Nagami Kumquat Tree: Propagation

Opportunities abound! Each initial seeming gardening “disaster” is an opportunity for me to learn and potentiallyIMG_1528 expand my gardening universe! I recently planted my 2 Nagami kumquat tree into the ground. Today was unexpectedly very windy, and a sucker or shoot growing from the side of one of these trees snapped off.

Normally, suckers are removed since they can compete with the plant for nutrients, which affects the productivity (fruiting) of the tree. It seems nature took care of that for me!

I decided to see if I can propagate this kumquat tree by way of snapped-off tree sucker. I don’t know if this will be successful, but if it is, I’ll have a third kumquat tree, which would be most welcome!

HOW TO:  With garden shears, I made a clean cut of the broken-off end of the sucker. I then ran a little tap water on the cut end and dipped the cut end into a small plastic bottle containing  powdered rooting hormone. I tapped off the excess rooting hormone. I placed the sucker into a potting-soiled filled container and gently tied it to a wooden stake. I added enough water to just moisten the soil.

It is my hope that this strategy will be successful. If so, I will try to grow this kumquat tree in a container for the time being and compare its productivity to that of the 2 in-ground grown trees.


14 Responses

  1. So, How is it going with the sucker kumquat? Did it die right away or is it growing strong? If this works for you, then I am prepared to try this method as well! Good luck!

    • Dear Angela,
      Unfortunately, no, the sucker died shortly after planting. I’ll keep trying to propagate the kumquat, though, via seed from the fruit itself (please see my May 24 post). Many thanks for visiting my blog!

      • After reading your article, I thought you might like my 2cents worth.
        I think you will have more success if you try either air or ground layering, the practice is common and usually the results are rewarding. Both techniques generally take one growing season.

      • Dear Dan,
        I very much appreciate your helpful suggestions! Many thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. I live in southern Michigan. We just came back from Florida and brought back a Meiwa kumquat tree. It’s in a pot and only about 18 inch tall. I never tried to grow one before. When it will bear fruits, I will try to start one from seeds and see what happen.

    • Congratulations, Erika, on your new Meiwa kumquat tree. Please do let me know if you are successful starting a tree from seed. Thanks so much for visiting my blog!

  3. I am interested in kumquat seeds. I bought one at age five and think it was Fortunella crassifolia or
    Fortunella japonica or the Monglian variety. Round orange fruit, very sweet rind, sour pith. Thorns. White flowers. Bloomed indoors 3-5 times per year. Almost 2 meters in 16 years.

    I never branch rooted my thorny kumquat. The seeds did very well; gave away seedlings to more than 100 people. Bopped around the country and world and lost touch with everyone that had one.

    Grafting to apropriate root stock is advised by experts. My seedlings always were hardy. Do not let the seeds dry out or they might not germinate.

    Thank you for your time and help.

    • Dear Tim,
      I’m curious if any of your previous seedlings, started from seeds, resulted in kumquat trees that produced fruits. One of my Nagami kumquat trees has produced fruits that are nearly ripe and when they are, I will collect some seeds to see if trees started from seed will be productive. As you’ve mentioned, grafting to root stock is the advised method (also see, but I’m still willing to try nonetheless.

      Unfortunately, I do not know of any purveyors of kumquat seeds, but, if available, I’d probably look at my nearest market or farmers’ market to buy a few fruits for that specific purpose.

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog!

  4. Dear Janedata,

    Nice to hear from you. My plant was potted, very heavy at the end, placed outdoors for three seasons in upstate NY. Not able to move it indoors when I could not travel home from college on Thanksgiving, my parents left it for Xmas break. Although hardy, it did not make it through sub-zero weather. I had thought it would outlive me.

    To your question, I gave away most of the seedlings at 6-12 inches, well before the productive stage. Although mine, purchased at a grocery store, was full of fruit at about 12 inches when I bought it. As I recall, I had a few that after 4-5 years had flowers. They were immediately gifted, and I never saw what fruit was born.

    As you must know, grafted shoots produce identical fruit with similar yields. Seed grown offspring might produce similar fruit, may take many additional years to bear fruit if any and may have only a fraction of the yield. I assumed, during my own seedling years, that it had to be self pollinating as it was indoors for years and that the fruit had to be identical. I wish I could test this myself.

    Best to you. Good luck. Keep the faith. Hope I was some help.


  5. I am still looking for the proper identification of the plant I had as well as a source for seeds and/or plants of same variety.

    If anyone has more information, please let me know.

    Thank you again.


  6. Update,

    From a number of sources, fortunella hindsii may be the identification or fortunella fukushu. The fruit of my plant was scarlet orange, round at about 2 cm, 5 or more segments, large seeds, sweet thin rind and sour pulp.

    Hope that helps.


    • Dear Tim,
      I looked at the website, Based on your description, it looks like your plant “may” be the following:
      ‘Hong Kong’, or Hong Kong Wild (F. Hindsii Swing.), called chin chü, shan chin kan, and chin tou by the Chinese–native to Hong Kong and adjacent hilly and mountainous regions of Kwantung and Chekiang Provinces of China; nearly round, 5/8 to 3/4 in (1.6-2 cm) wide; peel orange or scarlet when ripe, thin, not very fleshy; pulp in only 3 or 4 small segments; seeds plump. Chinese people flock to the foothills to gather the fruits in season. In the western world, the very thorny shrub is grown only as an ornamental pot plant.

      As mentioned in a previous reply, I do not know of any purveyors of kumquat seeds and/or plants of this same variety. My recommendation would be to contact your local nursery to see if they can make a special order for you. In my case, I went to my local Orchard Supply Hardware store and found my Nagami kumquat plants. Very best of luck to you in your search for your kumquat seeds/plants!

  7. Dear Janedata,

    Thank you for the update. I saw the same publication in my search online. Your Nagami are very popular and widely grown commercialy. I will consult with nurseries in Fla and CA to see if they can help. My RI nursery people think I am on a lost cause.

    Best to you.


  8. “Normally, suckers are removed since they can compete with the plant for nutrients, which affects the productivity (fruiting) of the tree. It seems nature took care of that for me!”

    The word “sucker” in the case of a citrus (or Kumquat) tree generally refers to a branch that originates from below a graft point, or from the rootstock. Citrus trees are often grated onto a completely different type of rootstock (sour orange, trifoliate orange,etc) to give the tree more cold hardiness, resistance to certain diseases,etc.
    If your tree was grown from seed, then you merely removed one of the tree’s own lower branches. The tree’s own branches are not going to compete with the tree itself. If anything, removing branches at this young stage can actually delay flowering / fruiting because citrus trees need to reach a certain “leaf node” count before they know to fruit.

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