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The Japanese medlar (Eriobotrya japonica) is the best-known of the medlars from Asia, which are related to the native medlars - both species belong to the rose family - but are otherwise not identical. The plant, also known as Loquat or Nispero, is mainly cultivated for its plum-sized, apricot-like fruits and, especially in our country, for its evergreen, shiny foliage. However, the Japanese loquat is not definitely frost or winter hardy here.

Temperatures below -8°C can cause lasting damage to fruits and trees

German winters are unpredictable

You can often read on the Internet that Japanese loquats are hardy down to minus 15 °C (and sometimes even more) and can therefore be overwintered outdoors without any problems. However, gardening experience teaches us the opposite, because these trees, which grow up to about 12 meters high in their homeland, are actually quite robust, but they are not at all frost-hardy or even snow-tolerant. The shrubs and trees usually survive mild winters outside without any problems, but as soon as the temperatures drop sharply - for example to less than five to eight °C - there is a risk of frost damage or even death of the tree from freezing.

Plant loquat or not?

For this reason, you should refrain from planting the tree in the garden, because German winters are known to be unpredictable. What may go well for a few years thanks to mild winters - the loquat grows and thrives outdoors all year round - can be wiped out by a single harsh winter. If you still want to plant the plant, it is best to place it in a sheltered location near a heat-emitting house wall. In addition, the tree should always be wrapped up warm when there is a threat of severe sub-zero temperatures, whereby the roots and trunk in particular must be protected from the cold.

Overwinter loquat in a pot

However, it is better to leave the loquat in the pot and bring it indoors or in the greenhouse from November. Here the tree overwinters in a bright and frost-free but cool location at around five to a maximum of ten degrees Celsius. Water the plant regularly so it doesn't dry out, but discontinue all fertilization. Larger specimens can sometimes spend the winter in a nursery for a fee - just ask your trusted gardener.

tips

Packed accordingly warm, the Japanese loquat can of course also overwinter on the balcony, provided the temperatures do not drop too much. You should wrap both the planter and the plant in fleece or something similar, but air exchange must be possible - otherwise the little tree will get moldy under its winter cover.

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