The quince has always been considered the favorite fruit of the gods and was often referred to in mythology as the true apple of paradise, which was sometimes offered for certain ceremonies on altars. The health-promoting ingredients of the fruit helped many sick people back on their feet. They have been shown to be extremely effective for gout or poorly healing ulcers. As a symbolic symbol, the quince stood for luck, beauty, persistence and fertility in the past. Her reputation preceded her by a long way, so that she also significantly influenced the imagination and creativity of so many artists. Who does not know the famous painting by Vincent van Gogh “Still Life with Quinces” or its mention in Wilhelm Busch’s “Natural History Alphabet”?


Unfortunately, in the recent past, the aromatic fruits have led an almost forgotten existence. Many people only knew her from the notes of their grandparents, who passed down their popular recipes for quince jelly for generations. Fortunately, the quince trees are increasingly found in the gardens again these days. They delight the viewer again and again with their fragrant flowers and fruits.

Origin of the quince tree

The quince tree is native to the warm regions of the Mediterranean as well as Asia and northern Persia. Various wild forms come from Turkestan or Transcaucasia. The Greeks and Romans already knew about the healing power of fruits, which resemble a mixture of apple and pear, and sacrificed them to placate the gods. By the way, the Portuguese name of the quince can also be used to derive its purpose and naming. The Portuguese word “Marmelo” translates as quince and the Greek word “Melimelon” translates into German “honey apple”, suggesting a suitable description of the yellow delicacies. When spring begins, the white-flowering trees transform the garden into a fascinating sea of ​​flowers. In late summer, the distinctive pale yellow fruits form,

External characteristics and description

The quince tree belongs to the rose family and forms tall and wide trees. It is characterized by distinctive whole-edged leaves that can be up to 10 centimeters long and have a rather oval to rounded appearance. Young shoots and leaves have woolly, white hairs with a felty character. In contrast, fully developed leaves are hairy only on the underside and appear rather bare on the upper side. The petiole has a size of at least 2 centimeters and is adorned with 6 to 12 millimeter long stipules. If the quince tree is in the blooming season, then delicately fragrant flowers with pink or white colored petals form. The quince tree only blooms between May and June and does not need a second tree for successful pollination, as it is considered self-fertile.

Location and development

If you want to integrate a quince tree into your horticultural environment, you should plan a lot of space. The wood can reach a height of 8 meters and, due to its bulbous and shrub-like growth, it can also be considerably wider. But the friendship with nature can also last a very long time. The fruit-giving tree can keep up with a human life for a few years and, with good care, can sometimes live to be 50 years old. True to the motto: “What takes a long time is good” you need a little patience before the first fruits can be harvested. The quince tree does not reward its owner with a high-yielding harvest until after four years at the earliest. During this time, you can calmly act supportively on the plant.

  • Planting either in autumn or spring,
  • plan sufficient planting distance to buildings,
  • sunny location preferred,
  • loves nutrient-rich and humus-rich, medium-heavy soil,
  • sufficient soil moisture, but avoid waterlogging,
  • sheltered location,
  • Cut back in spring.

Tips for planting time

Once the quince tree has grown, it is considered extremely undemanding in terms of care. But before that can happen, it must first be properly planted in accordance with all the rules of gardening skills.

The ideal time of year for annual planting is spring. When replanting a tree, the planting hole should be measured at the root ball and at least three times as large as this. The planting distance between the individual rows should be about 5 meters. Ideally, the planting hole should be filled with some humus or a drainage system made of sand and clay, which acts like a kind of water reservoir, should be installed in the ground. Very heavy soils can also be upgraded with peat. The root ball should not look out of the planting hole, but should be planted deep in the ground. Now the planting hole has to be filled again with mother earth and compacted. Now just water abundantly – done.

A garden fleece, which is placed around the young quince tree, is suitable as protection against excessive frosts in winter. Quinces get along perfectly with other trees or plants in the immediate vicinity, so that they can be cultivated together with fruit trees as well as gooseberries or currants.

Care with a promise of success

If the young quince tree is provided with optimal soil when it is planted, it will get by for the next few weeks and months without additional fertilizers. As the tree grows vigorously, the nutrient requirements also increase. After about 3 years you can fertilize the plant for the first time. If you use commercial blue fertilizer for fertilization, it is essential to pay attention to the instructions for use, as this is an extremely high-dose concentrate.

After fertilization has taken place, good irrigation is essential. This ensures that the nutrient salts in the blue fertilizer can be optimally dissolved and that there is no damage to the roots due to over-fertilization. This would be fatal, as quince trees are considered to be sensitive shallow roots. Horn shavings or garden compost placed in the soil help the plant to bloom and support growth. If quince trees are assigned an optimal, sunny location in the garden, this circumstance also promotes wood ripeness. This serves as protection against frost, because temperatures below -25 degrees Celsius can cause serious damage to the tender fruit buds.

Proper cutting

The quince tree grows very slowly and therefore only rarely needs to be thinned out. However, occasionally cutting the thinner twigs and branches will make the growth more compact. Twigs and branches that grow wildly inwards or that cross each other in the interior are removed. It is ideal if a dry, warm day is chosen for pruning the plants. Wet, damp weather otherwise encourages the settlement of harmful spores, germs or fungi, which attack the plant and also weaken it. A thinning out of the treetop is only necessary if necessary. In old age, however, a clearing cut can serve to renew the fruit and give the quince tree new strength.

Harvest and processing

Quinces are a pome fruit, which is a tasty mixture of pear and apple. At the same time, the delicious fruits are extremely rich in vitamins A and C, fiber, iron, folic acid and potassium. Even some niggles, especially in the cold season, can be quickly brought under control thanks to the healing effect. You shouldn’t eat the quinces raw, however, as the appetizing exterior does not promise what is inside. In terms of taste, the pulp can be classified as rather hard, bitter and relatively woody due to the tannins it contains. The culinary delights of this fruit only come to the fore when cooking and the variety is amazing.

Delicious jellies, jams or aromatic dried fruit bring a piece of summer into your home kitchen in winter. The quince is considered a late fruit and is only harvested between September and October. If the weather conditions are good, the harvest time can extend well into November. You can tell whether a fruit is ready for harvest by the fascinating color change it performs. If the quince is greenish in the early stages, it turns a delightful yellow as it ripens. It is important that the harvest is completed before the first frosts. The fruits can freeze to death at an outside temperature of -2 ° C.

Undamaged fruits can be stored for up to eight weeks at an ideal temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. At a later point in time, the pulp begins to discolour and the intense taste aroma weakens.

Diseases and pests

Quince trees and their fruits are considered to be very resilient, but they are also not entirely resistant to certain diseases. Some pests also like to settle on them. Soil that is too moist with pathogenic waterlogging is the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and germs. Even when pruning plants, damp weather can cause diseases to spread. Aphids love the leaves of the quince and you can get hold of them by washing the leaves with mild soapy water. Dried or withered shoots then have to be cut back generously into the healthy wood. Far worse and more serious is the so-called fire blight, which draws attention to itself with black discolored shoot tips. Once this bacterial infection has spread, the tree can hardly be saved,

Conclusion The
fact that the quince tree once lived a shadowy existence is inconceivable when looking at this fascinating plant. It is all the nicer that the quince tree is increasingly establishing itself in our gardens and wonderfully complements the local fruit varieties such as apples, cherries or pears. It not only has some attractive features to offer from the outside, but it can also come up with culinary taste sensations. However, these only come to light when cooked.

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