How to Grow Loquat Trees and Get a TON of Fruit

Here in San Diego in zone 10B there is
a sneaky little plant that has made its way into ornamental landscaping all
around the city – so you can see it. And I have one in my front yard. So
let’s start “how to care for it”, we’re looking at the loquat today guys. Kevin Espiritu here from Epic Gardening
where it’s my goal to help you grow a greener thumb. Loquats, they
are related to the rose. They produce tons and tons
and tons of these fruits. They kind of taste like a tropical
peach, really juicy and delicious. You can dehydrate them and they’re
really not that hard to grow. So in today’s video we’re going to look
at the full range of care from sun to water to fertilizing to transplanting,
all the way down to pests. And if you stay, towards the end, I’m actually going to harvest and show
you how to prepare and dehydrate these as well as what they look like on
the inside. So first of all, if you want to grow loquat – I was
fortunate enough to actually move into my house – this was just here. So
I’ve managed it, I’ve pruned it, we’ll talk about that. But my friends at FastGrowingTrees
have also sent one out and it’s come in typical FastGrowingTrees fashion,
absolutely amazing condition. And so if you’d like to
start your loquat adventure, I really highly recommend
FastGrowingTrees. They ship out fast and they ship out
quality at a price that’s pretty crazily low to be honest with you. So without
further ado, let’s hop into the video. Okay. If you’re going to be transplanting
a new loquat tree into the ground, and that’s what most of us are doing, it’s better to grab a healthy grafted
cultivar than to try to struggle and grow it from seed for the most part. But
you can certainly do that. If you are, what you’ll want to do is dig a hole,
maybe three, four inch, three, four feet, excuse me, in diameter, and
then maybe 12 to 18 inches down. Loosen that soil up and then match to
the soil line that’s in the planting pot or the planting bag. So I would unwrap
this, I would go ahead and sink it in, but I wouldn’t bury it too low
and I wouldn’t bury it too high. I would just match the soil surface,
give it a nice healthy water. And if you’d like, if you have issues
with rain, you’re not getting enough rain. Weirdly enough, I’m in San Diego zone
10B and it’s raining on me right now, which is very unusual. But you
may want to add some mulch. You can do it in a ring, don’t suffocate it and stack it up
right against the base of the tree, but give it a nice little mulch and
you’ll help keep that water and that soil moist. Let’s talk light,
temperature, humidity. So if you’re a fan of the
USDA hardiness zone system, then 8 to10 is your favorable range. Although with some creative planting
techniques you can push that zone a little lower or you can protect it and push that
zone a little bit higher. So sunwise, full sun to part shade. This
is my south facing front yard, so this is way south, it’s going
to get hit by the sun all the time. And so sometimes one of the major issues
you’ll get is a crispiness at the tip. What you’ll want to do to prevent that
is of course to water a little bit more. And potentially if you have planned
where you plant your loquat tree out, plant it in an area that may protect it
from the absolute brightest and hottest parts of the day. Temperature wise, 45 to 85 degrees is its
healthy, happy zone. Although I would say really the optimal
zone would be somewhere around like 65 to 75 degrees. And then
from there humidity, it’s a tropical so it can handle high
humidity. In fact, here in San Diego, in California, it actually is surviving and doing
pretty well in humidity that’s lower than what it’s used to. Although there
are so many cultivars of loquat, 800 plus I think
something crazy like that, that there are definitely some cultivars
that do well in lower humidity. By the way, if you’re thinking,
oh man, I’m in zone six Kevin, I can’t grow this plant.
Well you still can. As long as your temps don’t
consistently get below 30, it’ll do okay to about 30ish. But if it stays there for too long, your flowers and your
fruits just won’t form. So effectively your loquat has now become
an ornamental tree. And to be honest, there are probably better
looking ornamental trees. So you may not want to
cultivate it as an ornamental. If you get below 10 degrees, then you’re really going to
cause permanent damage to
the plant. And so, I mean, you might grow it in a container,
take it in, things like that. Let’s talk watering.
Now, in a perfect world, it’s going to get 25 to 40
inches of water per year. If you’re in a region that naturally your
climate provides that much, well then, you’re good to go. I’m not, despite the fact that it’s
actually raining on me right now. So what I’ll do to counteract that is
I’ll strategically water it at the times when it needs it most. So the two times it needs it most
are when these little fruits here, which are almost ripe actually,
and we’ll get to that in a second. But when these little fruits are starting
to swell up and really put on some size, I will increase the
watering then for sure. And if the temps go above
90-95 and it starts to suffer, then I’ll also increase the watering then. Otherwise I’m watering it not too
often. I’m letting the spring play out. Summer, I will water and then fall.
Again this is a fall flowering tree, which we’ll get to in a second. I will
also increase the watering a little bit. You don’t have to worry too much, provided your climate just
gets the rain that it needs. Let’s talk now about soil for loquats. It’s pretty tolerant to a bunch
of different soil conditions. It can do well in slightly alkaline.
It can do well in slightly acidic soil. This one, this is my native soil in my
front yard. I moved in, like I said, with this on the property. And this is relatively clay soil and
so it clearly can do well once it’s established. I’m curious as to what they did when
they first planted this in.But if I was going to grow it in a
container, I would give it a, I would probably give it like a
mix of potting soil and top soil. It would do perfectly fine. Again, this is not the pickiest plant
when it comes to soil. By the way, as far as fertilizing goes, I’ve
actually never fertilized this plant. Of course it’s really well
established, but if you were to, you would use just an all
purpose, general tree fertilizer, citrus fertilizer or something like
that over the fruiting and the flowering phases. But honestly, like I said, I’ve never ever fertilized and there’s
quite a bit of fruit on this plant. By the way, guys, sorry for all the noise. There’s literally a manhunt going on
right now and I don’t understand why there’s so much noise, so I’m sorry. This is just the peril of
filming in an urban environment. As far as diseases and pests for the
humble loquat tree – disease wise, there’s some blights you can run into, as long as you keep airflow good with
some creative and proper pruning, which we’ll get into, you’re
going to be fine on that. Pests, scale can be an issue, although I will say the bigger pests
end up being more of a problem. So when the fruit is nice and ripe, the birds are going to come through and
chirp, chirp, chirp, and chomp away. I’ve provided a bird feeder that I keep
usually nice and full so that hopefully they opt for that instead.
I’ve had squirrels come in, crawl up the tree and start munching away
and then actually recently people have become a problem. I had a
young guy, I don’t know, maybe he was something was going
on with him, but he walked in, opens my gate and just ripped a
bunch of loquat off of my tree. Which look, I, I like to give it out. There’s more than I can ever use, but without asking was just a
little – crossed my barrier. And so perks of living in
an urban environment again. So those are the things you
could potentially run into. Hopefully you don’t have to deal
with the human intruders. But yeah, just keep an eye out
for those larger pests. For pruning loquats you can be
pretty harsh with with the plant, as long as you don’t do it when it’s
setting its flowers or it’s fruiting. So I would say anytime after
the summer heat starts to peak. Most of the fruit is set. You’ve
harvested it, you’ve eaten it. Just time to prune. I’ve done a pretty rigorous pruning
job on this last year and actually I attribute most of the fruit you’re
seeing, this is a pretty heavy set, to that pruning that I did last year.
So you can see new growth coming up top, which is great, but I pruned it to shape, so I didn’t want it to
shade out all my other beds. So that was a big consideration for me. But I also pruned it to remove wasteful
branches like branches that were coming out from the bottom. I don’t want those that’s going to just
cause a sort of a shrub look that I don’t want. I took out any crisscrossing branches
in the middle just to increase the air flow and stave off some of
those humidity problems. So I would say as long as you don’t go
more than two thirds of the plant and, you know, as long as you
don’t take off more than that, you’re going to be completely
fine for pruning. Okay. The part you have all
probably been waiting for, how do you know when they’re ripe?
How do you know when they fruit? When they flower. So
loquats are interesting. They are a fall flowering plant so
after the heat of the summer starts to dissipate, the flowers start to
set and they set on new growth. So growing tips that are no older
than about six months or so. And as you can see they form in clusters. Sometimes there can be hundreds
of clusters on the panicles, which are basically just
clusters of flowers. Of course that does not manifest in
hundreds of fruit, usually get around, I don’t know, maybe like
6 to 12 or so per cluster. And as far as ripeness goes, the
larger ones tend to be riper. The ones that are slightly squishy to
the touch – this one is not yet – tend to be riper. And also the ones that
have a bit more of a deep, rich or orangy color are
generally the ones that are ripe. So let’s find one that’s ripe. And the thing about loquats is mostly
they ripen across the whole tree at the same time, which means you have a flush of the fruit
and they don’t store that well fresh. They don’t keep that long fresh.
And so you either have to eat them, turn them into jams or jellies or do
what we’re going to do in a second and dehydrate them, which is the
little bonus for this video. So let’s find one that’s ripe and I just
want to show you what they look like on the inside. So this one’s nice and large, it’s a little squishy to the touch
and it came off really easily. And so this is good. They have a little
bit of a fuzz on them, so you may, if you want to eat it fresh, you may
want to just kind of wipe that off. You can see the color even tends to
darken a little bit as you wipe that fuzz off. But let’s take this inside. We’ll do a cross section of it
so you can see what’s inside. Let’s open one of these
up and let me show you. What I like to do is I’m preparing
a loquat for dehydrating, so I like to slice them
in half just like that. And we can see most of
the time there’s one seed, two seeds or three seeds – it’s one
to three. So here’s what I like to do. You’ve got your flesh, as you
can see, it’s nice and juicy. It’s already sort of spilling around.
And if I’m going to dehydrate, I like to take this little brown tip
right here and I kind of pull that, which removes some of this interior
flesh that can sometimes not be the most delicious part of it. And we’ll
do the same thing over here, we’ll remove that and boom,
now we are ready to dehydrate. I like to dehydrate around 10 to 12
hours at 115 degrees and you end up with these. These are dehydrated loquats that I have
kind of picked up from my tree outside as well as other areas around
my city because like I said, it’s a popular landscaping plant.
So you can see the compression. This is one half and this
is one half and so they, they really shrink down and they taste
even better in my opinion as they’re dehydrated. When they’re dehydrated you get that fruit leather kind of
vibe to them and it’s like a really concentrated level of sweetness and a
little tropical kick. Like I said, fresh, they taste a little bit like a tropical
peach is my best way of describing. If you have a better way drop it
in the comments down below. Guys, loquat is underrated, a
really underrated tree. Highly productive for relatively
little effort. So if you’re interested, go ahead and grow one. Like I said, my friends at FastGrowingTrees
ship out some amazing ones. So drop into the comments or under the
video description if you want to link to do that. And until next time,
cultivate that Like button, subscribe. I’m going to feast on these.
Mmm, so good. One little tip. Put those little silica desiccant
packets in there if you’re dehydrating. These guys saves you a world of hurt.
But I’m going to keep munching on these. I’ll see you guys in the next video. Keep on growing.

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0 thoughts on “How to Grow Loquat Trees and Get a TON of Fruit

  1. Considering saving all of my loquat seeds from this year's harvest and selling them on my shop – thoughts?

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