Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eriobotrya japonica; my favorite plant in the garden this week…


I feel a special sort of attachment to this loquat (Eriobotrya japonica). I watched it at a nursery for over a year before I finally bought it. During that year I purchased another loquat (less expensive, more the shape I needed for the available spot) but I never stopped thinking about this one. Here is a photo I took at the nursery in May of 2011.

It seemed so unloved, kicked around from corner to corner of the nursery…clearly outgrowing its container and getting its leaves tattered. It was an orphan who just needed a good home to put down some roots and realize its full potential. When the rhododendron came out last spring and I was scheming on a planting plan I realized I finally had a place for it! Of course the fact that it barely fit into my car (a VW Beetle) wasn’t about to stop me, where there is a will there is a way.

It’s been in the ground here about 10 months and has produced lots of new growth; I think it feels the love. I know I do...just look at those fabulous glossy leaves with the deep ridges. They look almost quilted.

Last weekend we removed several of those privet branches you see arching above, eventually they'll all come out allowing for the loquat to achieve that full potential, I can’t wait! (and yes you are correct, there are two Dusty Miller plants in the foreground. On sale for $1.99 I picked up three to see if I really could go there, I haven’t planted them because I can't quite decided if they are a go)…

In the interest of full disclosure however all isn’t agreeable in loquat-land…the other one I’d purchased earlier, well for the second year in a row it’s developed a bad case of the chickenpox over the winter.

Last year the new growth emerged spotless and by midsummer I’d forgotten all about the pox, but obviously the problem is still very much there. I’d love to hear any ideas you have for remedying this situation.

Lest you think this one is simply suffering from lack of love (after all I did call its sibling my “fav”) that’s simply not the case. This was my first and I still adore it. It’s perfect here growing tall and strong from a single trunk, if only its leaves looked healthy.

The low-down on the loquat…
  • Grows in USDA zones 7a-10b
  • Eventual size 10-20ft tall and 8-15ft wide
  • Prefers well drained soil
  • Does best in full sun but can tolerate partial shade (interesting that my “fav” which looks so good is in dappled shade for a good part of the day)
  • Produces small white flowers in the late winter, edible fruit in some climates
  • I've heard the branches can be quite brittle and it pays to be very attentive if a heavy snow falls

BTW...happy first day of spring!!!

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

20 comments:

  1. I love loquat trees. I didn't realize that they would be hardy in Portland, though I'm assuming that they won't set fruit there. In LA I would say they are just about the easiest fruit trees to grow. I have one that I grew from seed and had rootbound in a pot for years until we bought our house two years ago. Since planting it in the ground it has taken off, but still hasn't produced any fruit. Maybe next year.

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    1. I was worried about hardness here until I did a little research. This post http://dangergarden.blogspot.com/2011/05/loquat-love.html details my travels around town, seeing enough of them convinced me it wasn't a fluke!

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  2. Damnit, now I want one. Those leaves are gorgeous!

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    1. What, you don't already have one?

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  3. I love a loquat! Is that the one that was in the front area of Marbotts? I noticed it had disappeared last year after seeing it for awhile and was vaguely disappointed as I'd tried several times to figure out where I could shoehorn it into my garden. If it's the one, I'm so pleased it found a happy home with you - it looks gorgeous there!

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    1. Yes that's the one! I was so happy to rescue it but would have loved to have known you got it too!

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  4. I grew up with a pair of loquat trees in the dappled shade provided by birch trees. We always loved them - the leaves were perfect for all kinds of kid games and we'd stuff ourselves stupid on the fruit for the whole month of May.

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    1. I've heard mixed reviews on the fruit, good to know they were worth gorging on...not that we'll probably ever see fruit here.

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  5. As long as you stayed with the "fav" I was thinking "Oh boy,an alternative to the ailing Rhodys". But then you moved on to the one that's been around a while, and it looks like we'd just be trading one problem for another. That first guy is a beauty, tho.

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    1. I know two others that have spot problems too...

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  6. Fantastic choice, perfect even for that spot where the rhododendron used to be. Perhaps the spotting on your other specimen is just temporary? Hopefully the new growth this year will be spotless and eventually replace the blemished ones. We've seen some specimens that had those spots, it hung on to the blemished leaves for a year or two but we're eventually replaced so there's lots of hope there :)

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    1. Since I want a tall plant in that place rather than a bushy one I'm okay with loosing foliage up to a point...but if it always drops it's old leaves after awhile that's gonna be one funny looking plant!

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  7. It looks like a rust or fungus of some sort. You could try the old baking soada thing or spray it with a fungicide. Such handsome foliage.

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    1. And what pray tell is "the old baking soda thing?"...I'm afraid I'm not old enough to know it (hehehe).

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    2. Latest dish is that the old baking soda thing has been discredited--see :http://ncalternativecropsandorganics.blogspot.com/2010/07/cornell-formula-fungicide-example-of.html

      If you are not going to eat the fruit this year, use a fungicide and give it two or three treatments to kill off whatever it has. If you really kill off the fungi via several treatments it could be good for several years after that.

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    3. I guess it's time I become a real gardener and start learning about these things. (rumor is that fruit is very very rare up here in the PNW so no worries there...mine haven't even bloomed yet!)

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  8. Two words: Neem oil. Spray about once a month in the winter.

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  9. It looks like entomosporium leaf spot. :( does it have spots that almost look like burns...like ash? I did a post on it if you do a search on my page - see what you think. So annoying at any rate! Dang fungus!

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  10. Hey Danger! There's a gorgeous mature Loquat on N Vancouver, at about Shaver-- a totally run-down site-- looks like it is thriving in spite of a rough childhood. :) Check it out-- it blooms like a mad thing every year. I haven't been by this spring to see if it has fruit... I will report back if so.

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    1. Very interesting! I will definitely check it out, thanks for the heads up!

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