Here is a lovely tree that has everything going for it, everything, that is, except cold hardiness. It is the Bronze loquat, or Eriobotrya deflexa. This is one of the more tropical loquats and is even more limited in range than its better known cousin, the Japanese loquat, or Eriobotrya japonica. But the lack of cold tolerance may not be too big of a problem if it is kept in mind that Bronze loquat is small enough for pot culture or could be accommodated in most greenhouses and its assets are so excellent that its more than worth the extrea effort. And for those who live in warm weather areas such as the southern US and Australia, then this is a must-have garden treasure.

Bronze loquat has a neat habit and compact growth making it an ideal specimen or patio tree, or even street tree since it can be grown beneath power lines. It also blends well into a shrub border and can be espaliered against a south facing wall, which is popular in the UK. Bronze loquat only reaches a height of 15 to 20 feet with a 10 to 15 foot spread if grown in full sun. Its chief asset is the large, heavily textured, evergreen leaves, which, when emerging in spring, are bright red-bronze and burnished copper. And they maintain this color for a considerable period of time before eventually turning a rich dark green for summer. In addition to the striking foliar display there are small, white flowers, produced on showy panicles in spring. The flowers are also fragrant and will perfume your garden for weeks. These are followed by small fruits, similar to the Japanese loquat but not as palatable, though the wildlife will appreciate them.

Bronze loquat should be well watered until established, but can then survive periodic droughts. It should not be over fertilized since this may increase the risk of fire blight. Other than that it is quite healthy and maintenance free. It is a great choice for warm winter areas or the conservatory. As usual, it will not be easily found, but the specialty tree nurseries are the best source.

Bronze loquat


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