Medlars were great favourites in Victorian days, when they were served after dinner with port. The fruits are unusual in that they cannot be eaten until they are partially decayed. The trees are sometimes grown in the flower garden because their white flowers are beautiful in early June.
The trees will grow on almost all soils, but if theis dry and sandy, plant trees grafted from white thorn stock.
Plant any time between November and March, the earlier the better. Buy two-year-olds on quince stock for bush trees and four-year-olds on seedling pear stock for standards. Provide a good stake, driving it in at an angle for bush trees (away from the bush and the opposite side to the prevailing wind) and upright for standards. Tie with a plastic tree strap.
Apply bone meal each February at 3 oz. per sq. yd. all round the tree as far as the branches spread. Apply a mulch round the tree early in June on sandy soil and on other soils in a dry season. Peat or, 1 in. deep, is suitable.
Cut back the one-year-old terminal growths by half for the first four years, and by a quarter for the next two years. Cut back the stronger one-year-old side growths by about half and leave the weaker side shoots.
After the sixth year allow the tree to grow naturally, except for cutting out one or two
When the medlar tree is growing in grass allow the medlar fruits to fall to the ground. Otherwise, pick in November and store the fruits calyx downward on sheets of paper on a shelf in a greenhouse at a temperature of about 45 to 50° F. (6 to 10° C). In three or four weeks the fruits will start to decay and turn a dark brown, and are then ready to eat. This ripening-off is called ‘bletting’.
Whilst medlar fruits might not be your thing, you could always try your hand at growing a variety of other fruits.