How to Grow Kumquats (Plant care and Harvesting)

How to Grow Kumquats

The kumquat, as you may know, is a species native to the Asian continent, which has the advantage that it can be grown in large pots as an ornamental plant to decorate your garden, as well as on hectares or larger lands for marketing. Click here if you want to know more about kumquats.

Growing kumquat is not a difficult task, when you have the required knowledge and resources you can get a beautiful bush. 

Therefore, we will teach you what the planting process is and how we can apply it.

How to plant the kumquat tree

If you want to grow a beautiful kumquat tree, you have to follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Resources and seed selection.

If you want to plant an exotic tree, such as kumquat, in our garden or orchard, the first thing we will need is a medium-sized pot, approximately 1,5 ft (0,5 m) high and 12 in (30 cm) wide. Also, we must remember that the pot must have several holes in the bottom so that the water drains easily.

Then you carefully extract the seed from the fruit by cutting it in half, so we will avoid damaging the seed. For that, you must consider that the fruit must be well ripe since that suggests the seeds have developed completely.

The seeds of kumquat are very similar to those of common oranges and lemons; therefore, when extracting the seeds, if there are many with noticeable imperfections, such as a much smaller than usual, you have to discard them because these will not serve us.

After selecting the seeds, you must carefully remove the endocarp (a light layer that protects the seed) with a tweezer or even the nails.

  • Step 2: Germination.

Place the seeds in the center of a napkin and then cover them with another napkin. 

Already having the seeds wrapped, you will immerse them a little in water, and then we will squeeze the paper very well, ensuring you don’t break the napkin. 

After squeezing, we will proceed again to wrap the seeds, but this time with a small sheet of aluminum foil.

It is essential that the wrapping is well sealed so that moisture does not escape. Next, you must place your seeds wrapped under shade for 15 days, and after that, check how the germination process begins.

  • Step 3: Planting.

After the roots have sprouted, we can place them in our pot or substrate, which must have 50% organic matter or fertilizer and the other 50% soil.

We will open a small hole in the pot, put the seed with the root pointing down, place it at a minimum depth, cover it with a little more soil and fertilizer, and water it. Then, we will place it where the necessary sunlight reaches it.

For effective care, we must remember to water it constantly, at least twice daily.

The time we must wait to see the first seedlings of our kumquat is about 15 to 20 days, but everything will depend on the care given to the plant.

  • Step 4: Transplant.

After seeing that the seedlings have reached a height of about 12 inches (30 cm), we can proceed to transplant them. For that, we must open on land a hole of 8 x 8 x 8 in (20 cm deep, 20 cm wide, and 20 cm long).

The hole must have 70% soil, and the other 30% must be universal fertilizer or organic matter.

We place the plant in the center of the hole and cover it with a little more fertilizer. We finish this process by watering the kumquat with enough water.

Climate and temperature

It is a tree that persists in both cold and hot climates. It can withstand temperatures from 59 °F (15 °C) to 93°F (34 °C).

However, the climate in which it develops best is tropical, with temperatures from 66 to 79°F (19 – 26°C).

Soil conditions

We often have the best intentions to carefully cultivate our trees so they can bloom and give us fruits, but we completely ignore the conditions of the soils, and it is essential to emphasize that not all grounds are for all plants and not all plants are for all soils.

In the case of kumquat, the perfect soil to grow it is the humus, better known as black soil, which abounds in organic matter and nutrients for trees.


The kumquat tree is considered one of the smallest trees since its maximum growth is up to 6 meters high, so it is a perfect shrub for gardens, and with a moderate size, we can use it as an ornamental tree for interiors of houses.

Ornamental pruning: many people have this tree only for cosmetic reasons. Given its small size and the pleasant smell of its fruits and flowers, kumquat is an excellent option to decorate your room or garden.

Check the post about the proper care of a kumquat bonsai here.

And the correct way to prune it for purely ornamental reasons is to give it a balloon shape by cutting all the branches on the outside and leaving as the central axis three branches of the center.

If the desire for the tree is to grow less than its standard size, it will have to be pruned constantly in its youth stage, which goes from the beginning of its flowering stage until it turns one year old.

Maintenance pruning: This pruning should be applied religiously every year, preferably in early spring. 

It should be done intermittently in the year to avoid pests and diseases.

For the excellent development of kumquat, it is necessary to eliminate all the branches, dry leaves, and any anomaly that we see in the saplings of each shoot. 

Fertilizers and pest control

We must fertilize the seedlings or baby plants every 15 days. Also, we must remember that the kumquat grows slowly and can reach a height of 4 to 6 meters. Furthermore, its flowers are hermaphrodites, meaning the tree pollinates alone.

The fertilization of the kumquat plant will depend on where it is planted. Usually, if it is grown in gardens, you have to fertilize them once a month or every 40 days, but if they have grown in pots, you have to fertilize them constantly, every 15 or 20 days approximately.

One of the best fertilizers for this type of tree is potassium soap, a potassium-based product containing phosphorus and nitrogen, both of which provide great nutrients for kumquat. 

To eliminate pests and prevent diseases, we have to apply the appropriate phytosanitary treatments (substances prepared to avoid and eliminate pests in plants), sufficient irrigation, and good management of fertilizer.

Frequently asked questions

It is entirely normal if you have questions about the cultivation of this beautiful shrub, even more so if you are a beginner in agriculture or you only like small plants and shrubs for the garden of your house.

How many fruits does the kumquat bush produce?

Its production will always depend on the size and place where it is planted. For example, if it is grown in pots, its production may be between 30 to 45 fruits per shoot. On the other hand, if grown in larger spaces, it can bear fruit from 50 to 70 and even a more significant amount of fruits.

Can kumquat produce fruit if planted in pots?

The answer to this question is yes! Kumquat can undoubtedly be very productive when grown in pots. In fact, with proper care, the appearance of the bush tends to be more delicate and admirable in pots.

If the kumquat bush is planted in a pot, does it always have to be exposed to sunlight?

Although we mentioned it before, the kumquat tree is tropical and needs sunlight like any other plant, although you must control this sun exposure. In the case of potted plants, it is recommended that sun exposure is not continuous and is only limited to 5 to 7 hours.

How often should kumquat be pruned?

It can be pruned once a month to maintain its shape; however, this pruning would be more superficial. The deep pruning should be done in early spring.