Bigger isn’t always necessarily better when it comes to fruits. Bite-sized fruits can also offer interesting flavors! One such fruit is the delightfully contradictory fruit, the kumquat.
What are Kumquats?
Kumquats are a type of small citrus fruit that originates from South Asia. Its trees bear oval-shaped fruits that are comparable in size to large olives. Its Chinese name roughly translates as “golden orange.” Standard sized trees can grow between 8 to 15 feet high, but you can find dwarf kumquat trees for sale in nurseries that come in more manageable sizes. Kumquat tree leaves have a dark glossy green color, while the flowers are white, similar to its other citrus cousins. It is generally in season from November to March and can produce hundreds or even thousands of fruit every year, depending on the size of the tree.
What makes it different?
While it shares similarities to the orange, looking like a smaller, oval-shaped version of its citrus cousin, kumquats offer a different eating experience. Oranges are typically eaten out of hand by peeling off the rind to get to the sweet and juicy flesh. For Kumquats, you eat it whole. Its peel is the sweetest part of the fruit while the fleshy part is sour. If you’re not a fan of the tangy taste of the fleshy part, you can nibble on one end of the fruit and squeeze off its juice and seeds and you’re left with the delightfully sweet rind.
Which kind of kumquat tree should I get?
If you’re sold on the idea of growing a kumquat tree but not sure which kind to get, then there are 2 varieties we can recommend to you. It depends on how you plan to use the fruits. For cooking and making jams, you should ask your preferred nursery if they have Nagami kumquat trees for sale. Nagami kumquats, or Fortunella margarita, are the more commonly grown type of kumquats and produce oval-shaped fruits. It’s comparatively larger in tree and leaf size to other kumquat varieties and is also known as a sour kumquat. This is a cold-hardy tree that needs full sunlight to thrive and generally flowers in the summer and fruits around winter.
For eating out of hand, you may want to look into getting a sweet kumquat tree. Meiwa kumquats, or Fortunella crassifiola, have a rounder fruit that has a lower seed content. Some fruits are entirely seedless making it great for munching on directly. It has a thicker rind compared to nagami kumquats, making it comparatively sweeter.
Both types of kumquat trees are semi-dormant during winter, making them quite cold-hardy, though Nagamis are slightly more so. Kumquat tree care is fairly straight forward. They require full sun to thrive. Make sure to keep the soil moist around the young trees, but not to the extent of making it soggy. Pay particular attention to it during dry seasons to ensure its health. You can use a layer of mulch to help water retention but make sure to pull any mulch back several inches from the tree base, to avoid root rot.