Flowering Quince Propagation: How To Propagate A Flowering Quince Bush

Flowering Quince Propagation: How To Propagate A Flowering Quince Bush

By: Darcy Larum, Landscape Designer

It’s easy to fall in love with the deep red and orange, rose-like flowers of flowering quince. They can make a beautiful, unique hedge in zones 4-8. But a row of flowering quince shrubs can get quite pricey. Continue reading to learn how to propagate a flowering quince bush from cuttings, layering, or seed.

Flowering Quince Propagation

Native to China, Chaenomeles, or flowering quince, flowers on the previous year’s wood. Like most shrubs, it can be propagated by layering, cuttings, or seed. Asexual propagation (propagating quince from cuttings or layering) will produce plants that are exact replicas of the parent plant. Sexual propagation with the help of pollinators and flowering quince seeds produces plants that will vary.

Propagating Quince from Cuttings

To propagate flowering quince by cuttings, take 6- to 8-inch (15 to 20.5 cm.) cuttings from last year’s growth. Remove lower leaves, then dip the cuttings in water and rooting hormone.

Plant your cuttings in a mix of sphagnum peat and perlite, and water well. Growing cuttings in a hot, humid greenhouse or on top of a seedling heat mat will help them take root more quickly.

Flowering Quince Seeds

Flowering quince propagation by seed requires stratification. Stratification is a cooling period of the seed. In nature, winter provides this cooling period, but you can simulate it with your refrigerator.

Collect your quince seeds and place them in the fridge for 4 weeks to 3 months. Then remove the seeds from the cold and plant them as you would any seed.

Propagation of Flowering Quince by Layering

A little trickier, flowering quince can be propagated by layering. In spring, take a long flexible branch of quince. Dig a hole 3-6 inches (7.5 to 15 cm.) deep next to this branch. Gently bend the flexible branch down into this hole with the tip of the branch able to stick out of the soil.

Cut a slit in the part of the branch that will be under the soil and sprinkle with rooting hormone. Pin this part of the branch down in the hole with landscape pins and cover with soil. Be sure that the tip is sticking out of the soil.

When the branch has developed its own roots, it can be cut from the parent plant.

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Flowering Quince Plant Profile

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

The flowering quince is a thorny, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a somewhat messy growth habit but beautiful red, orange, white, or pink flowers to go with shiny, dark green foliage. Related to roses, flowering quince has a thorny habit and easy-to-grow nature that makes it a good choice for barrier or border plantings.

The shrub is a dense mound of gray-brown spiny twigs with five-petal flowers about two inches in diameter. The flowers last for about 10 to 14 days and are followed by yellowish-green fruits that can be used in preserves and jellies. The oval leaves with serrated edges are a glossy dark-green, growing to a maximum of about 3 1/2 inches.

Botanical Name Chaenomeles speciosa
Common Names Flowering quince or Chinese flowering quince
Plant Type Deciduous shrub
Mature Size 6 to 10 feet tall with a similar spread
Sun Exposure Full sun
Soil Type Loam
Soil pH 3.7 to 7.0 acidic to neutral
Bloom Time Late winter, early spring
Flower Color White, orange, red, or pink
Hardiness Zones 4 to 9, USDA
Native Area China, Korea


Flowering quince cuttings

I was given some flowering quince cuttings, they grow like crazy here on the Eastern Shore but can't find any at the nurseries. What is the best way to get these babies to grow: water until they root, root booster and starter soil, OR just stick them in the ground and water them? Please help, I have waited years for these plants. Thanks, Pam

Pamspace, I looked up flowering quince in my Propagation Book by Alan Toogood. this is what he says, Hardwoodcuttings of these deciduous shrubs produce a large plant more quickly than other methods, usually in 2 to 3 years. Spreading forms are easy to layer and that should be done in late winter and hardwood cuttings are done in fall or midwinter. Softwood or greenwood cuttings in late spring to early summer.

If you are trying to start the branches you have I would certainly recommend a rooting hormone like Dip n'Grow, which is liquid and then stick them into the ground somewhere out of the direct sunlight and be sure to keep moist for the summer. Good Luck.

Thanks for the information, I will follow your instructions to the letter.

I hope you have wonderful luck, I would like to get this started myself I see there are many named cultivars too. Usually around here I only see a couple in the nurseries.

Here's an additional question. There are many suckers on my flowering quince since it doesn't have a single trunk. I am assuming that I can just dig up some of the individual stems and replant them in another area. If this is true, how many should I put in one area, and should they all go into one hole?

This is the quince. It is currently about 20 ft tall.

This is what the stems (multi stem trunk) look like up close.

I took cuttings just before the flowers fell off and dipped in rooting hormone and put in potting soil. They all look pretty rough, but there are some bright green leaves coming on.

I also dug up some volunteers a week or two later leaving some dirt on the roots to bring home. Potted them up in potting soil. Some look dead, and the others look rough too, but do have some green leaves growing.

I agree with Lenjo about keeping them out of direct sunlight and keep moist. I think mine got too hot too often in the greenhouse. Should have had them outside in the shade.

Do you think that I would be better off potting them instead of immediately putting into them back into the garden? I moving them to the other side of my backyard.

I do think your first season would need extra water and shadier wouldn't hurt. Sounds like you have had success, msrobin with your cuttings. Congratulations, that is always a great accomplishment. Joann

Thanks, Joanne! I consider myself very lucky if I get 50% rooted. Our philosophy with our ornamental plants, trees and bushes around here are they need to get tough very quickly and to fend for themselves when we aren't available to nurture them along. If they survive through the rooting process, they are off to a wonderful start! I've got so much going on and trying to keep up with all the yard and garden chores, that I haven't had the time to devote to making sure cuttings are well-tended.

May i add to this? I have a truly massive old flowering quince on my property, and, well, with a monster like this, experimenting with cuttings and such has been almost impossible to resist. I've found the thing really difficult to start, though there are suckers coming up all over the yard, they don't like being dug up and replanted. I've found that digging down to the roots of a sucker and wounding it about where you'd cut it off and then leaving it in the ground for about a month will naturally produce roots on the sucker, you can then dig up a fairly nice little bush and repot it.

This should be able to be accelerated by pouring on one of these new root stimulators. Might shorten the time it would take to produce a good root system. I suppose any fert. with a big middle number could be used as well. Then, when digging up your new little bush, it would probably be wise to give it a good haircut so it can concentrate on forrming roots instead of trying to support and extensive system of branches and leaves.

Finally, I'd say that if you were going to try to root a cutting, I'd use Powdered Rootone F, the rooting hormone meant for HARD WOOD CUTTINGS to get them going. It's hard to get a good soft wood cutting off my bush at least.

Hello, Hello. welcome to Dave's Garden!

Great technique for volunteers! I'll have to try that!

Thanks for the welcome. What a great place, great concentration of knowledge and experience! Nice to know I'm not the only plant-obsessed person around here.

Has anyone tried forcing quince in the late winter? It could pass for apple or cherry blossoms, just beautiful pale pink, instead of the usual vibrant red. Just cut it and bring it into the warmth and it puts on quite a show.

Forsythia does this too, doesn't it? Welcome,Melis. If you ever get an extra rooted cutting of your quince, I would be happy to pay postage to get one. Another shrub I would like to add is kerria japonica.

Welcome to Daves Garden and thanks for sharing your experience.

I am going to try both ways this weekend because I'm impatient. I will dig up a half dozen of the suckers and transplant them, and then I will also just try slightly cutting a few to see if it will root. I may even try just putting a few in water to see if I can get them to root that way as well.

Lord knows that I have plenty of suckers to play with.

There was a pretty vigorous discussion over in the 'I FOUND THE SECRET!' thread about rooting things in plain water that's being aerated by a common aquarium pump fitted up with clear tubing and an air stone, sometimes called a bubbler. As I understand it, what this does is keep anaerobic bacteria from attacking the cutting before it gets the chance to root. You could add this technique to your experiments to see if you can propagate quince, I think I'd add a dip in a rooting hormone to that formula, since woody stuff's harder to start in water than soft wood. It was also mentioned in that same thread that willow exudes a natural form of rooting hormone, so apparently it helps stimulate rooting.

Thanks, I'll have to give it a try. I don't think those pumps and airstones are very expensive.


Propagation Of Flowering Quince - Propagating Flowering Quince From Cuttings Or Seed - garden

An easy-care plant that deer and rabbits will leave alone. The flowering quince, Chaenomeles ‘Cameo’, single apricot colored petals. Photo by Brenda Buchan.

The Flowering Quince

Guest Article for the Tallahassee Democrat

October 19, 2018, Release for the Tallahassee Democrat

The first time I saw a flowering quince was about 25 years ago east of Tallahassee in Monticello, Florida. A co-worker and her husband purchased an old home from a fabulous gardener and she wanted me to come over and see the old camellias blooming in her yard. That is where I saw the flowering quince. The plant had to have been at least 50 years old. It was approximately five-foot-tall and three-foot-wide with multiple stems that emerged from the shrub base and came straight up and then cascaded over. Each stem held thirty 1.5-inch-wide coral red flowers that looked like a cross between a rose and a camellia. It was breathtaking and I’ve been trying to reproduce that plant in my garden ever since.

Flowering quince, Chaenomeles ‘Chojuraku’, orange-red double ruffle. Photo by Brenda Buchan.

The flowering quince is a deciduous shrub that blooms in the winter and produces clusters of apple-blossom shaped flowers up to 1.5 inches across. I have seven plants representing four different varieties in my yard here in Tallahassee and, while the plants are deciduous, they never lose all their leaves at the same time. Thus, they remain green all year long. Similarly, the massive clusters of blossoms occur in late winter or early spring, but my plants will produce flowers all year long, just not in mass. The branches can be thorny and tangled sprawling to the sides, or grow straight up and cascade over, depending on the species.

The flowering quince is an old shrub that was commonly found in gardens in America during Colonial times. These days, it is rare to find them in gardens. It produces small apple-like fruit that ripens in the early fall. The edible fruits are hard and too bitter to eat from the shrub.

Several hundred years ago the fruit was used in jams and pies as a source of pectin for food preservation. Some non-fruiting cultivars also exist.

Besides being beautiful, one of the best things about growing flowering quince is that it is not a fussy plant. Once planted, it requires no maintenance other than watering. It likes to be in full sun or part shade, but its best flower production occurs in full sun. They grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils, and are drought tolerant once established. Deer nor rabbits bother them, and while I read that aphids can cause damage to new growth on flowering quince, I have not experienced that. I do have aphid problems on other plants – just not on my flowering quince.

Flowering quince, Chaenomeles x superba, double ruffle red. Photo by Brenda Buchan.

Flowering quince is a good addition to a flowering hedge or is great as a specimen plant that may be showcased in a foundation planting. They bloom on old growth, so you do not want to prune them. Or, if you must, prune after they have flowered.

Flowering quince may be propagated from seeds or from semi-hardwood cuttings. To propagate from seeds, save the fruit and place them in the refrigerator from four weeks to three months. Then remove the seeds from the cold and plant them as you would any seed. To propagate from cuttings, take one or more six- to eight-inch cuttings from old growth stems (hardwood) after the plant has gone dormant in the winter. Remove lower leaves, make sure there is at least one leaf bud on the cutting close to the bottom of the stem, and dip the cuttings in water and rooting hormone. Then place the cutting into soil or sphagnum peat and perlite mixture. Keep the cuttings watered and warm to encourage them to root.


Growing a Flowering Quince from Seeds

You can use flowering quince seeds to propagate quince trees and shrubs. Originally from parts of Asia, quince plants bear fruit that is similar in culture to apples and pears. Varieties include compact and low-spreading 2 to 3 feet tall by 4 to 5 feet wide Crimson and Gold to much larger varieties such as the 15-foot tall Chaenomeles Cathayensis tree. Follow these steps to grow a flowering quince from seed.

Step 1: Harvest (or Buy) Flowering Quince Seeds

It’s easiest to buy flowering quince seeds from reputable growers, both locally and online. But harvesting seeds from quince is another possibility. Extract seeds from mature fruit, clean them, stratify in sand and store in a cool location or in a moist plastic bag that’s kept in the refrigerator until planting—in either late winter or early spring.

Note that when planting quince from seeds, expect fruit by the fifth year of the shrub or plant’s life.

Step 2: Plant Seeds

Place sterilized growing medium or sterilized soil mixed with equal parts peat and fine vermiculite or perlite in growing pots or containers. Level soil, but do not pack it. Mix the flowering quince seeds with moist sand and spread over the soil. Then cover with a fine layer of soil. Alternately, bury the seed to a depth of twice the seed diameter.

Step 3: Provide Adequate Light and Humidity

Flowering quince seeds need adequate light—bright, filtered light is best—in order to germinate. They also require humidity. Tent a plastic bag or sheeting over the pots or growing containers. To ensure enough air circulation, consider using a small fan.

Step 4: Water Appropriately

Best watering for propagating flowering quince seeds is from below. Place growing pots or containers in standing water for about 20 minutes.

Step 5: Transplant

When flowering quince seeds have reached the stage to transplant, they can be moved into larger pots or containers or planted directly outside. Outdoors, quince prefers slightly acidic and moist soil. Many flowering quinces grow along creek beds. Once established, quince can tolerate very wet climates, but they still need good drainage.

Step 6: Other Growing Considerations

  • Protect young seedling flowering quinces from vermin and animals by installing perimeter fences, stem guards and by using repellant when necessary.
  • Keep new flowering quince seeds weeded and use herbicides. Protect stems and remove any suckers in the early growth period.
  • Protect these deciduous shrubs/trees in winter with a 4 to 5-inch layer of organic mulch. Flowering quince trees need the chill of winter to ensure good fruit production.
  • In hotter climates, make sure flowering quince receives adequate watering. Consider adding an irrigation system to ensure sufficient moisture.

In summary, growing flowering quince seeds take some time and patience, but the end result will be a worthwhile addition to you home garden.


Orchard establishment

Trees establish better in virgin ground. Occasionally problems are encountered in virgin land where tree roots have become infected by the fungus Armillaria mellea,which is found on the roots of some native timbers. To minimise losses from this disease, roots from cleared timber must be grubbed and burnt. Deep-ripping of the site not onlybrings these roots to the surface to be collected and burnt, but promotes better tree growth during the early years of establishment.

With previously cropped land, as in the case of cleared land, try to improve soil fertility and ensure that soil pH is satisfactory.

Nurseries are often unable to provide trees at short notice, so it is wise to plan ahead and order in advance.


How to Transplant Flowering Quince

Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) grows in hardiness zones 4 to 9 and is best transplanted during the dormant season in late winter to early spring, once frost danger has passed. In spring, the shrub bears red, pink or white flowers. Transplant flowering quince on an overcast day to avoid stressing the plant from too much heat.

Select a new location for your flowering quince. The shrub averages 6 to 10 feet in height and width when mature. Full sun provides the best environment for flowering.

Prepare the hole at the new location before you remove the flowering quince from its old location. Dig a hole that is two to three times as wide as the flowering quince shrub's root ball. If your quince is planted in a container you can determine this dimension easily. If it's planted in the ground use GardenLine's estimate of 9 to 12 inches of root ball per inch of trunk diameter.

  • Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) grows in hardiness zones 4 to 9 and is best transplanted during the dormant season in late winter to early spring, once frost danger has passed.
  • Prepare the hole at the new location before you remove the flowering quince from its old location.

Remove any rocks, sticks or weeds from the hole so your tree can easily adapt to its new environment.

Dig your flowering quince out of its hole. Begin digging at twice the size of the root ball. As you work down into the soil, move closer to the root ball. When you begin to see roots, work your way down. Tug the tree at its base to loosen the tree in its hole. Cut any remaining roots with a flat spade. Then pull the tree out of the hole.

  • Remove any rocks, sticks or weeds from the hole so your tree can easily adapt to its new environment.
  • Tug the tree at its base to loosen the tree in its hole.

Place the flowering quince in a wheelbarrow and wheel it over to its new location. Set the tree in the hole at the same depth as it was planted in the old location. You can identify this from the soil line on the trunk. Spread out the roots with your fingers.

Fill in the hole with soil. When it's full, water so the soil settles naturally. Add water until the soil becomes saturated.

  • Place the flowering quince in a wheelbarrow and wheel it over to its new location.
  • You can identify this from the soil line on the trunk.

Mulch the soil around the transplanted shrub with 2 to 3 inches of mulch.


Watch the video: How to Grow Flowering Quince