How To Grow And Care For Fruiting Quince

It's an apple! It's a pear! It's a...quince?

Native to West Asia, fruiting quince (Cydonia oblonga) is a member of the rose family, and according to The New Southern Living Garden Book, "White or blush pink flowers bloom in midspring; these are followed in autumn by fragrant, yellow, round to pear-shaped or oblong fruit traditionally used in the South for jelly and preserves. Fruit reaches 34 inches long and remains as hard as a golf ball even after ripening." The quince fruit is tough and has bright yellow or gold flesh. When the fruits appear in the fall, they resemble apples or pears, and their profile falls between them. Quince fruits are edible and used in a variety of cuisines. This quince species is sometimes mistaken for flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa), a relative with beautiful blooms.

Plant Attributes

Plant Attributes
 Common Name:  Common Quince
 Botanical Name:  Cydonia oblonga
 Family:  Rosaceae
 Plant Type:  Tree, Fruit
 Mature Size:  15-20 ft. tall, 15-20 ft. wide
 Sun Exposure:  Full
 Soil Type:  Loamy, Moist, Well-drained
 Soil pH:  Acidic (6.5 to 7.0)
 Bloom Time:  Spring
 Flower Color:  Pink, White
 Hardiness Zones:  Zones 4-9 (USDA)
 Native Area:  Europe, Asia, Mediterranean

Fruiting Quince Care

Quince is the name given to the Cydonia oblonga tree's fruit and the common name of the tree itself. It's a small tree that can grow to 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. Quince is a hardy, low-maintenance plant that's great for beginners because it thrives with little effort and is relatively hard to kill. The ornamental tree can take up to five years to produce its first fruits and ten years to reach its full fruit production potential—however, its sweet yellow fruits are well worth the wait. Quince grows best with full sun and moderate water, producing autumn fruits that make a compelling case for planting a quince or two in your garden today.

The New Southern Living Garden Book advises, "Quince is easy to grow in a sunny spot with slightly acid, well-drained soil; once established, it is incredibly tenacious and nearly impossible to kill, deliberately or otherwise." Below is all you need to know about growing a quince tree.


Quince does well in full sun, so plant yours in a sunny area. It can handle a little shade, but the tree must be in the sun for most of the day to have the best-tasting fruit and stay healthy.


The soil for your quince plant needs to be well-drained and continually moist—never allowing the area around your tree to dry out completely. The soil should be slightly acidic, and mixing the ground with some organic matter is essential.


When first establishing the tree, your quince tree should be deep-soaked once every two weeks. After then, the tree will need water about once a month, as it is not very drought-tolerant. Just make sure to keep the soil moist, and never let the ground become completely dry. Underwatered quince trees will start dropping their fruit. However, ensure not to overwater, as this can cause disease.

Temperature and Humidity

Quince trees grow best at temperatures near 60°F with exposure to warm summer conditions. These trees will tolerate cold temperatures down to -5°F. These trees prefer low humidity.


Fertilize trees only once a year during the winter. Make sure not to over-fertilize, as this can cause disease. Young trees might need more fertilization. Use a 5-2-6 fertilizer formula to help the tree develop foliage and bear fruit.

What Is Quince and How Do I Plant It?
CactuSoup/Getty Images

Types of Fruiting Quince

Fruiting quince trees are available in several varieties and cultivars. Here are some unique types to know: 

  • 'Pineapple': Named for its unique flavoring, this tree tastes and smells like pineapple, bearing fruit with yellow flesh. 
  • 'Champion': Bearing fruit with a lemon-life flavoring, this pear-shaped fruit tree has a fuzzy, golden skin appearing in late fall.  
  • 'Smyrna': An attractive tree with dark green foliage and bright yellow fruit with a light yellow to white flesh and delicious flavoring. 


Pruning should happen after the last frost of the year when plants are still dormant—cut back branches that are dead, damaged, or on the lower end of the tree. If you wait until the spring to prune, you can accidentally prune new growth, eliminating the crop. It is also essential to remove all sucker growth, as it can create thickets if left uncut. When pruning, remove inward-growing branches, as these will prevent proper air circulation.

Propagating Fruiting Quince

Fruiting quince can be propagated by cuttings and layering, but taking stem cuttings in late autumn or early winter is an easy way to replicate this tree. Here's how to propagate fruiting quince trees from hardwood cuttings:

  1. Select a branch at least one to two years old for cutting using a sharp, sterile pruning shear or knife—cutting should be about 10 inches long. 
  2. Cut on a 45-degree angle directly after a bud.
  3. Use a sharp knife to remove the bark from the bottom third of the cutting and place it in water for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Dip the angled edge of the cutting into a rooting hormone if preferred.
  5. Plant cutting in rich soil and keep it consistently moist.  
  6. Replant cuttings when leaf shoots are visible. Plant in a large container and place in indirect sunlight. Water weekly.
  7. Continue caring for cuttings in the same way you care for trees until it is time to plant outside. Remove suckers that emerge while roots establish.

How to Grow Fruiting Quince From Seed

Growing a quince tree from seeds is relatively easy but time-consuming. Here's how:

  1. Collect seeds from a ripe quince fruit after slicing and removing the pips, or purchase seeds from a garden center. 
  2. Clean the seeds with water and dry them on a paper towel. 
  3. Place the seeds inside a plastic bag filled with moist potting soil or sand. Place the plastic bag inside the refrigerator for stratification. 
  4. After cold stratification for about four months, remove the seeds. Do not damage sprouts that emerge throughout the process. 
  5. Add the seeds and lightly cover them using a seed-starting tray or container filled with a moist potting soil and compost mixture. 
  6. Keep seeds moist and place the container in a warm location. 
  7. In about six weeks, sprouts will emerge. Seedlings will continue to develop and can move containers after reaching six to 12 inches tall. 
  8. Plant seedlings outside in late winter or early spring.


Winter care for the fruiting quince includes pruning, little fertilization, and mulching to protect the roots from frost. Fruiting quince trees experience dormancy, needing less maintenance throughout the winter.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Fire blight is the most common and destructive disease for quince trees—similar to other plants in the rose family, such as pears, apples, and mountain ash. If a light tan ooze seeps from the cankers that develop on the tree, this is a sign of fire blight. Parts of the quince, like the leaves and branches, could also turn black if the plant has fire blight. This disease is known to be very destructive, and it may be your best bet to hire a professional if you think this disease is present. Additionally, copper solution sprays can help control fire blight. Other conditions include brown spots, fruit spots, and fruit rot.

Some pest includes codling moth and winter moth caterpillars. These pests rarely cause a significant issue but can impact the fruit's development and health. Enclosing fruit with bags can prevent these moths and caterpillars from burrowing into the crop.

Common Problems With Fruiting Quince

Fruiting quince trees are relatively easy to care for, but there are still some common problems to know about so you can help prevent or treat them. Here's what you need to know about growing fruiting quince trees:

Tree Not Bearing Fruit

As bearing fruit is one of the main benefits of growing a fruiting quince tree, it is discouraging when the plant does not produce a crop as expected. There are several reasons why a fruiting quince tree might not bear fruit, including its age, flower bud damage, temperature disruptions, and poor pollination. Young trees will only bear fruit once maturing, so wait until a tree is a least five or six to know if there is another issue. Additionally, early spring frosts and fire blight can damage flower buds. Treat by keeping the tree buds covered during frost and treating fire blight with a bactericide.

Dark Spots On Leaves

If dark spots develop on the quince tree's foliage and fruit or premature leaf loss, quince leaf blight might be present. This fungal disease can occur from spring until fall, especially when the foliage remains too wet. If this fungus is left untreated, the foliage might turn yellow or brown, and the tips of the shoots can die back. To control this issue, practice good garden hygiene and prevent pest infestations.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles