What is a Loquat?
A loquat (Loquatuwa) is a tropical evergreen tree native to South America. It grows up to 50 feet tall and has thick, woody branches with several slender leaves at the top. Its bark is smooth and grayish brown; it lacks any hair or hairs. A single leaf may have six leaflets or no leaves at all, depending on its age. The fruit of the loquat is a small, round, green pod that contains seeds. These pods are usually eaten raw or cooked like other fruits.
The name “loquat” comes from the Aztec word luchuatl which means “to eat.” When Europeans first encountered these trees they called them “lobsters,” but eventually learned to call them “loquats” because they were eating them instead of catching lobsters!
How to Grow a Loquat Tree From Seed?
Seedlings of the loquat tree are easy to grow. They will reach maturity within three years. You can start your seedling indoors in a pot or outdoors in full sun. If you want to keep the tree indoors, just make sure that it gets enough light and water. The best time for planting seedlings is between March and June, although they’ll continue growing until October if given proper care.
To grow a loquat tree from seed, you’ll need to place the seeds in a pot filled with sterile potting soil. Press the seeds 1/4 an inch into the soil and water them until the soil is evenly damp.
Keep your seedling inside at a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time you won’t need to provide it with any direct sunlight, but once it begins growing place it in a well-lit area.
Once your seed has sprouted, you can either move it to a larger pot or place it outside in the ground. If you plan on keeping it in a pot, make sure it has enough room to grow.
If you plant it outside, it is best to give it some protection from wind and cold by placing a container over it. Keep the soil damp but not too wet and always provide plenty of sunlight. You should begin seeing signs of growth within a few weeks.
How to Care for a Loquat Tree?
Once your loquat tree is well-established, you’ll only need to water it every 1-3 days during the summer and once every 5-7 days during the winter. During hot temperatures give it a quick spray of water every day and if the leaves start to droop then you should water it more often. During the winter months, your plant should be watered less since it will naturally tend to rest.
Fertilize your tree during the spring and summer with a water-soluble fertilizer. Use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in potassium since this will help your tree grow strong and produce delicious fruit!
You should prune your tree in late winter or early spring before the buds begin to swell. Pruning loquat trees is fairly simple; just cut back any weak or dead branches and any crossing branches.
Try to prune back to a point where there are no more buds and always remove any suckers as they appear.
Loquat trees tend to grow fairly quickly; in three years your small tree could reach 8-10 feet tall! Be sure to give your tree enough room to grow so that it doesn’t cast too much shade on other plants around it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Metabolism of phenolic compounds during loquat fruit development by CK Ding, K Chachin, Y Ueda, Y Imahori… – Journal of agricultural …, 2001 – ACS Publications
Determination of foliar sampling conditions and standard leaf nutrient levels to assess mineral status of loquat tree by A Quiñones, E Soler, F Legaz – Journal of plant nutrition, 2013 – Taylor & Francis
Sucrose induces expression of the sorbitol‐6‐phosphate dehydrogenase gene in source leaves of loquat by Y Suzuki, AM Dandekar – Physiologia plantarum, 2014 – Wiley Online Library