Chinese quince Chaenomeles cathayensis

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Chinese flowering quince


Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as Chinese quince, is a deciduous or partially evergreen shrub known for its attractive appearance. The plant boasts a dense growth habit with often tangled, spiny branches. The leaves are broadly oval to oblong, glossy, and have finely toothed edges, emerging in a fresh green color that turns to a richer, deeper hue as seasons change. One of the most captivating aspects of the Chinese quince is its flowers. Blossoming prior to the foliage in early spring, the flowers are large, showy, and usually single, exhibiting a range of colors from white to shades of pink and red. The petals are broad and rounded, enveloping the plant in a vibrant floral display that can bring a welcome splash of color to gardens after the winter months. Following the flowering period, the Chinese quince produces fruit that is somewhat pear-shaped, with a golden-yellow skin when ripe. The fruit has a strong fragrance and can persist on the plant well into the cooler months, providing visual interest throughout the year. The bark on mature specimens can also become quite handsome, with an aged, mottled appearance that includes intriguing textures and a rugged character. Overall, the Chinese quince is a plant of great ornamental value, offering multi-seasonal interest through its flowers, foliage, fruit, and bark.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Chinese Quince, Cathay Quince, Ornamental Quince

    • Common names

      Chaenomeles lagenaria, Chaenomeles laganaria, Cydonia laganaria, Cydonia lagenaria, Pyrus cathayensis

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as Chinese quince, is not widely reported to be toxic to humans. However, like many plants, it may cause irritation or an allergic reaction if ingested or handled improperly. Typically, the fruits are hard and astringent but become edible after cooking, suggesting that they should not be consumed raw. While there is limited information on the toxicity of this specific species, members of the Chaenomeles genus are not generally recognized as poisonous. If a person did ingest a part of the plant and experience symptoms such as stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, they should seek medical attention as these could be signs of an adverse reaction or gastrointestinal distress.

    • To pets

      Chinese quince is not commonly listed among plants that are toxic to pets. However, as with any non-food plant, ingestion of large quantities can potentially lead to gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea in some pets. While there is no widespread evidence of severe poisoning from this plant, it's always prudent to prevent pets from eating plants that are not specifically intended for their consumption. If a pet shows signs of illness after eating any part of the plant, consultation with a veterinarian is advised.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-10 feet (1.8-3 m)

    • Spread

      4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 m)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Landscape aesthetics - Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as Chinese quince, adds ornamental value to gardens with its attractive flowers and fruit.
    • Pollinator attraction - The flowers of the Chinese quince attract bees and other pollinators, supporting local ecosystems.
    • Wildlife food source - The fruit can serve as a food source for various bird species and small mammals.
    • Erosion control - The plant's root system can help stabilize soil and reduce erosion when planted on slopes or disturbed areas.
    • Drought resistance - Chinese quince is relatively drought-tolerant once established, making it suitable for xeriscaping or low-water gardens.
    • Culinary uses - The fruit can be used to make preserves, jellies, and other culinary preparations, although this is not commonly practiced due to its astringent taste.
    • Traditional crafts - The hard, yellowish wood is sometimes used in traditional carving and craftwork.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Anti-inflammatory: Contains compounds which may help reduce inflammation in the body.
    • Antioxidant: Possesses antioxidants that protect the body from oxidative stress and may help prevent certain diseases.
    • Astringent: The plant extracts are used in traditional medicine for their astringent properties that help to tighten and tone the skin.
    • Antimicrobial: Exhibits antimicrobial activity that can help in fighting against certain bacteria and fungi.
    • Hepatoprotective: May offer protection to the liver from various toxic substances, according to some pharmacological studies.
    Please note that these uses may come from traditional or anecdotal sources and should not replace professional medical advice.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as the Chinese quince, can be used in floral arrangements for its unique branching patterns and spring blossoms, adding an exotic touch to bouquets and table centerpieces.
    • The fruit of the Chinese quince is high in pectin, making it an excellent choice for creating homemade jellies and preserves with a distinct tart flavor.
    • Chinese quince wood is hard and can be used for making small carved items like handles, ornaments, and intricate decorative objects.
    • The plant's dense thicket-forming tendency allows it to be employed as a natural fencing or hedging component, providing both privacy and security barriers in landscaping.
    • Due to its ornamental flowers and fruit, Chinese quince can be cultivated for bonsai, offering a visually appealing miniature representation of the tree's natural form.
    • Chinese quince's substantial root system makes it suitable for soil erosion control, particularly on slopes and banks where it can help stabilize the ground.
    • The fallen fruit of the Chinese quince can be used as a natural compost ingredient, adding nutrients back to the soil as it decomposes.
    • With appropriate pruning, the Chinese quince can be shaped into decorative topiaries for formal gardens or theme parks.
    • Due to its tolerance for a range of soils and climates, the Chinese quince can be utilized in reforestation and land rehabilitation projects.
    • The aromatic fruit of the Chinese quince can be dried and used in potpourris or as a natural air freshener, imparting a fresh, fruity scent to living spaces.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Chinese Quince is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Chinese Quince is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as Chinese quince, is a hardy plant that can survive in harsh conditions, symbolizing the ability to withstand adversity.
    • Beauty and Grace: With its attractive blossoms, the Chinese quince represents beauty, grace, and the appreciation of nature's artistry.
    • Prosperity and Good Fortune: The fruit of the Chinese quince is rich and fragrant, often symbolizing abundance, wealth, and good luck.
    • New Beginnings and Fertility: The blooming cycle of the Chinese quince ushers in the spring, symbolizing renewal, fresh starts, and fertility.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The Chinese quince should be watered deeply and slowly to allow the water to reach the roots, typically using about 1 gallon of water per session for a newly planted shrub. During the active growing season in spring and summer, water the plant once a week if there hasn't been significant rainfall. For established plants, watering can be reduced to every two or three weeks, monitoring the soil moisture to prevent overwatering. In hot, dry conditions, increase watering frequency, and in winter, reduce it to only when the soil is dry to the touch, as the plant is dormant and requires less moisture.

  • sunLight

    The Chinese quince thrives in full sun to partial shade. It performs best when it receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily, so a spot that provides bright, unfiltered sun for most of the day is ideal. However, in regions with very intense sun, some afternoon shade can help protect the plant from potential scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Chinese quince is cold-hardy and can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees Fahrenheit, making it suitable for a wide range of climates. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during its growing season. It can survive in temperatures up to about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but it's important to ensure adequate water and protection from the hottest sun in these conditions.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Chinese quince to maintain its shape and remove any dead or diseased wood. It's best to prune after the plant has finished flowering in late spring to avoid cutting off next year's buds. Pruning can be done once a year, focusing on thinning out crowded branches to increase light penetration and air circulation throughout the plant, which helps prevent disease and encourages more robust growth.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Chinese quince (Chaenomeles cathayensis) thrives in a well-draining soil mix with a slightly acidic to neutral pH, ideally between 6.0 and 7.0. A mix of two parts loam, one part peat, and one part sand or perlite is optimal to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    The Chinese quince should be repotted every two to three years to refresh the soil and encourage healthy growth. The best time to repot is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    The Chinese quince prefers moderate humidity levels but is quite adaptable to various conditions. It can thrive in typical indoor humidity levels but should be protected from extremely dry air.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright light, moderate watering, and cool winter temps for Chinese quince.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in well-drained soil, full sun to part shade for optimal Chinese quince growth.

    • Hardiness zone

      5-9 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as Chinese quince, begins its life cycle with seed germination occurring in late winter or early spring. Following germination, seedlings establish themselves and grow rapidly during the spring and summer months, developing a strong root system and woody stems. In the subsequent years, the plant enters a vegetative growth phase, with the development of larger branches and foliage, and eventually flowering structures. Flowering typically occurs in early spring, with the plant producing pink or white flowers that attract pollinators. Pollinated flowers then develop into fruit by late summer or fall, with the large quince fruits containing seeds that can be dispersed by wildlife, completing the life cycle and potentially giving rise to new plants. The Chinese quince enters a period of dormancy in winter, conserving energy for the next growth cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Summer

    • Propogation: The Chaenomeles cathayensis, commonly known as the Chinese quince, can be propagated through semi-hardwood stem cuttings, ideally during the late spring to early summer months when new growth is visible but has begun to firm up. The most popular method involves selecting a healthy stem of about 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 centimeters) long, with several nodes, and removing leaves from the lower half. The cut end is then dipped in rooting hormone to encourage root development and planted in a well-draining soil mix. It should be kept in a warm environment with high humidity, either by covering with a plastic bag or placing in a propagator. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged, and roots typically begin to form within a few weeks to a few months. Once rooted, the new plants can be transplanted into individual pots and eventually into the garden.