Flowering Quince Pruning: Tips On Pruning A Flowering Quince

Flowering Quince Bush
prune flowering quince
(Image credit: servickuz)

Flowering quince offer colorful blossoms in springtime. However, most gardeners plant flowering quince for the fruit that develops from the flowers. Although this shrub generally requires little maintenance, pruning a flowering quince is essential to helping the plant develop a framework that allows ample flowering and fruiting. Read on for more information about flowering quince pruning.

Flowering Quince Pruning

You’ll need to trim flowering quince back between autumn and before leaf break-in in springtime. This is the case with most other bushes that flower in spring. Most light pruning is generally undertaken just after flowering. Heavy structural pruning is done in winter while the plant is dormant. Failure to trim flowering quince can result in leggy, overgrown plants. 

Pruning a flowering quince encourages the tree to produce vigorous new growth. Since the shrub flowers and fruits only on new wood, new growth is important. Look for the small, lateral branches; those are the ones that produce flowers and fruits. When you are cutting back flowering quince correctly, you are ensuring that the plant has an open framework that allows generous fruit production.

Tips on Cutting Back Flowering Quince

One goal of cutting back flowering quince is to open up the center of the plant. To that end, inspect growth on the inside of the tree and trim flowering quince growth in this area. If you do this during winter dormancy, it is easiest on the tree. However, since the shrub produces flowers on one-year-old wood, trimming in winter removes flower buds. 

Prune out up to one-quarter of the oldest branches that are close to the ground. Prune back the longest branches to lateral buds. While you are pruning a flowering quince, trim off all dead, damaged, or crowded branches. Remove these completely and close to the trunk. Always use sharp pruners disinfected with a solution of bleach and water.

How to Prune an Overgrown Flowering Quince

If your flowering quince has not been trimmed in years, you may wonder how to prune an overgrown flowering quince. The easiest way to rejuvenate these shrubs is to cut them all the way to the ground in early spring. The flowering quince regrows from its roots into a shorter plant with lots of flowers. 

Only renew a flowering quince in this fashion once every three to five years, and don’t do it if the shrub has more than one dead branch to begin with. Consider rejuvenation if the shrub looks woody and produces little fruit. Note that your flowering quince will not bloom at all the first year after it is cut back.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.