Loquat is a fruit that grows on a tree, it has been known to be grown in Japan dating back to 1000 AD. In the US it has been primarily been used as a landscape plant. Loquat grows well in many soils and in adaptable to a variety of climates. Internationally, China and Spain have the biggest market for the fruit. Many believe that it originates from China and not Japan. The fruit is small, yellowish orange, and taste much like a mango with a citrus twist.
They are grown more like a bush than a tree, though left to their own devices they can grow up to 30 feet tall and produce an equal umbrella. Loquats are normally bushy, rather dense trees. They have long dark green broad leaves that are suitable to be used in floral arrangements. The tree fruits during late winters when in the appropriate climates, but in cooler climates you will only see the beautiful white blossoms but no fruiting will occur.
Much of the same conditions conducive to growing citrus also work well for loquats. So areas with slightly more acidic soils, subtropical climates where temperatures that do not fall below 30 degrees are prime places for them to grow. Also as with citrus they need to be kept moist almost all the time for them to grow and fruit properly, if these conditions are not, the fruit will not be sweet and will end up have larger seeds and a thin layer of flesh.
While there are hundreds of cultivars, only a couple dozen are good to grow for fruit. Most other serve well for ornamental use. A common practice in growing loquats is to graft from existing fruit producing trees onto a one year old trimmed trunk. The long leaves will require routine trimming to keep them looking like a landscape plant. If you are not as worried about its ornamental appeal, be sure to leave enough space for them to grow since they grown length to width ration of about one to one ratio. But be sure to trim the interior so the wind can get into the tree, this will help reduce many fungal or other problems you may have.
Although I mentioned they need to have almost constant moisture, once established they are somewhat drought resistant and have a good defense against insects and most disease. However birds can cause large damage to the tree during the fruit ripening period. Fertilize at a rate of one pound per inch of caliper of the trunk, best time to is during the early spring though a small application should be done at every turn of season. Loquat like many trees are pollinated by bees and other insects.
If all goes well you should see fruit in the 3rd year you should get around 35 pounds of fruit. The fruit can be eaten by hand, used in cooking, or made into jams. From a nutritional standpoint, loquat has a large number of vitamins and minerals with vitamin A being the highest contributor. It hassis low glycemic indicator and mildly inflammatory.