Have you been eying the kumquat tree in your neighbor’s yard and wishing you had one of your own? You might be surprised to learn that your kumquat dream is more achievable than you realized. All you need is a healthy cutting from a kumquat tree to grow your own.
Citrus trees are some of the most rewarding fruit plants to grow in your garden. Not only do they grow great in containers and produce large yields, but you can easily double or triple the number of trees you have. In this guide, you’ll learn how to grow kumquats from cuttings using two different methods.
Preparing You Materials to Grow Kumquats from Cuttings
Like all citrus trees, kumquats can easily be grown from the cuttings of a healthy tree. However, although you can root them by cutting, almost all kumquats are grafted onto some other rootstock.
Before you start the planting process, you need to prepare to graft or plant your cuttings. The materials you need will vary slightly depending on the method that you use.
Both methods will require:
- A pot
- Planting medium
- Sterilized knife
- Rooting hormone.
You may also want a heating mat and a large clear bin to help control the temperature and humidity of your growing area.
Prepare your pot by filling it with a planting medium, such as soil or coconut coir. Coconut coir is the ideal rooting medium for citrus trees. It is the natural fiber found between the internal shell and outer coat of a coconut. It works well for rooting because of its ability to retain a large amount of water while also providing soil structure and aeration. It can be purchased in dry bricks that are expanded by adding water.
Preparing Materials for Grafting
For the grafting process, you will need a precut wrapping material and rubber bands. Parafilm-M works great as a wrapping material. It is a semi-transparent, waterproof material that is often used in research, clinical, and industrial laboratories.
Collect Kumquat Cuttings
To avoid infecting your cuttings with any pathogens, make sure to sterilize your tools. This can be done by spraying them with chlorine bleach at a concentration of 1.5%.
The best time to collect a cutting is when there is a lot of new growth happening on the tree. Try to pick a green branch near the bottom that isn’t too woody. Make sure the leaves are healthy and that there is no damage to the stem.
Your cutting should be about 8 inches long and only have about two leaves. This will make sure that the plant is putting its energy toward growing roots instead of sustaining the leaves.
Using the Z Grafting Technique for Kumquat Cuttings
Grafting is the act of taking two pieces of two different trees (a rootstock and a scion) and putting them together. There are various ways to do this, but the Z grafting technique works great for grafting kumquats, even if the cuttings are oddly shaped.
When grafting, you will need a rootstock from another tree and the scion, which is the cutting from your kumquat tree. Trifoliate orange root cuttings seem to work best when grafting kumquats. When using the knife, make sure to take extra precautions, so you don’t cut yourself. Some grafters will use specialized gloves to protect their hands.
To start grafting, cut off the top of the rootstock at about a 45-degree angle. Next, cut off a small piece of the longer end of the rootstock at a slight angle. From there, cut a thin strip into the end of the rootstock, leaving it attached.
For the next step, you’re going to repeat what you did on the rootstock to the scion. Cut off the bottom of the scion at a 45-degree angle, then cut a small piece off the longer end. Finally, cut a strip into the longer end of the scion.
After your scion and rootstock are cut, it’s time to put them together. Fit the scion into the rootstock in the form of a Z. Then, wrap the graft union together with the Parafilm-M and rubber bands to seal the graft and hold it in place.
Here is a quick video of the Z grafting technique if you need a visual.
Rooting the Kumquat Cutting
After your graft is sealed together, the next step is to prepare it for planting. Cut off the bottom end of the rootstock, dip it in root hormone, and stick it in your pot.
To achieve the ideal temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, place your planting tray on top of a heated mat. You’ll also want to maintain high humidity. This can be done by covering the plants with a clear storage container.
Growing Kumquats from Cuttings without Grafting
Growing kumquats from cuttings without grafting is also possible. Once you have your cutting, simply cut the bottom at a 45-degree angle, dip it in root hormone, and plant it.
Once again, you will want to maintain the temperature and humidity for the best results.
Growing kumquats from cuttings can be a fun and rewarding project. Hopefully, this guide gave you all the information you need to propagate your own trees so you can have fresh citrus for years to come.