Kumquat Tree Care Grow Guide (Meiwa, Dwarf, Indoors, Outdoor, Nagami)

Kumquat tree in full summer with a number of orange kumquat fruits close up image of kumquat leaves and fruit in an oval frame.

The Kumquat tree was first described in Chinese literature in AD 1178 and its fruit was enjoyed in widespread regions throughout the Tang and Song dynasties.

It is believed that kumquat trees are native to south-eastern China and the two most important and well-known species today are the Marumi kumquat (Fortunella japonica Swingle) and the Nagami kumquat (Fortunella margarita Swingle).1,16

But, just what are the differences between various kumquat trees? Can you grow them indoors, and what do Kumquats taste like?

This complete grow care guide for the Kumquat Tree tells you everything you need to know about how to make this citrus tree flourish, no matter where you live.

Kumquat Tree

(Citrus japonica)

Kumquat tree image in an oval frame on green background.
  • Family: Rutaceae
  • Genus: Citrus
  • Leaf: Simple, alternate, one to three inches. Dark green on top and lighter green below
  • Bark: Light brown/grey/red bark with vertical, smooth ridges
  • Seed: Small, green, and pointy
  • Blossoms: White, fragrant flowers
  • Fruit: Small, oval-shaped orange fruit
  • Native Habitat: Southeastern China
  • Height: 8 to 15 feet
  • Lifespan: 50 years
  • Canopy: Rounded, vase-like
  • Type: Evergreen
  • Other Name: Cumquat

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Ranking

Least Concern


Read More About: Magnolia Tree Care: Southern vs Little Gem vs Japanese vs Tulip (Guide)

What Does a Kumquat Tree Look Like?

Do you want to know how many trees are in the world and are you worried about how many trees cut down each year? If you want to plant one of these trees to solve your environmental concerns, you can learn about kumquat trees, their varieties, and how they are grown.

And, then plant some of your own!

A kumquat tree generally grows into a compact shape, which makes it a desirable cultivated indoor and outdoor plant worldwide.

Kumquat trees have small, dark green leaves, thorns, white flowers, and small, orange fruit. The fruit usually hangs on the trees for many months, increasing its aesthetic value.

Kumquat Tree Identification

While the kumquat tree is accepted as belonging to the Rutaceae (citrus) family, it once belonged to the Fortunella genus. The old scientific name for this tree is still in common use.

The English name ‘kumquat’ was derived from the Cantonese name ‘gam-gwat’. The world ‘gam-gwat’ means ‘golden tangerine’ or ‘golden orange’.

Visual identification guide for the kumquat tree, showing close-up photographs of the orange fruit, the seed cut in half, the small green leaves, and a full grown kumquat tree on a green background.

The word ‘loquat’, which describes another type of evergreen tree that bears fruit, was derived from the same Chinese word for orange that describes kumquat.

Loquats and kumquats are not botanically related.

Historically, the kumquat tree was thought to bring good fortune to households in China. Today, it is still given as a gift during the Lunar New Year.2

Types of Kumquat Trees

There are four main types of kumquat trees namely:

  • Nagami kumquat
  • Meiwa kumquat
  • Marumi kumquat
  • Hong Kong kumquat

Furthermore, there are 8 different varieties of kumquat trees that are sometimes described as hybrids:3

Variety of Kumquat TreeOrigin / Region
Malayan kumquatPeninsular Malaysia
Fukushu kumquatJapan
Jiangsu kumquatChina
Nordmann Seedless kumquatFlorida
Centennial Variegated kumquatFlorida
Eustis LimquatFlorida
Calamondin kumquatPhilippine Islands
Indio MandarinquatCalifornia

Kumquat Tree Growing Zone

Kumquat trees grow well in direct sunlight, as they need a maximum of 10 hours of sunlight to grow healthy roots. These trees are cold-resistant in the USDA hardy zones 9 and 10, and can survive outside in temperatures as low as 18 degrees F.17

Image shows a map where kumquat tree usually thrives.

(Image: US Department of Agriculture17)

However, if the temperature drops lower, it is essential to bring kumquat trees indoors.

Kumquat Tree Height

A kumquat tree generally reaches heights of between 8 – 12 feet. The below table indicates the general height of the four main types of kumquat trees:

Type of Kumquat TreeHeight
Nagami kumquat6ft4
Marumi kumquat9ft4
Hong Kong kumquat3ft4
Meiwa kumquat4ft – 8ft4

Meiwa Kumquat Tree

The Meiwa kumquat tree is best known for having the sweetest fruits of all the kumquat varieties.18 This type of kumquat tree is relatively rare in the US, but immensely popular in East Asia.

The Meiwa kumquat is an evergreen citrus tree – cold tolerant and one of the newer varieties of the kumquat citrus trees. The tree was first brought to Japan from China during the late 19th century. It was slowly distributed to western regions and markets after being introduced to Europe by Robert Fortune in 1846.

The Meiwa Kumquat tree possesses the following characteristics:

  • Glossy, dark green leaves
  • Fragrant white flowers
  • Self-pollinating
  • Bright-colored, round, or oval sweet fruits.

Kumquat Tree: Dwarf

The Meiwa kumquat tree is mainly known as a dwarf or semi-dwarf variety of kumquat. They grow around 8ft – 10ft tall, but indoor trees stay around 6ft tall when pruned once a year.

This dwarf tree grows best in well-drained soil positioned in either full sun or partial shade. Meiwa dwarf kumquat trees should be watered regularly to ensure strong roots and pruned for the first time after 12 months have passed.5

Kumquat Tree

Even though the Meiwa kumquat is relatively rare in the US, it can be grown in most areas. These trees are popular indoor options and will also grow well in a pot outside on a patio or deck.

Meiwa kumquat trees should be pruned during the growing season, at least once a year, to keep them small when growing indoors.

Nagami Kumquat Tree

The Nagami kumquat tree variety is the most popular in North America and accounts for more than 90% of kumquats that grow in Texas, California, and Florida.19 This tree also falls in the citrus family along with other trees that bear citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, and oranges.

Much like the Meiwa kumquat, the Nagami kumquat can be grown in small spaces and pots. They bear fruit in their first year and are drought-tolerant and fungus resistant.

The Nagami Kumquat tree possesses the following characteristics:

  • Dark green leaves that are lighter on the underside
  • Low-hanging branches
  • Fragrant white flowers
  • Bright orange fruit
  • Edible peel

Kumquat Dwarf Tree

Nagami kumquat trees are also often referred to as dwarf kumquat trees.

Photo of several kumquat trees during the night time with its smaller fruits.

(Image: Vinh Thang34)

They are generally more frost-tolerant that the other varieties of dwarf kumquats and look at their best when regularly pruned to a height of 3ft.

If the Nagami kumquat dwarf tree is not pruned, it can grow to a height of 10ft.

These trees grow very well outdoors and indoors, providing aesthetic value inside and outside.6

Kumquat Tree History

The exact history of the Nagami kumquat is unknown, but they were planted in the US as landscape trees until a market for culinary delights was established in Asia, after which they were grown in large numbers there for various food purposes.

Sweet Kumquat Tree

The Meiwa kumquat tree is known as a sweet kumquat and grows the sweetest fruits out of all the kumquat varieties.

Close-up photo of several kumquat fruits showing its internal view, too.

(Image: Nicola Giordano35)

These types of kumquat fruits are used for marmalade and jellies and are also added to chutneys and tea.

The taste and flavor of the other varieties of kumquat fruits are described as follows:7

Kumquat FruitFlavor
Nagami kumquatSweet-tart
Centennial Variegated KumquatAcidic / sour
Jiangsu kumquatSweet-tart
Fukushu kumquatSweet-tart

Kumquat Tree: Indoor Options

A kumquat tree is a popular indoor foliage option, especially in colder climates where they don’t thrive as well outdoors.

With proper indoor care, they can grow up to 24’’ each year and reach heights of up to 12ft, provided there is adequate space in which the kumquat tree can grow.

Kumquat Tree Care

Kumquat trees are hardy and will grow in most conditions that are not too cold.20 Outdoor kumquat trees should be planted with a layer of mulch covering the root zone. This will keep the soil damp and prevent weeds from siphoning the moisture.

Once the roots are established, the kumquat tree should only be watered during dry seasons and suckers should regularly be removed to prevent them from draining the kumquat’s resources.8

Indoor Kumquat Tree

Indoor kumquat trees will thrive with proper care, and any care guide should always have the size of the pot as its first item.21

It is essential to choose a very large pot to hold an indoor kumquat tree, as these plants are not tolerant to being root-bound.

The pot should have drainage holes in the bottom and be raised off the ground for air circulation and drainage purposes.

Indoor kumquat trees should be protected during extremely cold weather and covered with a blanket to prevent frost.

Growing Kumquats In Pots

The best time to plant or transplant a kumquat tree is when winter has passed and there is no more threat of frost.

Kumquat trees will grow in any type of pot or container, whether plastic, stone, clay, or wood.

The following points are important to factor into the process of growing a kumquat in a pot.

  • Adequate soil drainage

Kumquat trees grow in most types of soil, but heavy clay soil should be avoided. Soil drainage is essential in preventing root rot.

  • Adequate sunlight

The pot should be placed in a spot where direct sunlight can reach the kumquat tree for at least 10 hours every day. The location of the kumquat tree should also be protected from strong wind.

  • Watering

A newly planted kumquat should be watered at least every third day for the first couple of weeks to ensure root establishment. Once the roots are strong, the tree should be watered twice a week in hot, dry seasons and once a week during winter.

It is important to note that a pot- or container-grown kumquat tree will generally require more water as they dry out faster than outdoor trees.

  • Pruning

Pruning is usually done once a year to keep the length of the kumquat tree intact. Indoor kumquats are usually pruned to a length of 6ft.22

  • Pollination

Kumquat trees are known to be self-fertile, and a single tree can produce plenty of fruits.

While outdoor kumquat trees are pollinated by insects, indoor kumquat trees must be pollinated by hand.23

Close-up photo of kumquat tree flowers while a bee is drinking juice from it.

(Image: Beverly Buckley36)

This can be done by brushing the pollen from one flower onto another using a small paintbrush.9

Kumquat Tree

A potted kumquat tree can easily be transplanted outdoors – by adhering to the following 6 steps:

  1. The hole in the outdoor soil should be twice the width of the pot or container and slightly deeper. Compost can be added to the hole before planting.
  2. When the kumquat is loosened and removed from the pot, the very bottom roots should be gently eased out.
  3. The kumquat tree should be planted to the same level it was in its pot before being removed.
  4. When the kumquat has been planted inside the hole, the opening around it should be filled with soil and patted down.
  5. The tree should be watered immediately after planting to help settle the roots inside the soil.
  6. Organic mulch that covers the soil will help retain moisture. The mulch should not touch the trunk of the kumquat tree as it could cause the kumquat to rot.10

Citrus Trees: Disease Prevention

Other than rot caused by mulch, kumquat trees are also susceptible to root rot due to poor drainage. Furthermore, these trees suffer from pest invasions, including mealybugs, scabs, algal leaf spots, anthracnose, fruit rot, and more.

Photo of kumquat tree fruit affected by a disease.

(Image: Gemma Evans37)

Avoiding excess moisture, using well-draining soil, and spraying the tree with horticultural oil can help prevent disease and pests.

The following table details disease prevention for distinct types of citrus trees:11

Type of Citrus TreeCommon DiseaseDisease Prevention
Grapefruit Tree Disease PreventionMelanoseTrim and remove dead twigs, branches, and leaves
Citrus ScabMinimize overhead irrigation
AnthracnoseRemove dead leaf litter
Citrus Black SpotRemove dead leaf litter and prune regularly
Citrus BlastKeep ground tidy and pruning tools clean
Brown RotFungicides during early winter, prune regularly, and keep ground tidy
Citrus GreeningRemove Asian citrus psyllids immediately Remove infected trees.
Lime Tree Disease PreventionLeaf Miner24Avoid pruning during growing season
ScaleEnsure trees grow healthy in organic-rich soil
Citrus Mites25Ensure trees grow healthy in organic-rich soil
AphidsMiticide spray or natural repellants including onion, garlic, and catnip
Kumquat Tree Disease PreventionScab26Protective copper spray
Algal Leaf SpotAvoid overhead irrigation, ensure adequate sunlight, air circulation, and water
Greasy SpotProtective copper spray
AnthracnoseRemove dead leaf litter
MelanoseTrim and remove dead twigs, branches, and leaves
Citrus MitesEnsure trees grow healthy in organic-rich soil
Fruit RotAvoid overwatering, remove dead leaf litter and dead fruits
Stem-end RotReduce exposure to ethylene greening agents, remove decaying wood, fruits, leaves
GummosisProper pruning, removing dead tissue and optimal fertilization

Tree trimming is one of the actions mentioned to prevent disease, and you may be wondering how much it would cost you. To get a rough figure, check the tree trimming cost calculator.

Read More About: Maple Tree Guide: 14 Species, Types, Colors, Identification, Diseases

Dwarf Kumquat Tree

A dwarf kumquat tree is susceptible to the same types of diseases and problems as the other varieties of kumquats and other citrus trees.

If not treated, disease and pests can lead to the death of the kumquat tree. However, identifying the disease or pest timeously and treating the tree immediately can help save it.

Other causes of a dying kumquat tree include lack of nutrients, unsuitable climate, overwatering, and transplant shock.27

The following table details the most common problems that afflict kumquat trees and the symptoms that go along with them:

Kumquat Health IssueSymptoms
Insufficient water, heat stress, transplant shockWilting leaves
Insufficient water (or overwatered), transplant shock, lack of nutrients, pest invasionYellow leaves
Insufficient water, heat/frost damage, transplant shock, pest invasionBrown leaves
Evidence of pests or diseaseSpotted and decaying leaves or fruit
Insufficient water, (or overwatered), heat/frost damage, transplant shock, lack of nutrients, pest invasion or diseaseLeaf drop
Insufficient water, (or overwatered), heat/frost damage, transplant shock, lack of nutrients, lack of pollination, pest invasion or diseaseDropping fruit

A dying kumquat tree can be revived by following the next three steps:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Isolate the problem
  3. Assess the solutions one by one (least invasive to most invasive)12

If you are participating in carbon offset planting trees and found a dwarf kumquat tree that suits your preferences, you might wish to take it into consideration. Even though these trees may bring challenges, they are crucial for maintaining our ecosystem.

Understanding these wonderful trees is one thing; using them for a good purpose is another. If you’re interested in finding out how you can use the knowledge you’ve gained about kumquat trees to benefit the environment, you can start by using the results of the carbon footprint calculator as the base for your actions or you can look for the best carbon offset programs that can assist you in meeting your environmental goals.

How Long Do Kumquat Trees Live?

Kumquat trees reach maturity when they are at a height of between 8 to 15ft and their canopies are fully formed.16 The lifespan of a healthy kumquat tree is around 50 years.

A kumquat tree goes through various stages of growth before it starts bearing fruit:

  • Germination

Seed germination takes around two to four weeks. When the seed leaves sprout (after the seed sprouts), it assists in providing the kumquat seedling with the needed nutrition.

  • Juvenile

Juvenile plants grow fast, sport thorns, and don’t blossom.

  • Flowering

Once the kumquat tree reaches maturity, closed buds appear which enlarge and open after a couple of days. Kumquats don’t bloom long, but their fruit-bearing process takes a long time.

  • Fruiting

After a few years, young trees will start producing fruit and will continue to do so every year for the remainder of their lifespan.13,28

A line graph showing the average growth in height (feet) of a kumquat tree over a 15-year period, with an inset image of a kumquat tree full of orange fruits

You are now considering chopping down the tree once it has served its purpose, therefore one of your inquiries would be, “Can I cut tree down on my property?” That depends because each state has a separate set of laws. If you really think about it, 50 years is a good amount when you consider how many years the tree has given you countless advantages.

Do Kumquat Trees Have Thorns?

All citrus trees, including kumquat trees, can grow thorns. Thorns are a natural defense mechanism against animals that graze on citrus trees, to protect the tree from damage.

How Often Do Kumquat Trees Bear Fruit?

A kumquat tree usually bears fruit one year after maturing. Thereafter, the tree will produce fruit every two years.

When Do Kumquat Trees Bear Fruit?

The kumquat tree’s flowering season starts during early spring and can last into summer under the right conditions.

Close-up photo of a green kumquat tree fruit.

(Image: ziyattinkilic38)

During mid-summer, the fruits will begin to form on the tree and grow until November.

November is also the month in which harvesting is usually done, and harvesting can continue until January. Sometimes harvesting begins in December and lasts until April.

The fruit is ready to harvest when it is soft to the touch and turns a deep shade of orange.14

Kumquat Tree Flowers but No Fruit

The most common reason for a kumquat tree flowering, but not bearing fruit, is that the tree is too young. Other reasons include:

  • Wrong season
  • Too much or too little water
  • Lack of, or excess, nutrients
  • Lack of pollination

Even if a kumquat tree isn’t bearing fruit yet, it can be encouraged to bear fruit in the future.29 The best solutions to help a non-fruit-bearing kumquat tree blossom and grow fruit include the following:

  • Allowing the tree to mature
  • Keeping track of the fruiting season
  • Watering properly
  • Providing sufficient nutrients
  • Increasing pollination

How To Prune Kumquat Tree

A kumquat tree doesn’t generally need pruning more than once a year, however, extra pruning may be required if the tree grows too tall or ‘leggy.’

Pruning a kumquat is a straightforward process, and is laid out as follows:30

  • Decide on the shape
  • Remove water suckers and dead wood using a bypass lopper
  • Prune the tree from the top when the branches are larger than 1 inch in diameter, using a bypass lopper. Smaller branches can be pruned with a bypass pruner
  • Increase air circulation by pruning branches that grow across the center trunk
  • Prune only up to 25% of the tree at a time.

Where To Find Mature Kumquat Trees for Sale?

Kumquat trees of different shapes and sizes are usually available for sale at local nurseries and plant shops. Citrus nurseries usually specialize in mature kumquat plants.

Kumquat Tree for Sale

There are several states in the US where kumquat trees can be purchased, especially in the states where they are mostly grown, namely California, Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida.

Dwarf Kumquat Tree for Sale

Dwarf kumquat trees are also for sale in the US, in particular the Nagami Semi-Dwarf kumquat tree which is the most widely available kumquat in North America.

Photo of several kumquat trees plant in pots.

(Image: S O C I A L . C U T.39)

Nagami Semi-Dwarf kumquat trees can be found at nurseries and other plant shops in several states.

Kumquat Tree Price

Kumquat tree prices usually range between $29 and $99, depending on their size and in what state they are bought in.

Kumquat Tree Price Near the Following States

Kumquat tree prices differ between states. The following table indicates the average cost of a kumquat tree in or near the different states where kumquats are most commonly found:15

StateAverage Kumquat Tree Price
Kumquat Tree Price Near California$89.95
Kumquat Tree Price Near Louisiana$52.95
Kumquat Tree Price Near Alabama$59.95
Kumquat Tree Price Near Florida31$79.95

Kumquat for Sale

In addition to being for sale at nurseries and plant shops throughout the US, kumquat trees can also be purchased online from big retailers such as Walmart and websites such as Amazon and eBay.

There are several large and smaller nurseries in the US that keep kumquat trees. Some of these nurseries offer shipping services to other states, while some only offer local delivery services.

The evergreen kumquat tree can be bought just about anywhere in the US, at a price dependent on the state and on delivery requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Kumquat Tree

Where To Find Indoor Kumquat Tree for Sale?

Indoor kumquat trees are mostly found for sale in the states of California, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. In Florida, the kumquat tree is produced predominantly in Pasco County. The most common varieties of kumquat tree growing in Florida are the Nagami and Meiwa varieties.

Where To Buy Kumquat Tree Near Me?

Most nurseries in North America should have kumquat trees for sale, especially the dwarf variety of the Nagami and Meiwa kumquat trees.

Where To Find a Kumquat Tree For Sale Near Me?

A kumquat tree can be bought at a plant shop and nursery, or at large retailers and online sites such as eBay and Amazon.


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32Featured Image: España, palmera, fruit, and orange in Palmera, España Photo by Hayffield L. (2023, January 8) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved February 6, 2024, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/a-tree-filled-with-lots-of-oranges-under-a-blue-sky-GqipLrRqHFw>

33Species Information Image: Green, branch, leaf, and kumquat Photo by Paul Hanaoka. (2018, March 1) / Unsplash License. Cropped and added text, shape, and background elements. Unsplash. Retrieved January 16, 2024, from https://unsplash.com/photos/closeup-photo-of-orange-fruits-BrxVmV_TBjA <https://unsplash.com/photos/closeup-photo-of-orange-fruits-BrxVmV_TBjA>

34Photo by Vinh Thang. Resized and changed format. Unsplash. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/wuGd1NFY6WU>

35Photo by Nicola Giordano. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://pixabay.com/photos/kumquats-citrus-fruits-mandarin-3399712/>

36Photo by Beverly Buckley. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://pixabay.com/photos/bees-insects-kumquat-blossom-3928200/>

37Photo by Gemma Evans. Resized and changed format. Unsplash. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/T67OlltFyzE>

38Photo by ziyattinkilic. Resized and changed format. Pixabay. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://pixabay.com/photos/kumquat-orange-citrus-fruit-sweet-5826491/>

39Photo by S O C I A L . C U T. Resized and changed format. Unsplash. Retrieved October 14, 2022, from <https://unsplash.com/photos/51d1f6O7nuY>