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Lubera stops plant deliveries to the UK
Due to Brexit, we are not able to deliver to the UK. We are working on a solution on how we can continue to bring a wide range of Lubera plants to the UK and directly to our customers' homes in the future. However, such a solution will not be available before 2022 or 2023.

Kumquats

Kumquats Lubera

What is the main reason to buy kumquats? Clearly, it is the view of the fully covered trees, with hundreds of small, plum-sized, orange fruits and the longing for holistic enjoyment, when biting into the unpeeled, juicy, aromatic kumquats!

   
 
Kucle

Fortunella margarita x Citrus clementina - The kumquat-clementinie

£57.40 *

Kumquat 'Obovata'

Fortunella jap. 'Obovata' - The Giant Kumquat

£38.40 *

Mini Kumquat

Fortunella hindsii

£57.40 *

Oval Kumquat

Fortunella margarita - the dwarf orange

From £28.90 *

   
 

More information about kumquats

 

Thanks to their fertility and eating experience, they are a popular plant for giving as a gift, not only here but also in their homeland China. With kumquats, you are not just giving a thing, not just a tree, but the prospect of fertility, health and enjoyment. One can, at the right occasion, not only express something with and through flowers, but also with plants and fruits. All in all, kumquats are among the simpler, more adaptable citrus plants, which can also be easily cultivated and overwintered in almost any home.

 
 

 

Good reasons to buy kumquat plants

 

There are many good reasons to buy a kumquat. The grafted plants are robust; they have a nice compact growth, but remain smaller overall than, say, cultivated lemons. Their fertility is legendary but requires a very warm place. On the other hand, kumquat plants are less of a headache as they are somewhat hardier in the winter, but also more resistant to dry indoor air. In rooms that are not quite as warm - such as offices - a kumquat plant can overwinter in a bright place. 

Here in the Lubera® Garden Shop, we offer you an interesting selection of beautiful kumquat plants. The Lubera team will also be happy to advise you which variety is right for you. 

 

The name

 

The name kumquat was taken over from the Chinese language and means in Mandarin as much as "orange", but also "gold" in a second, older meaning. Kumquat is thus a little tree, which bears gold fruit. This double meaning alone shows the high esteem it and its fruits have in their homeland.

 

Varieties

 

The best selling fruits and/or plants are Fortunella margarita, the oval Kumquats. They offer the typical eating experience of their kind: the sweetness of the peel, coupled with a hint of bitterness that comes from essential oils in the peel, followed by the refreshing and sour taste explosion of the pulp. The plants of the other botanical subspecies, Fortunella japonica, are mostly round, there are slightly less essential oils in the skin and also the juice is less acidic. So, all in all, a rounder, less exciting, but for fruit lovers more inclined to sweetness, a more favourable taste experience. Finally, there is Fortunella hindsii, the Hong Kong kumquat, which has even more compact growth and is especially appreciated by bonsai lovers. Although the kumquat is usually classified in a different genus than the other citrus fruits, the Fortunella, they crossbreed easily and freely with all kinds of citrus fruits. Worth mentioning here is especially the calamondin, the best citrus variety for indoor cultivation, which was created by crossing the kumqaut and mandarin. Also, the kucle, a kind of larger-fruited kumquat, with long fruits remaining on the tree, is the result of a crossing with the clementine. Furthermore, there are a number of hybrid varieties that are the result of crossing with other citrus fruits: limequat (kumquat x lime), orangequat (crossing mandarin x kumquat, as well as calmondin), lemonquat (crossing lemon x kumquat) and so on. The variety of citrus fruits is almost immeasurable.

 

Botany and origin of the botanical name Fortunella

 

Kumquat plants originate from southern China, but only reached Europe in the 19th century. Responsible for this was above all the English adventurer and plant hunter Robert Fortune, who also - on behalf of the English East India Society - smuggled valuable tea plants from China (to India). It was then obvious for the botanist Walter Swingle, who created a large-scale citrus system at the beginning of the 20th century, to honour the plant hunter and smuggler with the generic name Fortunella spp. This is still the case today, probably out of respect for the two great botanists Swingle and Fortune, although there is every reason to believe that kumquat can also be classified as citrus (that would be the 'Citrus japonica'), with which they can be crossed almost at will (see the last section).

 

Flowering and growth of the kumquat plants

 

Kumquat trees are characterised by a moderate to weak, sometimes even compact growth. This is certainly also due to their oversized fertility. If almost every leaf axil produces a flower and then later a fruit, then such a plant cannot grow at will. After 10 years and more, a kumquat can reach 1-2 m, in the long run more is possible, but probably not in a container, but only planted out in southern countries. Because of the popularity of the kumquat fruits for fresh consumption, but also in processing and cocktail glasses, there are also an extensive plantations. In our climate, the flowers often appear when the trees are still covered with perennial fruit, which may be one of the reasons why kumquat plants tend to age (see below: 'Take a break').

 

Where do kumquat plants come from and on which rootstock are they grafted?

 

We buy our kumquat plants in Italy from specialised nurseries. Our plant manager Robert Maierhofer visits the producers and individually marks the trees, which he would like to purchase for you, our customers, in the spring and we start selling the plants starting in April. The kumquat, like all our other citrus trees, are all grafted, i.e. they are placed on a root or rootstock that leads to greater fertility and compact growth. Poncirus trifoliata, the absolutely hardy citrus species, is mostly used (also for the kumquat). This is another reason why our kumquat plants are also suitable for cultivation in northern gardens and terraces.

 

How do you eat a kumquat fruit?

 

In its entirety! With skin and hair, so to speak. Where would you be if you had to peel the small, berry to plum-sized orange fruit! But the convenience is not the main reason for the whole taste, it is the special taste that comes from the combination of peel and pulp: acidity, a pinch of spice and bitterness (coming from the essential oils) and then the sour juice, all in the mouth, chewing and enjoying, mixed. Finally, also the biting experience, the texture so to speak: first, the resistance of the skin and then suddenly the teeth penetrate the soft flesh of the fruit! This is also part of the overall experience. Some fruit connoisseurs roll the fruit between the palms of their hands with pleasure before eating it. In doing so, a part of the essential oils is released from the skin, which makes the fruit itself even more pleasurable. The reason for rolling the fruit between the palms is not, however, to get rid of some of the bitter oils before eating.

 

Watering and fertilising

 

The usual treatment of citrus trees is appropriate here:

  • Do not water until the top third of the pot ball has dried out.
  • When watering, pour properly, just like it rains in the south!
  • Make sure that the freshly watered pots dry out and drain well by making large enough drainage holes and by placing the pots on wooden slats.
  • Every two weeks to every week, use Frutlilizer Instant Citrus Fertiliser, which can be easily mixed with rainwater, to ensure that the plant is sufficiently nourished between May and August.
  • Reduce fertilisation in September and avoid fertilisation from the beginning of October until the clearing out in April.

 

Winter hardiness and hibernation

 

Most kumquats can withstand a frost down to -5°C (some even speak of minus 8°C), but of course only for a short time, during a few nights. This also allows them to stay outside a little longer than other citrus plants. Otherwise, kumquat plants also need to be kept frost-free and cool, overwintering at 8 to 12°C. Some authors, including our citrus expert Dominik Grosse Holtforth, report that a warm overwintering in a room of 18°C is possible. However, you should make sure that there is enough light for the plant. Kumquats have also inherited this characteristic of hibernating well in warmer conditions, if necessary, from the calamondin, which is considered the best indoor citrus plant. Otherwise, however, the general rule for all citrus species is still this: overwinter in a cool and bright place, not in the living room. I would also recommend this as the silver bullet for the success of kumquats.

 

Take a break - kumquat plants alternate

 

Also, plants take a break, they rest, they prepare themselves in the winter, in the vegetation break, for further great deeds. Also, the kumquat loves such a winter break, in which they reduce their activity. But they take even more breaks if necessary: once they have carried a full load, with hundreds of fruits, which turn the whole tree into a total work of art, they are downright exhausted and take a break year in which they have less flowers and are fruitless. By the way, we also know this behaviour from northern plants like the apple and the pear. So don't despair if their richly laden kumquat tree doesn't repeat the fruit blessing of the year of purchase in the second year. This is not because of your wrong care and of course not at all because of the evil gardener who sold you the tree under a spell, but entirely and solely because of the needs of the plant. You can be sure that the year after that you will have a full harvest again.

 

Pruning?

 

Yes and no. Not really because they grow very compact and are constantly slowed down by the fruit yield. However, especially in the years with less fruit, it can happen that some branches "flee" and shoot out into the distance. These can then be cut back into shape when the citrus plants are cleared.

 

Repotting

 

Thanks to its compact growth, you only need to repot a kumquat every 3-4 years. If possible, choose the spring of the year in which fewer flowers are expected. The new container should be about 5 cm larger in diameter than the old plant home. Fill the empty space with freshly potted plant substrate, preferably with Fruitful Soil No. 1.

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