Planting Flowering Quince

Numerous cultivars of flowering quince, known scientifically as Chaenomeles speciosa, are prized for the splash of color they bring to the landscape. These shrubs are known for their tangled branching habit and showy flowers that bloom in late winter or early spring. Flowering quinces are drought tolerant once established, but proper site selection, preparation, and planting techniques are key to ensuring flowering quince shrubs will become established and thrive in the landscape. The tangled, sometimes thorny branches of flowering quince can also make it an excellent candidate for hedges or a shrub border.

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What You Need To Plant Flowering Quince

  • Shovel
  • Compost or manure
  • Good location
  • Water source
  • Mulch

Where to Plant Flowering Quince

Flowering quince blooms best in a site with full sun and in a well-drained, moist loam, although it tolerates a range of soil types. Flowering quinces are only occasionally bothered by deer, but rabbits will browse on them in the winter, so select a protected site or plan to utilize a barrier or repellent. Thorny cultivars are also best planted away from where children and pets may encounter them.

Flowering Quince Spacing

Flowering quince shrubs are relatively low growing and do not need support. The mature size of the plant varies depending on the cultivar, but most flowering quinces have a height between 2 and 6 feet and a spread of 4 to 5 feet. For a single specimen plant, allow 3 or more feet between the flowering quince and all other plants. To create a solid hedge or barrier, space multiple plants a minimum of 4 feet apart, depending on the cultivar. 

Steps To Plant Flowering Quince

Step 1 - Select a planting site in full or partial sun.

Step 2 - Dig a planting hole twice the width of the flowering quince and as deep as the root mass. Set the excavated soil aside but do not discard it.

Step 3 - Remove the flowering quince from its container gently by tipping it upside down and cradling the soil surface with one hand while removing the container with the other.

Step 4 - Loosen roots by gently massaging the sides of the root mass. 

Step 5 - Set the flowering quince in the planting hole. The top of the quince root mass should be at or slightly above the surrounding soil.

Step 6  - Fill in the hole space around the root mass. Blend well-rotted compost or manure with the native soil and gently scoop it in with a shovel or by hand. Do not step on the soil to pack it in. 

Step 7- Water the soil around the flowering quince slowly and deeply to encourage soil to settle around the roots. Add more of the soil/compost blend, as needed, to account for any settling.

Step 8 - Apply a layer of organic mulch 3 inches thick around, but not directly in contact with, the flowering quince trunk. This will help to conserve moisture in the soil and suppress weeds.

When to Plant Flowering Quince

The best time of year to plant flowering quince is during cool weather when the plant is dormant. The cooler weather minimizes transplant shock and ensures the most blooms the first spring. Plant the quince in late fall or winter, as long as the ground is workable, and water it in. In cold climates, subsequent watering may not be required once the ground is frozen and the quince is dormant.  It is possible to plant flowering quince other times of year, but more vigilant monitoring of soil moisture and irrigation will be required. 

Transplanting Flowering Quince

Over time, flowering quince gradually spreads by suckers. It is possible to dig up these suckers or dig up clumps and divide plants. Use a sharp spade to sever a sucker below ground or dig up the whole plant and cut suckers loose. The suckers can be transplanted if more plants are desired. This is best done in spring immediately following flowering. 

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