A couple of years ago I bought a kumquat variety called ‘Fukushu’ (Citrus japonica ‘Obovata’). It lives in the backyard in a glazed pot under the bay trees where it gets no more than 2-3 hours of direct sun. It gets by with drip irrigation, and even the cold snap we had in early December didn’t faze it. It’s my kind of plant!
At this time of year, I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing it dotted with bright orange fruit about 1½” long.
If you’ve never had a kumquat you may not know this, but the rind is edible—not only that, it’s actually quite sweet! You simply pop the whole fruit in your mouth and enjoy a wonderful explosion of sour and sweet. I would describe the taste as a mixture of mandarin and orange, but much more tart (which I love).
Kumquats can have as many as 8-10 seeds, but ours seem to have exactly one.
With a reputed cold hardiness of 10°F, kumquats are tougher than any other citrus variety except the Jiouyuezao mandarin. That makes them suitable for growing in areas where oranges and lemons would never survive.
Even if you find the fruit too sour to eat, kumquats make great ornamental plants and bring good luck. In China kumquats are traditionally eaten during the Lunar New Year and given as gifts.