The Q&A Archives: info about my kumquat tree

Question: I own a single Nagami kumquat that we started from seed. It is about 7 years old and has not flowered. How long does it take to flower? And how do I cut it back when it becomes misshapened? Thank you for any info you can give me.

Answer: Since your tree is a seedling, when/if it will flower and ultimately be able to bear fruit is somewhat up to chance. Flowering is related to overall health as well as age, so it is more a question of physical maturity rather than strictly years. Also, a seedling will naturally vary from its parent, some showing more variation than others. Named varieties of container citrus trees are usually grafted to assure consistent plants. Most dwarf citrus are grafted onto dwarfing rootstock (such as Flying Dragon); Monrovia currently sells Nagami kumquats grafted onto Carrizo Citrange rootstock or in patio tree form, grafted on Troyer Citrange rootstock. This assures they will remain naturally small and fit comfortably in a container even when mature. The specific varieties -- such as Nagami -- that are used for container specimens are also selected based on good fruiting qualities psuch as early bearing and improved fruit as well as suitability to or tolerance of container culture. Since your plant is not growing on a dwarfing rootstock, I doubt you will be able to keep it small enough to be a successful (and healthy) container tree. The frequent hard pruning to keep it small would stress it and limit its blooming. In the meantime you can remove the occasional branch as needed to maintain a pleasing shape, or clip it lightly all over if you wish. Of course, removing any blossoms once it does begin to bloom would limit fruiting. An eight foot tree can grow comfortably in a half whiskey barrel type of container, as a rule of thumb. Much bigger than that and it becomes difficult to handle. I'm really sorry I can't be more encouraging. I hope it works for you!

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