Sun exposure:
Dappled shade, full shade, full sun, partial shade
East facing, north facing, south facing, west facing
Position in border:


Acidic / Chalky / Alkaline / Clay / Heavy / Moist / Well Drained / Light / Sandy

The Japanese quince, Chaenomeles japonica, is invaluable for early spring colour when its bright orange-red flowers stud its bare thorny stems for weeks. The flowers often mature into rounded green or yellow quinces, which can be made into a delicious jelly.

Chaenomeles japonica is an incredibly easy shrub to grow. It's tolerant of virtually any soil and can also be trained to grow up a shady wall.

When to prune Chaenomeles japonica

Prune Japanese quince annually, after flowering. It produces flowers on growth made the previous year, so pruning straight after flowering gives the plant a chance to make new growth in time for the next flowering season.

First, cut out any branches that are dead, diseased, weak or damaged, as well as any that are crossing. Cut back to the base of the plant or to the point where they emerge from the main stem. Once you've done that, shorten new stems to two or three buds from the base and prune around 20 per cent of older stems, cutting down to the base. If your shrub is trained against a wall, tie in any new shoots.

How to propagate Chaenomeles japonica

There are two ways to propagate Japanese quince – by semi ripe cuttings in summer or by layering in autumn.

Semi ripe cuttings are hard at the base but soft at the tip. Cut off a shoot 10-15cm long that has at least two sets of leaves below the top set. Store them in a plastic bag if you are not potting up straight away. Trim the shoot just below a node (the place where a leaf or bud is). Remove the lowest sets of leaves, leaving one set at the top of the cutting. Stick the cutting into a small pot of peat-free cuttings compost. Water and keep the cuttings in a propagator or cold frame until they have rooted.

Or you can try layering, which involves bending a shoot down to root in the soil, while attached to the parent plant. This is also easy and can be done in autumn.

Plant calendar

Take cuttingsyesyesyes

Chaenomeles and wildlife

Chaenomeles is known for attracting bees. It has nectar/pollen rich flowers.

Is known to attract Bees
Is not known to attract Beneficial insects
Beneficial insects
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Butterflies/​Moths
Is not known to attract Other pollinators
Other pollinators

Is Chaenomeles poisonous?

Chaenomeles has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:
Is not known to attract Birds
Is not known to attract Cats
Is not known to attract Dogs
Is not known to attract Horses
Is not known to attract Livestock
Is not known to attract People
Plants that go well with Chaenomeles japonica