Chaenomeles speciosa (China)
(= C. lagenaria)
Habit: Dense shoots, normal shrub, 2-3 m tall and wide, occasionally 3-5 m wide, extended far, somewhat twisting, broadly domed when old, medium to fast-growing.
Flowers: Flame signal-red or blood-red in small clusters, (March) April to May, somewhat later than C. japonica, usually when leaves shoot; sometimes with second blossoms in later summer.
Fruits: Green-yellow or green-orange, aromatic, useful.
Leaves: Slenderly ovoid, kidney-shaped lateral leaves on petioles; slightly bronze while leaves shoot at end of April, later shiny medium-green, persistent into November, no autumn colours.
Roots: Shallow, sensitive to soil compaction, forming runners.
Demands: Only has numerous flowers in the sun; tolerates heat – then only flowering briefly, flowers occasionally sensitive to late frost, but otherwise frost hardy, not demanding, needs wind protection.
Soil: Moderately dry to fresh, not too moist, on all nutritious, well drained substrates, acidic to slightly alkaline, leaves turning a sickly yellow on too much chalk (chlorosis).
Note: Cut back old shrubs after flowering to 10 cm of twig length.
Our tip: Like many Rosaceaes, it can be used as a trellis plant. On warm south-facing walls, it not only flowers early, but also grows larger than when free-standing. The strong-growing varieties are up to 3 m tall and wide. Training can be done in the summer. All superfluous lateral twigs are shortened by August down to 5 buds; this produces many flowers for the coming spring. The first 2-3 years, flowers are, however, rare. Only the leaders are tied to the trellis.