Kumquat Tree Growth Stages

Understanding the life cycle of a kumquat tree will help you be a better gardener. What are its growth stages.

The kumquat (Fortunella japonica or Citrus japonica) is a little citrus tree that thrives in areas where other citrus trees cannot grow due to the climate. Kumquat trees have dark green, shrub-like foliage that rarely requires pruning. 

Kumquats are an evergreen tree native to China. They are valued for their culinary and ornamental qualities. Dwarf varieties are ideal for growing in containers so that home gardeners can bring them inside during the winter in colder climates. 

Kumquat trees undergo several growth stages before they start bearing fruits. The average lifespan of kumquat trees is about 50 years. At maturity, they can reach a height of 8 to 15 feet and form a rounded or vase-like canopy. 

They make excellent garden trees because the orange fruit stays on the tree and provides color to the space for a long time. If you want to try your hand at growing kumquat trees, learn everything you can about them to avoid problems in the future.

ripe margarita kumquat ready for harvest


Kumquat seeds appear green due to the light green hue of the seed leaves, which are visible through its thin seed coat. It could take two to four weeks for the seeds to germinate. 

After the seed sprouts, the radicle, which functions as the seed’s first root, appears. The radicle penetrates the soil, absorbs moisture, and serves as the supplier of nutrients. 

Next, seed leaves sprout, assisting in nourishing the kumquat seedling as it grows. During the next few weeks, the seedling produces new true leaves and grows to a height of 2 to 3 inches. At this point, the seedling is ready to be transplanted.


Juvenile plants are distinguished by their rapid growth, thorns, and inability to blossom. However, the kumquat tree does not have real thorns. The sapling concentrates its energy on vegetative development at this time to withstand the weight of the fruits during the fruiting phase. 

young kumquat plant in a small planter


Buds appear on the kumquat tree when it reaches maturity. The closed buds enlarge and open after a few days. Little white flowers can be found inside the leaves individually or in groups. 

Kumquat trees are self-pollinating, so you only need to cultivate one tree to harvest fruits. In the middle of the blooming season, petals from the first flowers will start to fall off. The remaining flowers will expand and mature into kumquat fruit. The kumquat has a short blooming season but takes a long time to bear fruit. 

little white kumquat flowers


Young trees can start producing fruit after a few years and will continue to do so yearly for the remainder of their lives. It takes 7 to 10 years to grow from seed to fruit. 

The ovary develops into the immature fruit with around a 0.19-inch longitudinal diameter. Like most citrus fruits, the young fruit collects water and nutrients throughout the cell expansion stage, when 80% of the fruit’s final size is determined.

In about 90 days, when the fruit has achieved its full size and color, it is ready for harvest. The fruit is bright orange-yellow, round or oval, and typically one inch in diameter. Its flesh is juicy, slightly acidic, and has sweet and edible pulpy skin.

Despite their extended winter dormancy, kumquats produce a lot of fruit, with some varieties flowering and bearing fruit twice a year.

a mature kumquat tree with fruits ready for harvest
Phillis Butler
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