My variegated Nagami Kumquat is a happy little plant at the moment producing a flourish of citrus blooms. It’s spring and after a light tip prune in winter, mainly for shape, and a dash of slow-release fertiliser at the same time, this kumquat should go on to bear masses of fruit in Autumn.
I have two kumquat trees both kept in containers. This has kept their size to a minimum only growing to about 1.5m (4.9ft) while kumquats planted in the soil can grow to 3.5m (11.5ft) and prefer full sun and a sheltered position.
Kumquat trees originate from China and grow well in moist coastal areas and also tropical regions that have milder winters. Our gardening zone would fit the moist coastal descriptor and our kumquats seem to enjoy this climate.
The thing I like about our kumquats is that while they’re not the only citrus we grow (we also have a Tahitian Lime and a Eureka Lemon) they seem to be the tree with the least problems. My other citrus have struggled in the poor sandy soil we have here and are only now coming good after constant feeding and mulching.
My parents inherited a kumquat tree when they bought a house during my early teens. We’d never seen one prior and apart from using the fruit as childish projectiles, my mother would make a great kumquat marmalade from them every season. She also would pack them into jars and then cover with brandy leaving them to infuse for a few months. The results were incredible and after a few, especially at my tender age, would make one feel a little tipsy. Great as a winter warmer.
There are quite a few varieties including our nagami, the meiwa and the marumi. The nagami is the the most tart but still edible straight from the tree while the marumi has a soft sweet rind. Kumquat fruit doesn’t need peeling to be eaten and apart from the pips are a perfect finger sized citrus.
If you’re interested in making some kumquat marmalade here are a bunch of recipes.