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Oval Kumquat

Fortunella margarita - the dwarf orange

Oval Kumquat


Article number: 2193857


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Product information "Oval Kumquat"

Fortunella margarita, the dwarf orange

The oval kumquat inspires citrus growers with its small fruits, which can be eaten with the peel, its exuberant fruit set and its compact habit. This dwarf kumquat, as it is also called, is the most famous and most common of all kumquat varieties. Fortunella margarita is an ideal gift due to its full bloom in the summer and later a full set of fruits. This is how the kumquat tree is often used in China, the country of origin. A kumquat tree gift symbolises the best wishes for fertility and happiness. And really there are few citrus varieties that compare to the ornamental value of the oval kumquat.
Growth, flowers and fruits of Fortunella margarita
Fortunella margarita grows slowly; in containers it reaches a height between 50 cm and (rarely) 2 m high, but only after 10 years. The leathery, evergreen leaves are pointed at the tips and compared to other citrus varieties the kumquat’s shoots rarely have thorns. The flowers emerge late in the summer from the axillary buds of the last year's, long shoots. This can be explained simply by the fact that Fortunella margarita comes from a region in Southeast China that is cold in the winter and thus the plant wants a prolonged and distinct winter break. It is only after this dormancy phase that the flowers and fruits will appear. Later, the small, orange fruits hang lavishly on the kumquat tree, making the oval kumquat one of the most beautiful citrus varieties.
How is the oval kumquat fruit used?
The kumquats, in contrast to almost all other citrus varieties, can be eaten fresh and with the entire peel. And the combination of the peel and the fruit gives a very special interplay: the peel tastes broadly sweet, with a slightly bitter flavour, which is probably caused by the aromatic oils, and then the sour juice of the fruit comes into play – a very unique pleasure. Kumquats can be eaten fresh and they can be candied and dried. They can be added to fruit salads and other salads as well. Their use – also for decoration purposes – is almost unlimited because of the beautiful and exciting interplay of the peel and the pulp.
How are Fortunella margarita trees cared for and overwintered?
The oval kumquat likes cool and bright location for overwintering. A cold house at 2-10°C is ideal, but there should be enough light. Likewise, the kumquats depend on high humidity due to the climate of their areas of origin, otherwise leaf losses may occur. In the garden, on a balcony or terrace, the oval kumquat prefers a very warm spot in full sun; they can also be kept outside for a very long time, as they can sometimes endure a frost. In literature, a frost hardiness of down to -8°C is reported, but most likely only individual night frosts are meant. Kumquats will not survive in cold temperatures.
Another unique characteristic is that the oval kumquats have a tendency towards alternation due to their exuberant fruit set. After a few years, a rhythm can occur where they only bear fruit every second year. Of course you could intervene in good fruit-gardening and thin out the fruits/flowers in order to produce fruits every year, but honestly, the sight, yes, the enjoyment of a successful tree every two years is more important than the regular yield. But the preferences are different.
Origin and history
Fortunella margarita comes from Southeast China and has been cultivated there for ages. However, the kumquats arrived late to Europe, eventually with Robert Fortune, who smuggled them out of China for the East Indian society in the 19th century. Before 1790, however, they had already been described by the Portuguese botanist, Joao de Loureiro, as Citrus margarita. The botanical heroic fight, whether it was a citrus variety or a different species, oscillated back and forth, and in 1915, this was then scientifically decided by Walter Swingle, the first person to describe the fruit and also one of the most important fig researchers: Fortunella has been the nature of these plants, which was the name the plant hunter Robert Fortune had given the plants when he took them to Europe. Despite the decision for a different species, Fortunella can easily be crossed with other citrus varieties, and this is how many hybrids exist today, especially in fruit production.
Short description:
Growth: Evergreen, compact, pointed leaves, few thorns
Flowers: Small, pure white, flowers in the summer
Fruit. Gooseberry -sized, orange fruits, oval, edible peel, more like a berry
Use: Fresh for salads, as decoration, but also dried and candied
Winter hardiness/overwintering: Hardy down to -5°C or -8°C (but only short spring frosts); overwinter cool, 2 to 10°C, with plenty of light
  • Available April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
  • Use greenhouses/winter gardens, for containers, South- and West-facing walls, as a specimen plant
  • Hardiness place in an unheated room during the winter
  • Soil moist, dry, moderately heavy, light, neutral, slightly acidic
  • Location full sun
  • Flower Colour white
  • Leaf Colour green

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