Native to southeastern China, the loquat tree adapts well to subtropical or mild-temperature climates. The loquat tree is sensitive to heat and cold extremes, its flower buds dying when exposed to temperatures below 19 degrees F. and its leaves scorching from extreme summer heat. If you live in a cooler climate, you can still plant loquat trees, but they won’t bear fruit. To enjoy fruit-bearing loquat trees, you should avoid planting the trees outdoors if you live in a climate with temperature extremes–grow the trees in pots indoors instead. With the right climate, however, loquat trees are rather easy to plant and grow.
Plant your loquat tree in relatively non-saline soil that has good drainage. Choose a location that is on the south or southeast side of your house so the tree receives maximum protection from the cold. Locate your loquat tree in a spot that receives full, direct sunlight.
Dig a hole that is deep and wide enough to insert the root ball. Run the root ball under water to remove any non-soil media from the sides and top to expose some of the roots.
Set the root ball in the hole and backfill the displaced soil and pack it down lightly. Dig a water ring in the soil around the tree. Water the tree well after planting and then every three or four days during the first week.
Fertilize your loquat tree lightly after new growth appears and three times each year during the growing season thereafter. When fertilizing, use a one-pound application of 6-6-6 NPK after the tree is eight to 10 feet in height.
Provide your loquat tree with regular, deep watering. Do not allow any standing water. Water the tree well when the blossoms swell. The loquat tree is extraordinarily drought-tolerant, but be sure to water two to three times during harvest.
Prune your loquat tree thoroughly when it’s mature enough to begin bearing fruit. You should prune just after harvest and remove crossing branches, dense growth and spent terminal shoots. The loquat tree begins to bear fruit when it is two to three years old.