in Tucson, Phoenix,
Arizona and California

Gardening in Tucson, Phoenix, Arizona and California

while line Back to Plant List
while line Back to Growing Fruit and Berries

Growing Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica

social icons Facebook Twitter Pinterest Instagram

A member of the rose family. The Eriobotrya genus has Loquat as its only prominent species. There are over 800 cultivars of Loquat found around the world, of which less than 30 are widely grown.

Form: A large shrub or small tree.
Lifespan: 20-30 years.
Leaf retention: Evergreen.
Growth rate: Moderate.
Mature Size: 10-30' high and 8-25' wide.
Flowers: White, fragrant, small, clustered at the ends of branches.
Bloom: Fall to early winter. Tends to bloom heavily, then lightly, in alternating years. Pruning excess blooms in heavy years may help even out blooming cycles.
Self-fruitful: Depends on cultivar. All cultivars do better with a companion as pollinator.
Years before fruiting: Grafted 2-4, grown from seed 8-10.
Fruit: Oval, round or pear-shaped, 1-2" long, skin is smooth or downy, yellow to orange. Flesh is white, yellow or orange, sweet to sour. Contains 1-5 brown seeds.
Months for fruit to ripen: 3. Ripe when slightly soft.
Storage after harvest: Fruit of many cultivars must be consumed immediately, a few cultivars last up to two weeks when refrigerated.
Leaves: Dark green, glossy on top, whitish or rusty-hairy beneath, thick, stiff, prominent veins, broadly elliptical to narrowly lance-shaped.
Stems: No thorns.
Roots: Shallow. Grafted onto rootstock for quicker fruit production. Any variety of loquat seedling is used as rootstock to produce a normal-sized tree. Quince rootstock is used to produce a dwarf loquat tree.
Cultivars of Note:
'Big Jim' Large fruit, orange flesh, sweet-tart flavor, 2-4 seeds, skin easy to peel, oblong to round shape, self fertile.
'Champagne' Whitish flesh, sweet, spicy flavor, 2 seeds, thin skin, pear shape, self fertile.
Wildlife: Attracts bees, birds and mammals.
Toxic / Danger: All parts mildly poisonous except ripe fruit.
Origin: China. Introduced to Japan 2000 years ago.

Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8b-10. Temperatures below 26°F kill flowers and fruit. Fruit bearing loquats are best grown in citrus producing regions and need some heat to mature a crop. Being subtropical, they prefer mild summers and winters and dislike freezing temperatures.
Chill hours: None.
Heat tolerant: Needs afternoon shade when temperatures are over 90°F.
Sun: Full sun in morning and afternoon shade when temperatures are over 90°F. Young plants may need 50% all day shade until 8' high.
Drought tolerant: Somewhat. Needs shade and water to cope in high heat.
Water after becoming established: Weekly when fruiting. When plant is over four years old, monthly other times. Avoid over-watering. Flood intolerant.
Soil: Very well drained, saline-free, tolerant otherwise, pH 6.1-6.5 (slightly acidic) is best, but tolerates pH 6.1-7.8 (slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Fertilize: Avoid chemical fertilizers in regions with alkaline soil. Loquats are sensitive to salt. They are prone to magnesium and potassium deficiency in alkaline soil, and the symptoms resemble fireblight or salt burn. The application of magnesium sulfate and fish emulsion, diluted in water and poured around the drip line, has been found to solve the problem.
Mulch: Use 4-6" under the canopy but one foot away from the trunk to reduce heat stress, water loss, and prevent weeds.
Planting: Can be grown as ornamental in large containers. Must be positioned on top of a mound if there is any danger of flooding.
First Year Care: Water every other day first week. Water twice a week for first couple of months. Water every week after that for first year. Water every two weeks for second and third years.
Prune: Thin fruit when marble-sized or smaller to 4-6 fruits per terminal shoot. This will allow fruit to grow larger and avoid branch breakage.
Prune branches and stems just after harvest to reduce the number of terminal shoots, and to remove crossing branches. If the top of the tree does not receive full sun, prune to a low height to facilitate fruit thinning and harvest.
Litter: Fruit if not harvested.
Propagation: Seed used for ornamentals, cuttings grafted onto rootstock for fruit production.
Pests: Fire blight.
Uses: Ornamental, edible fruit (fresh, fruit salad, pies, jams and jellies).

Do you have additional information or a different experience for this plant that you would like to share?
Email All contributions are welcome and appreciated.
Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica - flowers

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica - fruit

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica - leaves

Loquat: Eriobotrya japonica

copyright ©