Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

How—and When—to Water Your Kumquat Plants

Watering container-grown kumquat plant on balcony

Watering container-grown kumquat plant on balcony

Kumquats need regular, consistent watering, especially during the growing season—but they hate wet feet. The soil should be moist but not wet. So it’s important to plant your kumquat trees in well-drained soil if you plant them outside, or in a container with good drainage. Water regularly, but not too much. If you stick your finger in the soil and it’s damp 3 to 4 inches down, you can hold off on watering. A soggy kumquat tree is an invitation to rot and disease.

Hand water at the base of the plants or consider a soaker hose that will deliver water slowly and deeply into the soil for your kumquat trees.

How often you water your kumquat trees depends on how hot it is and how often they receive water naturally from the rain. In the heat of the summer, your kumquat trees need water two or three times a week for their first year—and that includes natural rain water. Don’t overdo the watering on older trees.

Tip: Early morning is the best time of day to water your kumquat trees. Avoid watering during the evening or night.

While mulch is often a way to help plants retain moisture, it could cause more harm than good with your kumquat tree—you want to be sure the soil is well drained and doesn’t get soggy. If you do mulch, do so with caution and keep it 10 inches away from the base of the tree.

Rainwater is best for your garden plants. If you can set up a rain barrel to collect rainwater, your kumquat trees will benefit from that!

When you properly water your kumquats, you’ll have healthy trees with plenty of fruit. Improper watering can lead to the following problems that you want to avoid:

  • Root rot
  • Stunted growth and root loss
  • Susceptibility to pests and disease
  • Reduced harvests and lesser-quality kumquats

How often do you water your kumquat trees? And what time of day do you water? Please tell us how you ensure that your kumquat trees get the right amount of water.

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