2. A pre-spring kiss of color
Name: Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa and cvs.)
Zones: 5 to 9
Size: Up to 8 feet tall and 15 feet wide
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; well-drained, slightly acidic soil
Who doesn’t want a plant that will heat up the garden in late winter with the promise of spring? The beautiful blossoms of flowering quince are sure to get your heart pumping. Bare branches are covered with cottony blooms on ‘Jet Trail’ or kissed with a vibrant lipstick red on ‘Texas Scarlet’. As the flowers fade in spring, the foliage begins to appear. Typically, the bare branches are a stunning gold or red in fall, when they occasionally rebloom again. The likeliness of a second bloom is increased by a dry spell in late summer followed by plenty of fall rain.
During the drought of 2007, this plant dropped its leaves during the hottest part of summer. New foliage sprouted in fall when cooler temperatures and rain returned. Even with the trauma of drought, it supplied us with as many showy blooms as any other year.
Chaenomeles speciosa 'Texas Scarlet'
Photo/Illustration: David Cavagnaro