Japanese flowering quince

Flowers of Japanese flowering quince.

Japanese flowering quince is a low-growing, spring-flowering shrub with dark green shiny leaves. Growth habit changes with cultivars often reaching 3 to 4 feet high.  Bright orange-scarlet flowers appear after the leaves emerge.  Most stems have thorns, so avoid planting near sidewalk and heavy traffic areas.

Botanical name:

Chaenomeles japonica

All Common Names:

Japanese flowering quince, flowering quince

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Mixed border

Size Range:

  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil

Planting Considerations:

  • Dangerous thorns,
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries

Ornamental Interest:

  • Spring blossoms

Season of Interest:

  • Early spring

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Orange

Shape or Form:

  • Thicket-forming

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Adaptable, easy to grow shrub. Best in full sun for good flowering display, but tolerant of part shade.
Avoid high pH soils.
Spreading habit,  stems become tangles and unkempt, rejuvenate every few years to maintain form.
May be difficult to find in nurseries.

Disease, pests, and problems

Chlorosis in high pH soil.
leaf spots, fireblight, scab, and aphids

Native geographic location and habitat

China and Japan

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Flowers attract early pollinators.

Bark color and texture 

Dark grey stems with spiny thorns, with a somewhat zig-zag pattern.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, simple, 1 to 2 inches long, dark-green, obovate-shaped with serrated edges.
Petioles have stipules.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Bright orange-red, 1-11/2 inch flowers in early spring.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Apple-like, 1 to 2 inch diameter, yellow-green pome. Fruit is fragrant, astringent and used to make jams and jellies.

Location of Chaenomeles japonica (Japanese flowering quince) at the Arboretum