Kumquats – Symbols of good luck and prosperity

11 February 2013

Nagami Kumquats in pewter dishes from TeenieCakes.com
Nagami Kumquats

It’s at this time of year that kumquat trees are bearing their olive-sized fruits in abundance. The height of its season coincides with the Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year).


The Kumquat plant are fruit-bearing trees with fruit that look like small oval or round oranges. Depending on the size of the kumquat tree, they can produce literally hundreds if not thousands of fruit a year. The plant symbolizes good luck in Asian countries. They are kept has houseplants and are common gifts during the Lunar New Year. The flowers symbolize prosperity and are popular floral decorations at new year markets. Kumquat trees are used as ornamental plants and can be bonsaied.

Nagami Kumquats in wooden baskets from TeenieCakes.com
Nagami Kumquats

The fruit is eaten whole with its edible peel that is sweet in contrast to the flesh inside that is quite sour. It can be consumed raw or enjoyed in various other culinary dishes and desserts. Common uses include marmalades, preserves, salads and I can imagine it tossed into a stir-fry.

I’ve had difficulty finding kumquats in local markets. However, when I have stumbled across them, they can be quite expensive. How to remedy that challenge? Try growing kumquats yourself…

Growing Kumquats
Kumquats are hardier than other citrus cousins and can survive in low temperatures. In warmer regions they grow better and may produce larger fruit.

A couple of years ago, we brought home a 5-gallon Nagami Kumquat (oval fruit) tree. I have no idea how old the plant was when we transplanted it to a larger patio planter, but the first year it did not flower, thus no fruit. Throughout last year, I watched it closely, making sure it had as much sun as possible, administered citrus fertilizer stakes to compensate for the lack of nutrients the soil it was planted in must have lacked. With much TLC and patience, the first signs of sweet smelling flowers that eventually bore fruit were this novice gardener’s reward!

Last year we added a Fukushu Kumquat (round or bell shaped fruit) tree and hopefully with the same tender-loving-care, we’ll enjoy fruit from that tree by next season. I’m looking forward to comparing the two trees and the qualities of their fruits.

Nagami Kumquat Tree from TeenieCakes.com
The Nagami Kumquat Tree

Previous Posts Using Kumquats

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by Cristina A-Moore

Garden Fresh · Photography · Spring · Winter

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

zerrin February 20, 2013

Thank you for this informative post! I saw these little guys in our local market for the first time a few weeks ago and didn’t have an idea about what it was. When I asked the vendor, he wasn’t sure either. It was so expensive, and I didn’t buy any, but I was curious! Now I’ve learnt a lot from you! I can even grow it myself!

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Cristina February 20, 2013

Hey Zerrin!! How have you been?

Thank you for the comment and hope you’ll be able to check out the kumquats and give them a try before they’re out of the markets this season. :D

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Stephanie (Velez Delights) February 18, 2013

This was really informative! I had heard of kumquats but never really knew anything about them.

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Cristina February 18, 2013

Hi Stephanie: Yeah, it seems kumquats don’t get as much fanfare here either. Hopefully they’ll start getting some more luv and attention as more people are introduced to them and more ideas on how to use them are shared (because they are quite tart). :)

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wok with ray February 14, 2013

Oh my goodness, Cristina. These shots are amazing especially the first one. It looks like a painting on a canvas. It is stunning! I love kumquats and love eating it by itself. This post is making me think to grow one. Is there a particular soil to use to grow kumquats?

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Cristina February 15, 2013

Thank you, Ray! I’m about to plant a couple more citrus trees and still doing a little research about it. I’m sure the regular Miracle Grow soil I used was a big part of the problem so I needed to carefully administer citrus fertilizer food/stakes to compensate for the lack of something in the soil. I will update here and email you with what I find out. :) I’m still a bit citrus tree challenged, although my Meyer Lemon tree has been relatively pretty easy (except for one year, no lemons!)

Would love to know if you get a kumquat tree. Right now’s a good time to pick a kumquat tree up while they still have fruit on them right now. They are beautiful in planters and such a joy when they’re adorned with the little orange fruit and fragrant white flowers.

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wok with ray February 18, 2013

I am looking forward to your update. I will check my local nursery if they have kumquats available. Thank you, Cristina! :)

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 14, 2013

Lovely shots, the light in the first is sensational.

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Cristina February 15, 2013

Hi Sylvie and thank you!! :)

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Joyti February 13, 2013

I have a bag of kumquats in the ‘fridge. I was thinking about candying them – similar to the “sugared kumquats in syrup” that you so deliciously paired with a dark chocolate mousse.

Gorgeous, gorgeous shots, by the way.

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Cristina February 13, 2013

Hi Joyti: That’s exactly what I’d do with them too! Sugaring them, you can use it on ice creams, custards, cheesecakes, etc. Also, was thinking it’d make a good syrup for mixed drinks. :)

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GourmetGetaways February 12, 2013

Your images are absolutely amazing!!
I have never had a lot of success growing citrus but maybe I need to try cumquats :)

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Cristina February 13, 2013

Thank you GG: Give the kumquat plant a try…with the proper soil, fertlizers and tlc you may have a tree of these tart, beautiful fruit. :D Have a lovely week!

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