GRAND HAVEN, Mich. – Flowering quince might be seen as “old fashioned” by home gardeners today, but new and improved varieties are bringing this classic back into popularity.
Also known as chaenomeles or “Japanese quince,” flowering quince is among the first shrubs to flower in early spring. It also flowers before it has leaves, creating an interesting contrast of colorful flowers on bare wood.
So why isn’t flowering quince more popular? Perhaps it’s because of its spiny thorns.
“I think every gardener can agree it’s never fun to have your hands ripped to shreds in the garden, and the old varieties of flowering quince were full of thorns,” said Tim Wood, new products manager at Proven Winners ColorChoice.
Recently a breeding team at North Carolina State has taken the thorns out of flowering quince. Called the Double Take Series, these new thornless varieties also offer doubled-flowers in dramatic red, pink and orange hues.
In addition, the flowers contain higher petal counts, and resemble camellias more than traditional quince, creating a burst of color in your garden in stark contrast to anything else in the landscape.
Key features of Double Take Series:
- Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa).
- Early spring color (February - April).
- Thornless – No more pricked fingers.
- Hardy in USDA zones 5 – 8.
- Part sun to full sun.
- Low maintenance – drought tolerant when established.
- Fruitless – No more dropped fruit requiring clean up.
- Size: 3 to 4 feet tall – fits gardens large & small.
“We believe the Double Take Series of flowering quince have the potential to reinvent an old-time favorite in the minds of today’s gardeners, and make flowering quince popular once again,” Wood said. “Flowering quince puts on a brief but exciting show, unique from other early bloomers, such as forsythia. With the Double Take series, you get rich and deep color – warming you up on a cold spring day and getting you pumped about being out in your garden. The time is right for people to rediscover the flowering quince, and Proven Winners is leading this trend with the Double Take series.”
Included in the Double Take Series are three new quinces:
Double Take ‘Scarlet Storm’ (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Scarlet Storm’ PPAF)
- Big, dark red, velvety double flowers.
- 17 to 25 petals per flower.
- Unlike many flowering quinces, tends to have flowers all the way out to the tips of its branches.
- Occasional repeat blooms.
Double Take ‘Pink Storm’ (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Pink Storm’ PPAF)
- Large double flowers, 2-inches in diameter.
- 29-40 petals per flower.
- Salmon or coral colored flower.
- Flowers resemble sweetheart roses.
Double Take ‘Orange Storm’ (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Orange Storm’ PPAF)
- Big, bright orange camellia-like blooms.
- Double flowers with 31-49 petals per flower.
- Occasional repeat blooms.
The Double Take Series of flowering quince will have limited availability in garden centers for 2011, with widespread availability at retail starting in 2012.