Be aware, some of the loquats sold at nurseries are seed grown, since they are very easy to germinate but pretty hard to graft. Although some seed grown trees bare delicious fruit, but others are only mediocre to bland. Also, many seedling varieties have a smaller flesh to seed ratio.
Since a fruit tree is a long term time investment before enjoying the first fruits, I chose to plant a proven named variety, rather than take a chance on a seed grown tree. I sampled the fruit of a few different grafted varieties from other gardeners before settling on ours, “Big Jim.” I also liked the flavor of Gold Nugget, but the size of the flesh of Big Jim was an added bonus.
Loquats are an ideal Southern California backyard fruit tree. They don’t mind less than perfect sun exposure, can handle drought, they don’t need chill hours like stone fruits, and they have few to no pest issues. Our tree only gets partial sun in the warm months and almost no sun in the winter time, being near the north side of our backyard block wall. It has been very forgiving of less than perfect conditions. One added benefit, Loquats are an attractive tree year round.
Big Jim Loquat
Originated in San Diego, Calif. by Jim Neitzel. Large, roundish to oblong fruit, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Skin pale orange-yellow, medium-thick, easy to peel. Flesh orange-yellow, very sweet but with some acidity, of excellent flavor. Ripens midseason, March to April. Tree vigorous, upright, highly productive
“Big Jim” was originally propagated by a gentleman from San Diego, Jim Neitzel. Big Jim loquat tree has very large, roundish to oblong fruit, ranging in size from 1-1/4 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter, more than double the size of some other varieties. Most of time each fruit has 2 to 4 smooth brown seeds; the more seeds, the bigger the fruit. The fruit is pale orange-yellow, with an easy to peel, slightly thick skin. The flavor is pretty sweet, with some acidity, a bit like an apricot, but slightly more complex. If left until they almost wrinkle, they lose most of the acidity and are really sweet. I try to pick mine before that.
Who’s Big Jim? Jim Neitzel was a visionary fruit grower and a founding board member of the California Rare Fruit Growers Organization. And there’s a reason he named this variety after himself – it’s astounding! As a proponent of people growing their own fruits and veggies, Jim Neitzel developed many great sub-tropical varieties for backyard gardens.
Gold Nugget Loquat
Large, round to oblong-obovate fruit. Skin yellow-orange to orange, not thick, tender. Flesh orange-colored, juicy, firm and meaty. Flavor sweet, somewhat reminiscent of apricot, quality good. Seeds 4 or 5, the seed cavity not large. Ripens late. Fruits borne only a few to a cluster, keep and ship well. Tree vigorous, upright, self-fertile.
- Sweetest Loquat Variety
- Deliciously Fragrant
- Attractive Foliage
- Ornamental Evergreen
- Late Season
Are you looking for a fruit tree that’s worth its weight in gold? Lucky you! You found the Gold Nugget Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica ‘Gold Nugget’). This marvelous Loquat variety reliably produces delectable, attractive, sweet, oval-shaped fruit.
In fact, the Gold Nugget Loquat fruit is one of the sweetest Loquat varieties. Gold Nugget Loquat’s flesh is juicy and bright! Similar to an Apricot in flavor, these are perfect for preserves or ice cream topping.
One thing is for sure, this ‘late’ season Loquat will light up your summer months with mouthwatering snacks that your kids and neighbors will beg for!
The Gold Nugget loquat tree produces clusters of small (1-2 inches) in size, round to oval pear shape yellow-orange fruit with about 3 smooth seeds in the center. The skin is smooth and sometimes has a red blush on top of the orangish yellow color. The flesh is sweet and juicy, somewhat like an apricot. A self-fertile tree that produces lots of fruits in the Summer months of late April to June. Gold Nugget is the most popular loquat in Los Angeles and Southern California.