Flowering quince are one of the first shrubs to bloom in early spring. The branches are loaded with blooms before they leaf out. They’re also hardy, tough, long-lasting and super easy to grow. We love using quince in mixed borders because the flowers can be appreciated when little else is happening. Then it just becomes a useful dark evergreen background. Butterflies and hummingbirds will also savor the early flowers.
There are many varieties of quince and choosing the right one is based on what you want. Older varieties such as Super Red, Toyo-Noshiki, and Texas Scarlet produce fruits adored by birds in fall. They have some meaningful thorns (like a living barbed wire fence, but prettier), making them ideal for hedges or espalier.
Newer varieties including the Double Take series are smaller overall, do not produce fruits, and are largely thornless. They're ideal for a lower hedge along a walkway, up against a fence, or in a mixed border or container.
If your garden feels colorless as winter drones on, consider adding a few of this lovely flowering shrub. Next year, late winter, you will be so glad you did!
The Art of Gentle Persuasion
Quince are one of the easiest of the spring bloomers to bring inside to force into flower. Cut branches with fat buds beginning to swell, and place in a vase of water near a sunny window. Buds will often begin to unfold in days. Be patient; a week or more can pass before buds open.
Double Take Orange™ Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Orange Storm’ PP #20,950
Big, richly colored, double flowers provide a stunning early spring display. Up to 4 ft. tall and wide. Partial to full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
Double Take Scarlet™ Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Scarlet Storm’ PP #20,951
Dense, spreading habit makes it ideal as a specimen, espalier, or hedge. Up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Partial to full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
Double Take Pink™ Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Pink Storm’ PP #20,920
Camellia-like flowers! Spectacular large, fragrant, bright pink blooms. Up to 4 ft. tall and wide. Partial to full sun. Zone: 5 – 8
Super Red® Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles japonica ‘Moned’
Blooms early followed by showy fruit in fall. Wonderful for hedge or shrub. Up to 8 ft. tall and wide. Full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
Toyo-Nishiki Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles japonica ‘Toyo-Nishiki’
Classic quince, sets fruits after flowering. Thorns useful as a privacy hedge. Up to 8 ft. tall and wide. Partial shade. Zone 5 – 9
Texas Scarlet Flowering Quince
Chaenomeles japonica ‘Texas Scarlet’
Mid-sized quince, produces fruits loved by birds. Best in shrub borders. Up to 3 ft. tall and 5 ft. wide. Full sun. Zone: 5 – 9
How to Grow Quince
- The list is short–full sun and moist, well-drained soil pretty much sum it up.
- Prune flowering quince right after the flowers fade if you need to remove stray or dead branches.
- Never hack back the entire shrub evenly, or you'll end up with a vegetative mess that is ugly. Plus it encourages disease and jeopardizes blooms.
- Once it’s settled in the landscape, flowering quince is very drought tolerant. It can survive partially shade locations, but doesn’t show off as many springtime flowers.