The medlar is a fruit tree that, although it is native to East Asia, has managed to adapt very well to the temperate climate of Europe and even the mild temperatures of some parts of America. In addition, it is a plant that provides shade throughout the year, as it has large leaves that remain on the tree for months, and are replaced by new ones as soon as they dry.
Thus, while you have a soft drink or enjoy an ice cream resting on its trunk in spring, you can take advantage of and taste its fruits. These are delicious fresh from the tree, so In this article we will teach you how to take care of your medlar so that the harvest is excellent.
Origin and characteristics of the medlar
The medlar, medlar or Japanese medlar or Japanese medlar, It is an evergreen tree that, contrary to popular belief, is native to China. What happened is that it was introduced in Japan more than a millennium ago, and it has managed to become naturalized, which is why it tends to fall into the error of thinking that it is typical of that part of the world.
It belongs to the Rosaceae family and is a plant whose scientific name is Eriobotrya japonica which reaches 10 meters in height. Its trunk is straight, not very tall as it branches short of the ground and forms a rounded crown. The leaves are dark green on the upper side and lighter on the underside, leathery, and are up to 30 centimeters long by 10 centimeters wide.
Its flowers, which appear in panicles about 15 centimeters long during autumn-winter, are hermaphroditic, white and fragrant, with a size of up to 2 centimeters in diameter. Y fruits ripen in spring.
What kind of fruit is the medlar?
It is an ovoid-shaped fruit, with orange skin and yellowish / orange pulp. This is compact and aromatic, it also has a slightly acid flavor.
When consuming it, it is recommended to peel it, and cut it in half to extract the seeds (there may be between 1 and 5) that it has inside. These are very easy to remove, as they measure approximately 1,5 centimeters, and are hard.
How long does it take for a loquat to bear fruit?
El medlar It is a tree that can surprise us a lot, and it is that from the moment the seed germinates until the plant grows enough to bear fruit, only a few 4-5 years if it is well cared for.
For this reason, it is very interesting to buy some medlars – better if they are organic – in our trusted greengrocer, and after cleaning the seeds well, sow them (below we explain step by step how they should be sown).
What are the properties of the medlar?
The medlar is a fruit that it is used as an expectorant, demulcent and digestive. In its country of origin, its consumption is very common to prevent or treat throat discomfort.
Although we cannot forget about its nutritional wealth: it contains fiber, minerals as important as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C, thanks to which you can have a good Health.
What are the varieties of medlar?
Roughly, Two types of medlar are distinguished: Chinese and Japanese. The former bears later fruits, darker in color and with more seeds; while the second is just the opposite; that is, its fruits ripen soon, the skin is lighter and it has fewer seeds. But the latter have a drawback, and that is that the flavor is not always the best.
The best known varieties are:
- Algar or Algerian: it is an early variety that has fruits with yellow-orange skin and pulp. Its flavor is bittersweet.
- Golden nuget: it is precocious. It produces rounded fruits, with dark skin and juicy pulp although somewhat acidic.
- Teddy: it is an early variety that produces fruit with little flavor.
- Tanaka: It is a late variety that produces orange-colored pirifomes (pear-shaped) fruits. Its pulp is very juicy and has a sweet taste.
How is the cultivation of the medlar?
The Eriobotrya japonica it is a very, very easy tree to care for. It is a plant that you do not need to spend many hours of coldthat is, hours during which the temperature remains below 7 degrees, to produce your fruits. For this reason, you can cultivate without any problem in much of Spain, including the Mediterranean region.
But it is important to know your basic needs so that you can grow the way we want you to:
The medlar is a tree that it has to be put in a sunny place. Likewise, the dimensions that it will have once it reaches adulthood must be taken into account, since it is important that it is planted at a distance of at least two meters from the wall.
The roots of this plant are superficial and non-invasiveso that we will not have to worry about this issue.
- Garden: grows in almost all types of soils. You just have to avoid planting it in those that get flooded easily, since excess water is very harmful to it.
- Flower pot: if we choose to have it in a pot, it can be filled with prepared substrates such as the urban garden (for sale here!), as this will ensure that it will have all the nutrients it needs to grow for a while.
The medlar has to be watered from time to time. It can’t stand drought, so you have to make sure it doesn’t get too thirsty. A) Yesin summer we may have to water 2 or 3 times a weekpouring water until the soil is well watered. If it is on the ground, it will be highly recommended to make a tree grate to make better use of that water, as it will prevent it from being lost.
On the contrary, during autumn and winter, which are months in which the weather is cool, you will have to water less.
While our fruit tree is growing, it will be highly recommended to pay it. The growing season begins with the arrival of spring and ends when temperatures begin to drop in the fall / winter.
Now when the weather is mild, it will bloom very early, perhaps before winter is over. That is why if we live in an area where frosts are not registered or if they are very weak and punctual, it is started to pay in that season.
What fertilizers to use? Well, since we are talking about a tree that produces edible fruits, we advise choosing organic fertilizerssince these are not toxic neither for the plant nor for the environment, and in addition they do not have a “waiting time” of collection of the fruit.
Some examples are:
- Seaweed fertilizer
- Guano (for sale here!)
- Animal manure (of chicken, goat, cow, etc.)
- Worm humus (for sale here!)
It multiplies by seeds in spring-summer. Ideally, they should be extracted from fruits freshly picked from the tree, although those bought in a greengrocer are also useful (but I insist: opt for organic ones since, although they are a little more expensive, they not only do not have pesticides but also tend to germinate best).
- The first thing is to clean the seed with water. It is important that it does not have any pulp attached as otherwise it could become full of fungus.
- Afterwards, it is introduced into a glass of water. If we see that it sinks, it is because it is viable.
- The next step is to prepare a pot that will serve as a seedbed. If we are only going to plant one, a small pot of 6,5 centimeters in diameter (more or less) is worth it, but it must have holes in its base. We fill it with substrate prepared for seedlings, coconut fiber (for sale here!) or vermiculite and we water.
- Now, we make a small hole in the center, for example with a finger, and insert the seed.
- Finally, we cover it with substrate and with a little copper powder to prevent fungi from destroying it, and we place the pot in a sunny place.
Thus, it will germinate in a matter of a month.
Another way to sow it is between cottons, literally. We take two pieces of cotton, moisten them with water and place the seed with a little copper sprinkled on top in the center of both. To keep it moist, everything is inserted into a plastic container with a lid, and placed in a room with light.
Of course, you have to check it daily in case the cottons dry out and / or if the seed germinates. As soon as we see that a root appears, we will have to plant it in a pot.
Sometimes, the medlar is multiplied by means of a gusset graft. This is done mostly to speed up fruiting, but also to get other varieties.
A loquat it begins to prune more or less when it has reached a height of 1,5-2 meters. Before it is not advisable to do it, since you must wait for it to strengthen a little.
There are three types of pruning that must be done when the time comes:
It is made as the name suggests to shape the tree. It is done in late winter if the tree has not yet flowered, or in late summer otherwise.
It consists of eliminating the branches that are sprouting less than half a meter from the ground, as well as those that are broken, diseased or those that intersect.
To stimulate fruit production. It has to be done after collecting them. Branches that bear fruit should be left behind, and those that are growing so vigorously that they protrude from the shape of the crown should be removed.
Thinning of the fruits
It does to avoid branches that break due to the weight of the fruitsor that there is one that does not receive enough light. Of course, it has to be done when the plant is bearing fruit.
It consists of selecting the best fruits from each branch and eliminating the rest, but avoiding removing too many since it would not be good for the tree to leave it with few medlars.
The medlar is planted in the garden during spring but only if not fruiting. If you have it in a pot, you have to change it to a larger one when the roots appear through the holes in it, or when you see that it has run out of space to continue growing.
Basically it is affected by one: the fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata). Although it can be prevented by setting specific traps (for sale here!).
Of course, if there are birds in the area, it is also advisable to put some scarecrows since otherwise they would eat the fruits.
Diseases and problems
May be affected by speckled or scab funguswhose scientific name is Fusicladium eryobotryaeawhich causes the appearance of round dark colored spots on both leaves and fruits. If symptoms are seen, the affected parts should be pulled out and the tree treated with fungicides that contain copper.
You can also have red or reddish spots on the fruitsmore specifically on the skin. This is not a disease but a physiopathy caused by a lack of minerals (zinc or calcium) is the most common in this plant), or by lack of water.
Loquat diseases (Eriobotrya japonica)
It supports well frosts down to -5ºCbut you should know that late frosts damage the fruits. If it drops to -10ºC it will suffer significant damage.
Do you like loquat?