S & J Nursery’s guide to growing
Loquat / Japanese Plum Trees
in the Northeast Florida Landscape
( Eriobotrya japonica )
Loquat trees may just be my all time favorite tree, not even fruit tree, just tree in general. Not only are they absolutely beautiful in the Landscape, truly majestic specimen of a plant, they hold the most delicious of fruits on the tips of their branches in abundance each spring.
There have been many many many cultivated selections over the years and I have tried as many as I possibly can get my hands on. For me, it does not matter what the name on the tree is, my absolute favorite Loquat selection is the one I am eating right then! I have yet to try a loquat I did not love. It seems to me that it is more about when I am harvesting the fruit in terms of ripeness than what selection it is that I am tasting. I prefer them when there is still a bit of tart to them. The longer they stay on the tree the sweeter they get. Unless it has fallen off, and sometimes even then, it just may be the worlds most perfect fruit.
Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica Origins:
– Native to China the Loquat is well adapted to our Northeast
Florida planting zone. They are an excellent landscape specimen tree that will remain evergreen and have beautifully fragrant blooms during our winter season.
Preferred Exposure of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya
– Loquat trees can be grown in a full sun for best fruiting or partial
shade location when trees are being grown for ornamental purposes in our Jacksonville and St. Augustine area landscapes.
Foliage | Bark of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica :
– Large dark green foliage adds instant tropical appeal to the landscape.
Foliage remains evergreen during our winter season.
Soil Preference / Salt tolerance of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica:
– Tolerant of a wide range of soil components providing the soil dries quickly after heavy rains. Do not plant into water logged soils or areas that hold water after rains.
– Moderate salt tolerance.
Size Variance of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya
– Loquat trees are usually found in the Northeast Florida landscapes at
sizes of 15-25 feet H | 10-12+ feet W. (wider if allowed to grow as a multi trunked tree, they can reach as wide as 30-35 ft)
-You may also elect to prune them when young into a multi trunked shrub form and use as a large landscape hedge trimming annually after fruit has been harvested to keep the tree in the size you desire, this also makes harvesting the fruits a breeze but may be more work than you desire for such an easy care plant if left on its own.
– Loquats will grow into a round very symmetrical shape with little to no
Growth Rate of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica:
– Moderate growing, expect Loquat trees to grow anywhere from 1-2
feet per year in height depending on water and soil conditions.
Blooms and Fruits of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya
-Fragrant creamy white blooms in clusters on branches are very showy
during the bloom season here in North Florida near December and January.
– Blooms give way to fruits that ripen approximately 90 days from full
flowering and can range from pale yellow to darker golden orange when fully ripe.
Water Requirements of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya
– Water well during the establishment period after being planted into
the landscape from the S & J Nursery container. Fairly drought tolerant once established. For more information on watering your newly planted trees check out the link below.
Butterfly or Bird Attracting:
– Fruits attract birds to the landscape.
Best Uses For Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica :
– Easy care landscapes plant selection for the Northeast Florida garden.
– Low to no trimming requirements and large dense foliage that will remain evergreen during the winter make Loquat an ideal choice for taller privacy screens to cover what a traditional wooden fence will not or for property barriers.
– Ideal for hedges, smaller scale ornamental trees, specimen plantings and
Care of the Loquat Tree / Japanese Plum Tree / Eriobotrya japonica :
– Not for areas with consistently moist or wet soils that tend to
hold water after heavy rains.
– Water every day during the establishment period.
Moderately drought tolerant and may require additional irrigation during prolonged periods of drought.
– Fertilize each spring with a slow release poly coated plant
food such as Osmocote or Stay Green general purpose plant food, sprinkling the fertilizer around the mulch circle underneath the foliage of the tree. For an organic garden feed yearly with a top dressing of compost.