Citrus trees have a romance, with their shiny evergreen leaves and orange or yellow fruits hanging in profusion. However, many citrus tree varieties grow large and can only be grown in very warm areas. Thankfully, there is a solution. If you want to enjoy the beauty of a citrus tree and live in a cooler region, the Nagami Kumquat is an excellent plant to grow in a pot and it will give you the beauty of a tree filled with small orange fruits with a variety of uses.
The Nagami Kumquat is the hardiest of the citrus trees and will readily survive down to 150F without a problem. If you have a porch or other cool enclosed area that does not get too cold in winter, then it is easy to keep your Nagami Kumquat happy all year round and enjoy the pleasure of a beautiful citrus tree in your home.
Growing Nagami Kumquats
Kumquats can slowly grow to a maximum size of 15 feet, but they are typically much smaller, and the Nagami Kumquat is the smallest of all the kumquats. Its maximum height is usually no more than 6 feet, making it an excellent pot plant or even a bonsai tree. The tree is densely branched, with oval leaves and white flowers, typically in spring or early summer. The fruits that follow are born in profusion – a single tree may have thousands – and ripen in mid-winter, when the tree makes a spectacular display with its clusters of orange fruits nestling among the lush green leaves.
Citrus trees are mostly only hardy in zone 10 and perhaps the very warmest parts of zone 9, but the Kumquat tree is much tougher than other citrus. It will live with winter temperatures of 150F without a problem and also enjoy high summer temperatures of 1000F. It will grow in the hottest areas of the country but also in all of zone 8. So throughout the south and up the West coast this tree can be grown in the garden without any difficulty.
In cooler areas it is best to grow it in a pot and keep it outside in a sheltered, sunny spot for as much of the year as possible, moving it into a cool, well-lit location like an unheated porch just to keep it from being damaged by excess cold. It can also be grown in the house as long as it is not too hot and the spot you choose receives plenty of light.
Your Nagami Kumquat should be planted in a sunny location into soil that has been enriched with organic material (such as garden compost or rotted manure). It will grow in any soil that is well-drained. Dig a hole three times wider than the pot and plant your tree at the same depth that it was in the pot. Water the area thoroughly when you plant and water your new tree once a week during its first season. After that, water whenever the soil begins to become just a little dry, as Kumquat trees enjoy plenty of water.
Growing in a Pot
For planting into a pot use a clay pot rather than a plastic one, which will stay too wet. Make sure your pot has a drainage hole. It should be a little bigger than the pot your tree came in, but do not plant into a pot that is too large. The Nagami Kumquat is quite slow growing and will be happy in the same pot for several years. Use a regular potting soil, preferably one for outdoor pots.
Water the tree in its existing pot thoroughly the day before planting. After you finish planting in the new pot, water the whole pot until excess water escapes through the drain hole. Let the soil begin to dry a little before watering again and water thoroughly each time you water. Special citrus fertilizers are available and these are the best choice for feeding your Kumquat tree during the growing season. Pruning is not required except to maintain a particular shape on your tree.
History and Origins of the Nagami Kumquat
Citrus fruits are a diverse group and botanists disagree on how they should be grouped. Kumquats used to be seen as near-relatives of true citrus and called Fortunella. However, now they are grouped with other citrus as Citrus japonica. The Nagami Kumquat is also sometimes called the Oval Kumquat. This kumquat is eaten whole, skin and all because the main sweetness is in the skin, not the flesh, which is rather tart. The combination of sweet and sour makes for a very refreshing and addictive experience. Besides being eaten raw, the fruit is usually turned into marmalades or jellies, or cooked in sugar syrup and served with ice-cream. Preserved in spiced syrup they make an excellent sweet pickle. They can also be made into pies and even placed in a bottle of vodka to make a delicious liqueur.
Buying Nagami Kumquats at The Tree Center
The Nagami Kumquat is a special plant that can only be grown by taking stem pieces from correctly identified plants and grafting them on to the roots of citrus seedlings. This plant cannot be grown from seed, so beware of cheaper seedling trees that will not be the true plant and will only be a disappointment. Our Nagami Kumquat trees are true to the proper form of this plant and we constantly receive new plants so that our customers have healthy and fresh trees delivered to them. However this fascinating plant is in high demand and supplies are limited. So order now to avoid disappointment.