise, the loquat is a pretty alternative for the balcony or terrace as a container plant. It grows in the form of a small tree with a woody and branched trunk. The long, narrow leaves are olive green in color and slightly arched. Young leaves have a fine down of short, white hairs.


  • botanischer Name: Eriobotrya japonica
  • other names: Japanese medlar, loquat, nispero, loquat
  • belongs to the genus of loquat and to the pome fruit family
  • Evergreen tree up to about 7 m tall
  • Leaves: Hairy true leaves, 12 to 30 cm long with a width of 2 to 9 cm
  • Flowers: terminal inflorescence in panicles with white, fragrant flowers
  • Flowering time: September to November
  • Fruits: ovoid, yellow or orange fruits, edible
  • evergreen


The small, evergreen bush or tree can also be cultivated outdoors in mild locations, such as along the Rhine. In the bucket, the Japanese loquat easily grows over two meters high and is available in specialist shops both as a bush and as a standard. A sunny to half-shady place in the garden or on the terrace, which protects the plant from rain and wind, has proven to be the ideal location. Eriobotrya japonica also grows extremely well in the conservatory all year round.

  • Light requirements: partial shade with occasional exposure to the sun
  • a few hours of morning or afternoon sun is optimal
  • airy
  • sheltered from the wind
  • rainproof
Note: Older potted plants should be tied down or otherwise fixed so that they do not tip over in strong gusts.


The Eriobotrya japonica prefers a sandy or loamy soil that contains both humus and granular parts that make the substrate loose and permeable to air. Calcareous soils are not a problem for the evergreen tree, but the pH should not be too acidic. A suitable mixture for the substrate consists of:

  • high-quality potting soil (60%) with coarse-grained parts (lava, expanded clay, gravel)
  • mature compost (20%)
  • Sand (20%)
  • alternatively high-quality potting soil
Note: High amounts of peat in potting soil are not part of the quality features!

watering and fertilizing

During the growth phase, the loquat is regularly and vigorously watered. The bale should always be slightly moist. It is best to keep watering until the water runs out of the hole in the ground. After a few minutes, the water left in the saucer is poured away. Because of the many large and woolly leaves, the Japanese loquat uses a lot of water in summer. Despite the high moisture requirement, the tree does not tolerate waterlogging. The robust plant tolerates occasional drought well, but severe or frequent drying out causes lasting damage to the plant. In this case, the Eriobotrya japonica usually gets brown leaves at first, which are then shed with a significant delay.

The nutrient requirement of a loquat is moderate to high. Between May and August, the Japanese medlar is supplied with additional nutrients every one to two weeks with high-quality container plant fertilizer via the irrigation water or fertilizer sticks.

outdoor planting

In slightly warmer areas, a healthy, vigorous loquat can be planted outdoors as an experiment in a sheltered spot. Wind-protected house walls that border a garage are particularly suitable. Before the Japanese loquat is planted, the soil should be prepared well.

  • Planting hole: at least three times the ball size, twice the depth
  • create drainage if the soil is heavy
  • first mix high-quality garden soil with a little sand
  • Fill the planting hole halfway with it
  • Place the root ball in a bucket of water for at least 10 minutes
  • put a damp root ball in the planting hole
  • fill with a mixture of garden soil, sand and hummus
  • hit the ground well
  • water lightly
  • shorten about 20 to 25% of the shoots

Trees like the loquat need a few weeks for their roots to spread well into the soil. During this time, the plant finds it difficult to absorb water from the surrounding area via the roots. In the worst case, the tree dries up in hot weather before it has really grown. To counteract this risk, evaporation from the leaves is curbed by cutting out about a third of the shoots. This cut is also called a plant cut.

Repotting of potted plants

Commercially, loquats are mostly cultivated in tiny pots. If you take your plant home with you, you should therefore repot it the first time (or plant it in the garden in a mild location).

  • use a sufficiently large bucket
  • always choose a bucket with a hole in the bottom so that the water can drain away
  • a coaster is also necessary for the apartment or the conservatory
  • in old age the loquat develops very large root balls
  • the bigger and heavier the bucket, the better
  • it is best to use terracotta buckets
  • Potting soil: high-quality potting soil with humus content and granules

A new, larger container is usually necessary for younger plants every year. The loquat roots quickly and vigorously through the earth. In old age, the Japanese loquat tends to brown at the leaf tips. This is usually caused by drought or salt damage. This can occur if the root ball has been too dry for a long time or if the fertilizer concentration is a little too high. Only one thing helps here: repot! With fresh soil and a larger pot, new storage capacities for water and nutrients are created. In addition, of course, you always have to repot when the soil is already well rooted.

  • Interval: every two to three years
  • annually for young plants
  • check the root ball annually
Tip: If you don’t have space for large pots, you can also just replace the substrate at regular intervals (annually). In any case, only use a very high-quality substrate. The money is well invested, because this soil remains stable for a long time and has optimal air and water circulation.

To cut

Regular cuts are not absolutely necessary for the Japanese loquat. Young Japanese medlars tolerate pruning in early spring. Older trees that are already bearing flowers and fruit are best removed after harvest. The exotic-looking trees are very tolerant of pruning. Shoots that are too long and disturb the overall picture or are only slightly branched should be cut back by half at most. It is always cut over a leaf base or eye that is directed outwards. In addition, all shoots that are dead or diseased are removed. If two branches cross, one of them is removed. Shoots that grow inwards weaken the tree and must therefore be pruned out as well. The flowers and later the fruits form at the tips of the branched branches. Sometimes the tips of the branches dry up after harvest,


Seeds are usually used to propagate the Japanese loquat. These seeds can be purchased from specialist retailers. If you already have a loquat in your garden, you can also remove the seeds directly from the fruit. Sowing is not difficult because the seeds are about the size of apple seeds. After removal from the fruit, the core must first be washed. Any sticking pulp quickly leads to the formation of mold, which must be avoided at all costs. Then the seeds are placed in finely crumbly substrate with a low nutrient content.

  • Time: all year round
  • Sowing depth: about 1 cm
  • Substrate: Equal parts moistened seed compost and sand
  • Germination time: 6 to 8 weeks
  • Germination temperature: not below 20 degrees
  • slightly cooler after germination
  • Location: bright but no direct sun
  • Keep soil slightly moist
  • to reduce evaporation, the pot can be covered with a glass plate or plastic bag
  • air occasionally

When the seedling has reached a size of eight to ten centimetres, it can be planted in a larger pot with humus-rich, sandy potting soil (compost-based).

Note: The germination time depends on the degree of freshness of the core. The older the kernel, the longer it takes for it to germinate. Sometimes it helps to put the core in lukewarm water overnight so that it can swell.


pot plants

The Japanese loquat is quite robust even in cool temperatures. Light, short-term frosts of around -8 degrees do not damage the tree, which is why – unlike other frost-sensitive potted plants – it only has to go into its winter quarters from around November. However, the plant is not reliably hardy in all locations. In the coming spring, the loquat, together with olives and oleanders, can be outside again early (from March). At the temperature in their winter quarters, the Japanese loquat is not very demanding. Whether in a cold house or in a cool room, the plant tolerates almost all conditions between 2 and 15 degrees, as long as it has enough light available.

  • down to about -8 degrees outdoors
  • then put into winter quarters
  • Temperature: between 2 and 15 degrees
  • light (since the plant does not lose its leaves)
  • still pour penetratively
  • Water requirement is slightly lower than in summer, but still significant
  • Avoid waterlogging and dryness at all costs

outdoor plants

Trees that have been planted outdoors should definitely be mulched well before the onset of winter to protect the roots. Bark mulch, dry or decaying leaves, or a thick layer of straw can be used to cover the soil layer. Young loquats can be wrapped with a light-colored (translucent) fleece, tied at the bottom with a string. In dry, frost-free periods, watering must not be forgotten.

diseases and pests

The robust loquat hardly has any problems with diseases or pests. Fungal infestation (scab) occasionally occurs only in very wet summers. This can be recognized by the fact that greenish spots appear on the leaves at first, which later turn brown and enlarge. In addition, black dots can be seen on the fruits and the leaves of the evergreen plant fall off. To protect against fungal attack, the loquat is best placed in a rain-protected place.

  • in the spring, aphids appear in very warm wintering places
  • Watch out for mealybugs and mealybugs in winter
  • cool, damp hibernation promotes (as with all rose plants) the formation of gray mold (Botrytis cineraria) on the flowers; if you don’t do anything about it, you only have to fear the loss of fruit in the following year
Note: Peeling of the bark is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

Apart from its high water requirement, the Japanese loquat is one of the easy-care plants. Some caution is required in winter. In mild areas you can safely plant the Japanese medlar in a sheltered spot (against wind and rain) in the garden. However, if there is a risk that the temperatures will fall below about -8 degrees, the tree must be placed in the conservatory or a bright, cool living room or conservatory for the winter.

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