Winter Garden Tips: Chaenomeles

ChaenomelesContrary to what you may think, many plants and shrubs bloom in the winter. Let me introduce you to Chaenomeles, which gardeners often refer to as “flowering quince.” Chaenomeles are grown ornamentally for their flowers, not for their fruits. These plants are also known as “Japanese quince”or “japonica.”

Chaenomeles is a spiny shrub from the family of Rosaceae which grows, 1–3 m tall. There are 3 varieties native to Japan, China, Bhutan, and Burma. The flowers are 3–4.5 cm diameter, with five petals, and are usually bright orange-red, but can be white or pink. The flowering occurs in late winter The fruit is a pome with five carpels.

Chaenomeles is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Brown-tail and the leaf-miner Bucculatrix pomifoliella.

Almost indestructible, flowering quince tolerates climate extremes and neglect. This deciduous thorny shrub can stretch up to 8 feet wide, makes great natural fencing, and puts on a big show of blossoms in winter. Plant in spring or fall.


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