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Ornamental quinces (Chaenomeles) belong like the real quince (Cydonia) to the family of the rose family (Rosaceae), but form their own genus. There are four species in total, all from East Asia. All ornamental quinces are completely undemanding and can deal with almost any soil in a sunny to partially shaded position - only too calcareous it should not be. The summer-green shrubs grow upright and rarely reach more than two meters. The garden hybrids remain significantly smaller at 1.20 to 1.50 meters. They form dense, slightly sparse branched crowns that can become very expansive in old age. The shoots carry a dark brown bark and are more or less spined on the type and variety. The large, graceful pollen flowers with white, pink or red bracts and yellow center often appear already in March before the foliage shoot in great abundance. During the summer, they develop bright yellow, edible mini ingredients with an aromatic fragrance. The green, broadly egg-shaped leaves are three to five inches long, alternate and often slightly bronze on budding.
Ornamental quinces have been cultivated as flowering shrubs in the gardens since the 18th century, and the first garden hybrids (Chaenomeles x superba) were formed at the beginning of the 20th century from crosses of Japanese and Chinese ornamental quinces (Chaenomeles japonica and Chaenomeles speciosa). In addition to the ornamental forms, there is also a selection of the Japanese ornamental quince with the name 'Cido' in Latvia. It provides fruits with a particularly high vitamin C content and is suitable for the production of juices, jellies and jams. The plant is also called "Nordic Lemon" because of its vitamins. The ecological value of the small shrubs is also not to be despised. Their flowers are flown in the spring of bees and other insects, larger specimens are good protection and nursery for various species of birds.
Ornamental quinces are what is commonly referred to as a multi-talent. They are suitable for the individual position in the bed, for large planters, cut edging hedges, freely growing flower hedges, shrub groups and also for ground-covering plantings in the public green. They assert themselves under trees with aggressive roots. They can be planted in rose gardens, but with their slightly Mediterranean look, they also fit perfectly in Mediterranean gardens. In addition, the branches are suitable for the Treiberei and for bouquets.
Fruits of the ornamental quince
Ornamental flowers bloom on perennial wood and do not necessarily need a regular pruning. Nevertheless, they are very cut compatible and can be lighted if necessary and even cut back to just above the ground. In public green, this is often done mechanically with a cutter bar without damaging the shrubs. If they are pulled as cut borders, one should make the shape cut in June.
In the nursery, the hybrids are usually propagated by cuttings. For hobby gardeners, however, the propagation through plywood after the fall of leaves in autumn is more practicable, even if only about every second to third grows. Sowing is also possible, but a bit more lengthy.
Flowering ornamental quince (Chaenomeles hybrid)
Diseases and pests
Like apples, pears and quinces, ornamental quinces are somewhat susceptible to fire blight. It is recognizable by its almost black, burnt shoot tips. Infested plants must be promptly dug up and destroyed. The bacterial infection is notifiable, as it can cause great damage in fruit growing regions. All other diseases and pests hardly play a role.