These are among the first shrubs to bloom each year. As early as January, you can bring a budded stem indoors, place it in water in a sunny window, and watch it burst into flower. Blossoms are 112212 in. across, single to semidouble or double, in a wide range of colors. Leaves are red tinged when young, then mature to shiny green. Most types are thorny, take pruning well, and make excellent barriers and hedges. Not browsed by deer.
Flowering quince is easy to grow and practically indestructible; its only requirements are sun and well-drained soil. Even if leaf spot (a common disease in humid areas) defoliates the plant by midsummer, the next year's bloom won't be reduced. Prune to shape the plant or reduce its sizeeither immediately after bloom or during the flowering season (you can use cut branches in bloom for indoor arrangements). Lack of winter chill may lead to sparse bloom in the Coastal South.
Some selections bear small (2- to 4-in.), hard, delightfully fragrant fruits. Although not as tasty as that of common quince (Cydonia oblonga; see Quince), the fruit contains lots of pectin, making it good for jelly or preserves. If your flowering quince fails to bear, it probably needs cross-pollination with another selection.
The following list of garden hybrids gives height and flower color. Tall types reach 6 ft. or taller, low types 23 ft. Most are broader than tall.
'Apple Blossom'. Tall. White blossoms with pink tones. Good for fruit.
'Cameo'. Low, compact. Double blooms in apricot pink. Good for fruit.
'Contorta'. Low. White to pink; twisted branches. Good as bonsai.
'Dragon's Blood'. Low. Blood-red double blooms.
'Falconnet Charlet'. Tall, thornless. Double salmon-pink flowers.
'Hollandia'. Tall. Large red flowers; reblooms in fall.
'Iwai Nishiki'. Low. Bright red double flowers on a spreading plant (may reach 10 ft. wide).
'Jet Trail'. Low. Pure white.
'Orange Storm'. Low. Large, double, rich orange flowers resemble those of camellia. Thornless and fruitless.
'O Yashima'. Low. Double white.
'Pink Beauty'. Medium tall. Rose-pink flowers.
'Pink Storm'. Low. Double, deep pink, camellialike blooms. Thornless and fruitless.
'Scarlet Storm'. Like 'Pink Storm', but with dark red flowers.
'Snow'. Tall. Large, pure white.
'Texas Scarlet'. Low. Tomato red. Good for fruit.
'Toyo Nishiki'. Tall. Pink, white, pink-and-white, red all on same branch. Good for fruit.