How To Grow Medlar Trees: A Guide For Gardeners

Written by: Lars Nyman

Growing Medlar

Growing Medlar

Medlar is a unique and rewarding plant to grow, as it is both edible and has many decorative uses. Medlars have a sweet and tangy flavor, perfect for adding to desserts, jams, or making into jellies. Growing medlar is also a great way to bring in some extra pollinators to your garden. The white, fragrant blooms attract bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects, as well as adding beauty to your property. Medlar is a versatile and rewarding plant to grow, producing fragrant blossoms, delicious fruit, and offering a variety of uses in the garden.

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Medlar Tree Growing Cheatsheet

Choosing the Right Location 🌳

Find a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

Consider its ability to tolerate urban pollution.

Planting Tips 🌱

Soak roots in water for 1 hour before planting.

Space trees 15-20 feet apart for optimal growth.

Watering Advice 💧

Maintain soil moisture with regular watering.

Water deeply, but avoid waterlogged conditions.

Fertilizing Needs 🌿

Apply balanced fertilizer in early spring.

Avoid excessive nitrogen to prevent fruit drop.

Fruit Harvesting 🍏

Wait until fruit turns brownish-yellow.

Harvest before first frost for optimal flavor.

Storage and Ripening 🌬️

Store medlars in a cool, dry place for 2-3 weeks.

Allow fruits to blet (soften) before eating.

Health Benefits 🌟

Packed with Vitamin C and fiber.

Boosts immune system and aids digestion.

Self-Sufficiency 👩‍🌾

Grow your own delicious, unique fruit.

Create a beautiful and productive garden space.

Growing Medlar: A Gardener's Delight

Choosing the Right Variety

Medlar (Mespilus germanica) offers several wonderful varieties to choose from. I love ‘Nottingham’ for its reliable fruiting and small, sweet fruits. 'Royal' also stands out with its larger, tart fruit, great for preserves.

Did you know? Medlar trees have been cultivated since Roman times for their unique flavor and medicinal qualities.

Planting Your Medlar Tree

Site Selection

Medlar trees appreciate full sun and well-drained soil. They thrive in both garden settings and large containers, making them versatile.

Soil Preparation

To prepare your soil, add plenty of organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure. A slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.0-7.0) is ideal.

For optimal growth, ensure your planting space is free from waterlogging, which can harm the roots.

Medlar Tree Care Tips


Newly planted medlar trees need regular watering until they establish. Once established, they are drought tolerant but will produce better fruit with consistent moisture.


Medlars require minimal pruning. Remove dead or diseased wood and thin out branches to improve airflow.

I've found that a light annual prune helps maintain a healthy shape and promotes fruiting.


Feed your medlar tree in early spring with a balanced fertilizer. Use a slow-release, granular type for even nutrient distribution.

Harvesting Medlar Fruit

When to Harvest

Medlar fruits are typically ready for harvest in late autumn after the first frost. They’re unique in that they need to be "bletted" or left to soften for several weeks post-harvest.

Bletting Process

Place medlars in a single layer on a tray in a cool, dark place. They’ll turn a rich brown and become soft, almost paste-like inside when ready to eat.

The flavor transforms into something remarkably sweet and spiced—a true delicacy!

Uses for Medlar Fruit

  • Medlar jelly - a delightful condiment with cheese.
  • Medlar cheese - a traditional preserve made by slow-cooking the fruit.
  • Fresh eating - bletted medlar can be eaten straight from the skin.

Common Issues and Solutions


Medlar trees are quite pest-resistant. However, you may see aphids or scale insects occasionally. Using a neem oil spray can be an effective organic solution.


Medlars are susceptible to fire blight. Ensure proper spacing and airflow to minimize risk, and remove any affected branches promptly.

Remember: A healthy medlar tree is resilient. Regular checks and maintenance go a long way.


Growing medlar can be a deeply rewarding experience, both culinarily and horticulturally. With a bit of care and attention, this ancient fruit tree will thrive in your garden.

Happy gardening!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I grow a medlar tree?

To grow medlar trees, obtain a young tree from a nursery or propagate from seeds. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil. Plant the tree in the spring or fall, ensuring the graft union is above ground. Mulch and water regularly.

2. What are the ideal growing conditions for medlar trees?

Medlar trees thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. They prefer loamy or sandy soil with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5. Adequate air circulation is also important for preventing diseases.

3. How long does it take for a medlar tree to bear fruit?

Medlar trees typically start bearing fruit after 3-4 years, but it can take up to 8 years. Patience is key during the initial years of growth.

4. Do medlar trees require special care?

Medlar trees are generally low-maintenance but benefit from routine care. Provide regular watering, especially during dry periods. Prune to maintain shape and remove any dead or diseased branches. Fertilize in the early spring to support growth.

5. How do I harvest medlar fruit?

Medlar fruit is harvested when it reaches a soft, custard-like consistency. Twist and pull the fruit gently, leaving the calyx intact. Allow the harvested medlars to ripen indoors for two weeks before consumption.

6. What are common pests and diseases affecting medlar trees?

Medlar trees can be susceptible to aphids, caterpillars, and fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and canker. Regular inspection, proper sanitation, and timely treatment, if necessary, will help control these issues.

Medlar is a highly versatile plant that not only provides a spectacular display of white, fragrant flowers in the spring, but also produces small fruits that can be used both fresh or dried in a number of interesting culinary recipes. Its hardiness and minimal maintenance requirements make it a great choice for beginner gardeners and experienced green-thumbs alike! Growing Medlar in your garden provides a great opportunity to learn more about horticulture and create something truly rewarding.

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