Graham Rice, a plant expert, trained at the Kew Gardens, has compiled a list of the 15 best crab apple trees based on the number of flowers, foliage, fruits, and flavors they produce.
There are many benefits that crab apple trees can offer to their owners. In terms of size and space, crab apples are small and space-efficient trees capable of bringing year-round interest and color to gardens of any size. These are a perfect choice for gardens with a limited amount of space.
It is well known that the trees produce clouds of blossoms in the spring, which have the uncanny ability to lift one's spirits, and in the fall, they produce rich colors due to the fruits and foliage.
The crab apple tree has flowers even when it is a young tree, and they often bloom when the tree is only two or three years old, so they are an excellent choice for those who want a tree that is going to mature quickly, and that has flowers even when it is a young tree. As a result of the blossom's presence, pollinators also benefit significantly from it. It is because these small trees are capable of being used in various culinary applications, most notably for the production of crab apple jelly, that they are highly adaptable.
Only a tiny percentage of the crab apples cultivated in gardens are descendants of the native apple tree (Malus sylvestris). At the same time, the vast majority are descended from one or more of the forty other wild species native to the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. They can grow into large shrubs or small trees, and their flowers are prolific, colorful, and frequently fragrant. They can be white, pink, or purple, blooming in the spring or at the beginning of summer. Those with red flower buds that reveal white flowers are the most striking when they are in bloom.
Because birds seem to save the colorful crab apple fruits until the very end, the harvest from the fall can often continue well into the winter months. Some crab apple fruits can grow as large as five centimeters in diameter. In contrast, other crab apple fruits can grow as small as 10 millimeters in diameter and exert a significant force on the branches. A wide variety of colors can be seen on them, including yellow, golden, orange, scarlet, crimson red, and dark purple. There may be a layer of pink or red on the top of the yellow and orange fruits.
Crab apples are self-fertile, which means that they do not require the presence of another tree in the vicinity to be pollinated. A single crab apple tree in the setting can act as a pollinator for many other apple varieties used in culinary applications. Since crab apples have a more extended flowering season than culinary apples and can produce up to ten, A crab apple tree will produce up to 10 times as much pollen as a culinary apple tree. If you have at least one crab apple tree in your yard, you and your neighbors won't have to worry about pollinating their culinary apple trees. Crab apples are also sweeter than culinary apples. As a general rule, crab apple trees require little to no pruning, but in the winter, you may want to remove any branches that are diseased, dead, or crossing each other.
There is no doubt that the Malus 'John Downie' is one of the most superior varieties of crab apples on the market today. In the year 1875, it was discovered for the first time in Staffordshire. During the spring, the buds of this plant are a pale pink color that opens to reveal a white flower that attracts a wide variety of pollinators.
After this, there is a series of remarkable fruits that are oval and orange-red. During the autumn season, as the leaves turn yellow and orange before they fall off, the leaves transform into vibrant hues of yellow and orange. In a small or urban garden, this tree is an excellent choice for a tree because of its upright and narrow habit, which matures into a more conical shape as it develops.
You can achieve the best results by growing Malus 'John Downie' in a sunny but sheltered location. Height 10m.
Malus Sugar Tyme (=' Sutyzam') has buds that are a pale pink color, which open to reveal white flowers when they bloom. Despite their small size, the bright red crab apple fruits make for an eye-catching display among the changing leaves in autumn, regardless of their diminutive size. Even though this crab apple tree is most famous for its superior resistance to scab, it can also resist various diseases. Height 6 meters. AGM.
There is a crab apple variety known as Malus 'Sun Rival' that is widely considered to be the best available. Its branches can even reach the ground. It opens to reveal white flowers with a pinkish tint, which emerge from buds that are a deep red color. You will find that it bears fruit in the fall that is a brilliant shade of red. Height 4m. AGM.
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The flowers of the variety 'Gorgeous' of Malus x atrosanguinea have a pale blushed white color and narrow petals that give the flowers an appearance of starry in the sky. Crab apple fruits will appear in the following season, deep red and sometimes have a slight orange tint. For several months, they remain on the tree. There is a crab apple jelly that they make that is incredibly delicious. Height 5 meters. AGM.
As it retains its attractive appearance for most of the year, the Malus 'Everest' is an excellent choice for any garden due to its ability to maintain its beautiful appearance throughout the year. In the spring, the once-crimson flower buds turn pink before opening, revealing an abundance of huge, white blooms behind them. There are many of these flowers blooming at the same time.
When pollinated, these turn into yellowish-orange fruits with a red flush and remain on the tree for a long time after being harvested. The leaves provide an additional season of interest as they turn from green to yellow and bronze in autumn before they fall from the trees, providing a different season of interest. As a result of its upright and conical form, the Malus 'Everest' was first marketed as a patio crab apple due to its excellent and conical shape. In the garden today, however, this tree makes a perfect choice as a tree for a small area. There is a height of 7 meters. AGM.
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An attractive, slightly pendulous habit is characteristic of the Malus 'Butterball' crab apple tree, which has a spreading habit and a beautiful, somewhat pendulous habit, especially when the tree is bearing fruit. When the pink buds open, the flowers have a delicate shade of white when they open. In the following set of fruits, which are a golden yellow color, there will eventually be a reddish tint developed on the tops or sides of their bodies wherever its shades do not shade them. There is a height of 4 meters. AGM.
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In the spring, the Malus 'Comtesse de Paris' flowers are white, followed by golden-yellow fruits with a slight point that persists throughout the winter. There is a difference between this crab apple variety and the similar variety known as 'Golden Hornet' in terms of its resistance to scabs, and it is more balanced in its shape. The height of the tree is 4 meters. AGM.
As a result of its upright growth habit, Malus 'Arindonack' is an excellent choice for areas with limited space due to its promising growth habit. It's commonly known as 'Admiration.' The buds on this plant are deep carmine pink, open to reveal pure white flowers, followed by pinkish-red fruits. This is an excellent pollinator for crab apple trees. Height 5.5 meters. AGM.
During the blooming period of Malus x zumi 'Professor Sprenger,' the pink flower buds turn blush pink in color before opening into white flowers. Fragrant flowers bloom on this crab apple, followed by fruit that starts out amber in color and eventually turns orange when it ripens. Crab apple trees are renowned for their exceptional resistance to diseases and foliage that turns yellow in the fall as they mature. Height 6 meters. AGM.
There is something special about the rich, purple-pink flowers of the Malus 'Wisley Crab,' which are darker around the center of each petal and open up against the purple-tinged foliage of this plant. Afterward, there are usually a few fruits with a purplish-red coloration on the outer side and a red coloration on the interior side. They are about the size and shape of a small eating apple in terms of their size and shape. The height of the tree is 3 meters.
Malus 'Indian Magic' crab apple tree is a fast-growing apple tree with a broad, spreading habit and deep pink flowers, which emerge from even darker buds on the tree's branches. Only later did the orange fruits, somewhat elongated and small, turn into red fruits that lasted well into the winter. A plant should be disease resistant. Height 5 meters. AGM.
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Spring is when the fragrant white flowers of Malus x robusta 'Red Sentinel' open from buds that are a light pink color during the spring season. Next, come the large, glossy fruits with a deep-red stain and a polished surface that persist until almost the beginning of spring. In addition, the leaves turn a beautiful golden yellow in the fall, and the plant shows remarkable resistance to diseases. Height 8m. AGM.
I have been growing the Malus 'Harry Baker' for the past few years. It has a vast flower cluster that is purplish-pink and opens against purple foliage that eventually turns green in color. As soon as the flowers are finished, the fruit appears, which is ruby-red. It is named after the fruit foreman of RHS Garden Wisley, whose name inspired the naming of this tree, which bears his name. As it is a disease-resistant fruit, it produces a jelly superior to that made from crab apples. Height 5 meters. AGM.
Aside from producing pink flowers in the spring and fruit that last for an extended period, Malus touring 'Scarlett' also has purple leaves before they open up and then transform into a fiery orange and yellow color as they mature during the fall. A crab apple trees attractiveness is only enhanced by the fact that it has a slightly weeping growth habit. Height 4 meters. AGM.
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