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Best Crabapples for Your Yard

Crabapple trees are famous for their colorful, fragrant springtime blooms. Use this guide to help you select one that's right for your landscape.

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    • Adams

      Adams flowering crab begins the season with semidouble deep pink blooms. Leaves emerge with a reddish tint but mature to green by summer. The foliage may develop good orange-red fall color. The tree produces 1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter glossy red fruits with blood-red pulp. Fruits hang on the tree into winter and attract birds. Young Adams crabapple trees are pyramidal, but they become rounded with age. This variety has good resistance to the major diseases that can affect crabapples -- apple scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. Adams was listed as one of the 10 best crabapples in the National Crabapple Evaluations done by noted expert Tom Green.

      Name: Malus 'Adams'

      Form: Broadly rounded to pyramidal

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Adirondack

      Deep pink buds of Adirondack open to nearly pure white flowers, which develop into 1/2-inch diameter orange-red fruits that persist into early winter. Fruits are borne in abundance, but singly rather than in clusters like most crabapple varieties. Leaves are medium green through most of the year, turning mottled yellow and green in fall. The relatively upright form of Adirondack makes it a great choice for small, narrow spaces in the landscape, as a hedge or an espalier. The tree has excellent resistance to apple scab, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust, and good resistance to fire blight. Horticulture professor Michael Dirr, Ph. D., names it as one of his top 12 crabapple varieties. Grow it in full sun in moist, well-drained soil.

      Name: Malus 'Adirondack'

      Form: Narrow, upright oval

      Size: 12-20 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Anne E

      Anne E flowering crabapple is sometimes listed as Anne or Manbeck Weeper. It has rosy pink flower buds that open to nearly white blooms. It develops 1/2-inch diameter bright red fruits that remain on the tree into winter. Foliage changes from medium green to yellow in fall.The broadly arching form of Anne E crabapple gives it the appearance of a weeping tree, but its branches spread more horizontally than true weepers. These spreading branches may crisscross one another and require occasional thinning. The tree has excellent resistance to apple scab, fire blight, and powdery mildew.

      Name: Malus 'Manbeck Weeper'

      Form: Spreading weeper

      Size: 10-12 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Brandywine

      The double rosy-pink blooms of Brandywine crabapple look like clusters of roses on the tree. They develop into 1-inch diameter yellow-green fruits, which attract birds. Fruits tend to drop, so harvest them and use them for making jelly to prevent messy cleanup. Leaves of Brandywine are green with a wine-red cast; fall hues are a blend of yellow and orange. Often broader than tall, Brandywine trees are rounded in form. This variety has good resistance to fire blight and powdery mildew, but it's moderately susceptible to scab and highly susceptible to cedar-apple rust. In scab-prone areas, you may have to spray the tree with fungicides to prevent it from losing all of its foliage.

      Name: Malus 'Branzam'

      Form: Broad, rounded

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Callaway

      The large red fruits (1- to 1-1/2-inch diameter) of the Callaway crabapple are good for making jelly as well as attracting birds to the garden. The tree blooms in spring with single white fragrant flowers. Leaves are green, turning shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall. This variety was selected at Callaway Gardens in Georgia for its superior performance there. It is one of the best crabapples for Southern areas because it has a low-chill requirement for flowering and fruiting. It also has excellent resistance to scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust, even through hot, humid summer conditions. The rounded tree form is usually slighter taller than wide. Horticulture professor Michael Dirr, Ph.D., names it as one of his top 12 crabapples.

      Name: Malus 'Callaway'

      Form: Oval, rounded

      Size: 15-25 feet tall and 12-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Cardinal

      Cardinal is named for its deep red fruits, which develop from rosy-red blooms. The tree has purple-red foliage that turns mottled orange and red in fall. The 1/2-inch diameter fruits persist on the branches and attract birds. An upright spreading tree that will grow at least as wide as it is tall, Cardinal crabapple is sometimes listed as M. hupehensis 'Cardinal'. Cardinal appreciates full sun and moist, well-drained soil. It has excellent resistance to all the major crabapple diseases -- apple scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust.

      Name: Malus 'Cardinal'

      Form: Upright spreading

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Centurion

      The deep rosy-red blooms of Centurion crabapple are followed by red fruits 1/2 to 5/8 inch in diameter. The fruits attract birds but tend to drop from the tree before winter arrives. Leaves emerge reddish green and maintain bronze tinges throughout the growing season. Fall foliage color is yellow-orange. Centurion crabapple is strongly upright to columnar when young, but as it matures it develops a rounded, oval form. Like most other crabapple varieties, it needs full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Centurion does not perform well in Zone 8 or warmer, although it has good resistance to apple scab and excellent resistance to fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew.

      Name: Malus 'Centzam'

      Form: Upright columnar when young, broad oval with age

      Size: 20-25 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-7

    • Cinderella

      Cinderella crabapple is a compact plant with densely packed white blooms in spring. Fruits are golden yellow and 1/4 inch in diameter. They persist into fall but may drop when winter arrives, if birds haven't devoured them first. Foliage on Cinderella trees is medium green, becoming yellow in autumn. If you want a crabapple tree but think your yard doesn't have room for one, take another look at Cinderella. This tiny tree fits almost any landscape, or even container gardens. It has good resistance to apple scab and excellent resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust.

      Name: Malus 'Cinzam'

      Form: Oval, dwarf

      Size: 6-8 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • Donald Wyman

      Donald Wyman crabapple has a prominent place in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden, where several shade the central patio seating area. In spring its fragrant white blooms perfume the air. Later, 3/8-inch diameter red fruits adorn the tree. The green leaves develop amber-yellow fall color. Named for former American Horticultural Society president and longtime horticulturist at Arnold Arboretum where the tree was found, Donald Wyman crabapple has been a favorite variety for four decades. In 1989, it won a Gold Medal from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. It appears on the top 10 list of most disease-resistant crabapples and horticulture professor Michael Dirr's top 12 list. It has good resistance to scab, fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew on a rounded tree that is slightly wider than tall.

      Name: Malus 'Donald Wyman'

      Form: Rounded

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-22 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Ellen Gerhart

      Deep pink buds on Ellen Gerhart crabapple open to pale pink flowers, which may be single or semidouble. The 3/8-inch diameter bright red fruits develop a characteristic rusty scar at the calyx (end opposite the fruit stem). Birds like the fruits, which remain on the tree into winter. The tree has green leaves that turn yellow-green in fall. Ellen Gerhart crabapple develops a spreading V-shape branching pattern. It has good resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust, but it's very susceptible to apple scab. If scab is prevalent in your area, avoid planting it or be prepared to spray fungicides regularly to control the disease.

      Name: Malus 'Ellen Gerhart'

      Form: Upright spreader

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Golden Hornet

      Golden Hornet develops 1-inch diameter greenish-yellow fruits that hang on the tree well into fall. The relatively large fruits attract birds and may be used for making jelly. Flowers are pale pink to white. The tree has medium green leaves that turn yellow in fall. Extremely popular in the United Kingdom, Golden Hornet is a Royal Horticultural Society Award of Merit winner. It is much less common in North America. It is sometimes listed as Malus x zumi 'Golden Hornet'. This upright spreader serves as a good pollinator for large-fruited apple trees. It is apple scab resistant but may suffer from fire blight.

      Name: Malus 'Golden Hornet'

      Form: Upright spreader

      Size: 15-30 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Harvest Gold

      Harvest Gold is a late-flowering crabapple with pink buds that open to single white blooms. Often considered the best gold-fruited crabapple, it develops 1/2-inch diameter bright yellow fruits that persist into winter. Medium green foliage turns clear yellow in fall. The upright oval to vase shape of Harvest Gold crabapple makes the tree a good small shade tree as well as a flowering and fruiting ornamental. It has good resistance to all four major crabapple diseases -- fire blight, apple scab, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. Horticulture professor Michael Dirr, Ph.D., calls Harvest Gold one of his top 12 crabapple varieties.

      Name: Malus 'Hargozam'

      Form: Upright oval

      Size: 20-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide

      Zones: 3-8

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      Indian Magic

      The 5/8-inch-diameter fruits of Indian Magic crabapple turn bright red by late summer and hang on the tree into winter. After fall freezes, the fruits turn red-orange and entice birds to feed. Fall foliage color is also reddish orange. In spring, the leaves unfold purplish red, but they turn solid green by summer. Blossoms are deep, rosy pink. The horizontally spreading branches of Indian Magic give the tree a rounded form that can appear semiweeping when heavily laden with fruit. The tree is resistant to fire blight and powdery mildew. Scab resistance varies depending on location, and cedar-apple rust can be problematic.

      Name: Malus 'Indian Magic'

      Form: Rounded to semiweeping

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 10-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Lancelot

      The pure white blooms of Lancelot crabapple are a fragrant addition to the spring garden. The flowers become clusters of 3/8-inch-diameter golden fruits that persist well into late winter. The compact tree develops medium green leaves, which turn gold in fall.Lancelot is a great crabapple for small-space gardens because it remains under 10 feet tall and has a similar spread. Its compact branching habit gives it a neatly rounded to oval form. Lancelot has good to excellent resistance to scab, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew, and fair resistance to fire blight.

      Name: Malus 'Lanzam'

      Form: Oval

      Size: 8-10 feet tall and 8 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Louisa

      Clusters of delicate clear pink blooms cover the arching branches of Louisa crabapple in spring. Amber-yellow pea-size fruits mature in fall and hang on into winter. Foliage is glossy dark green, turning yellow in autumn. The spreading, weeping form of Louisa crabapple gives the tree a graceful appearance. If left unpruned, branches will drape all the way to the ground. The tree has excellent scab resistance and good resistance to fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew. It is one of two crabapple varieties planted in the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden.

      Name: Malus 'Louisa'

      Form: Spreading to weeping

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Madonna

      The pure white semidouble blooms of Madonna are long lasting. Blossoms are followed by bronze foliage that matures to green and turns yellow-orange in fall. The 1/2-inch diameter fruits are gold with splashes of red. Madonna needs no pruning to maintain its compact, upright form. Foliage remains unblemished because the tree has good resistance to scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust.

      Name: Malus 'Mazam'

      Form: Upright

      Size: 15-18 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Molten Lava

      Pink buds on Molten Lava crabapple open to white flowers tinged pale pink. The tree forms 3/8-inch-diameter red-orange fruits that hang on into early winter. Leaves are solid green, turning yellow orange in fall. The spreading semiweeping form of Molten Lava crabapple is reminiscent of lava flowing down a mountainside. The small- to medium-size tree has good resistance to scab, powdery mildew, fire blight, and cedar-apple rust.

      Name: Malus 'Molazam'

      Form: Semiweeping

      Size: 15-18 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Pink Princess

      Pink Princess is a dwarf tree or broad shrub with rose-pink springtime flowers. Foliage emerges purple and turns bronze-green during summer. Fall color is yellow. Fruits are dark red and 1/4 inch in diameter. This dwarf spreading form of sargent crabapple can be grown as a small tree or a multistem large shrub. It is also sometimes listed as Malus sargentii 'Parssi'. This tree has excellent resistance to all major crabapple fungal diseases, including apple scab, fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew.

      Name: Malus toringo var. sargentii 'Parssi'

      Form: Low, spreading

      Size: 6-8 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Prairifire

      Red flower buds on Prairifire crabapple tree open to deep pink blooms. (Alternate spellings such as Prairiefire and Prairie Fire are common.) The tree has persistent purplish-red fruits that are 3/8 to 1/2 inch in diameter. Leaves emerge purplish, mature to bronzy green, and develop a yellow-orange glow in autumn. Upright Prairifire crabapple is a University of Illinois introduction that is highly resistant to scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. The tree has reddish-brown bark similar to cherry trees, providing an attractive contrast to snow. Prairifire appears on the top 10 variety list in the National Crabapple Evaluation conducted by Tom Green.

      Name: Malus 'Prairifire'

      Form: Upright

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Profusion

      Named for its abundance of magenta pink blooms, Profusion crabapple has many attractive landscape qualities. Foliage emerges purple, turns bronzy green in summer, and rounds out the season with mottled yellow, orange, and green tones. The tree develops 1/2-inch diameter ruby-red fruits that persist into winter. Profusion crabapple is a rounded tree with a spreading form. The foliage has excellent resistance to cedar-apple rust, good resistance to fire blight and powdery mildew, but only fair resistance to apple scab. It is sometimes listed as Malus x moerlandsii 'Profusion'.

      Name: Malus 'Profusion'

      Form: Rounded, spreading

      Size: 18-25 feet tall and 18-25 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Ralph Shay

      Large-fruited Ralph Shay crabapple develops 1-1/4-inch-wide red-blushed fruits suitable for preserves and jelly. If left unharvested, the fruits will hang on the tree into winter, attracting birds. In spring the tree blooms with fragrant white blossoms. Fall foliage color is a blend of green, gold, and yellow. Named for a Purdue University plant physiologist, Ralph Shay crabapple is a cross between the commercial apple variety 'Wolf River' and Malus x zumi 'Calocarpa', commonly called redbud crabapple. This hybrid has good resistance to fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew. It is slightly susceptible to apple scab.

      Name: Malus 'Ralph Shay'

      Form: Rounded

      Size: 18-20 feet tall and 17-22 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Red Jade

      Red Jade weeping crabapple begins the season by bearing white blossoms with pink overtones. Long chains of red egg-shape fruits 1/2 inch in diameter adorn the tree well into autumn. Fall foliage color is a blend of green, yellow, and orange. Red Jade crabapple was discovered at Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York. The tree's classic weeping form has made it popular for more than 50 years. It has good resistance to cedar-apple rust, but can be somewhat susceptible to other foliar diseases. Red Swan is an improved form with somewhat better resistance to fungal diseases.

      Name: Malus 'Red Jade'

      Form: Weeping

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 20-30 feet wide
      Zones: 3-8

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      Red Jewel

      Red Jewel crabapple is named for its abundant cherry-red fruits 1/2 inch in diameter. In mild-winter areas the fruits remain on the tree until the following spring. Blossoms are large, single, and white. Foliage is medium green and may turn yellow in fall. The irregular oval form of Red Jewel is sometimes described as vase shape or pyramidal. In all cases, it remains fairly narrow, making it a good choice for boulevard plantings. The tree has good disease resistance, but occasional fire blight or powdery mildew may develop. It is one of horticulture professor Michael Dirr's top 12

      Name: Malus 'Jewelcole'

      Form: Irregular oval

      Size: 14-18 feet tall and 9-12 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Robinson

      Robinson crabapple has medium pink blooms that develop into 3/8-inch-diameter dark red fruits that persist on the tree. Its leaves emerge purple but turn bronze-green as they mature. Good orange fall color is typical.
      Young Robinson crabapple trees grow strongly upright, but as they mature the form becomes rounded and spreading. Apple scab, fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew rarely affect the foliage.

      Name: Malus 'Robinson'

      Form: Upright when young; rounded with age

      Size: 15-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Royal Raindrops

      Royal Raindrops crabapple begins the season with magenta pink blooms that develop into 1/4-inch-diameter persistent red fruits, which attract birds. Its unique deep purple cutleaf foliage is an outstanding ornamental feature. In autumn the foliage is a riot of color with a mix of orange, scarlet, bronze, and purple. Royal Raindrops requires little pruning to maintain its natural upright rounded or vase shape. The strong branching pattern is good for windy sites. Royal Raindrops has excellent resistance to apple scab and cedar-apple rust, and good resistance to powdery mildew and fire blight.

      Name: Malus 'JFS-KW5'

      Form: Upright rounded to vase shape

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Scarlet Brandywine

      An improved version of Brandywine crabapple, Scarlet Brandywine has ruffled dark rose double blooms. Fruits are pumpkin orange, and at 5/8 inch in diameter they're half the size of Brandywine fruits, making messy dropped fruits less of an issue. The tree has green leaves tinged with maroon and excellent yellow-orange fall color. The open rounded form of Scarlet Brandywine crabapple provides good air circulation throughout the tree and contributes to excellent foliar-disease resistance for apple scab, fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew.

      Name: Malus 'Scbrazam'

      Form: Rounded

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide
      Zones: 5-8

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      Snowdrift

      It's safe to assume that with a name like Snowdrift, this crabapple tree produces pure white blossoms in spring. The fragrant blooms are followed by 3/8- to 1/2-inch-diameter orange-red fruits that hang on the tree well into fall. The tree has glossy green leaves in summer and reliably provides muted yellow fall color. Snowdrift is densely branched with a rounded to upright spreading form. Although some researchers report occasional fire blight on Snowdrift, it was named a top 10 variety in the National Crabapple Evaluation conducted by Tom Green and also appears on horticulture professor Michael Dirr's top 12 crabapple variety list.

      Name: Malus 'Snowdrift'

      Form: Rounded

      Size: 15-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Sugar Tyme

      Sugar Tyme crabapple has pink buds that open to sugary-white fragrant blossoms. A prolific bearer, the tree develops numerous 1/2-inch-diameter red fruits that hang on the tree into winter, when birds devour them. The dark green leaves develop muted fall colors of mottled green, yellow, and orange.
      Award-winning Sugar Tyme crabapple has excellent scab resistance and good resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. The tree won the Michigan Grower's Choice Award in 1999 and appears on horticulture professor Michael Dirr's top 12 list, as well as Tom Green's top 10 list of best crabapples.

      Name: Malus 'Sutyzam'

      Form: Oval

      Size: 15-18 feet tall and 12-18 feet wide

      Zones: 4-8

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      Thunderchild

      Thunderchild crabapple has dark pink blooms that develop into 1/2-inch-diameter purple-red fruits. The fruits remain attached to the tree until birds eat them in fall and winter. The tree has deep purple oval leaves that turn mottled yellow and orange in fall. This upright spreading or oval tree is exceptionally hardy. It has excellent resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust, but is sensitive to apple scab. Trees may need fungicide sprays in scab-prone regions.

      Name: Malus 'Thunderchild'

      Form: Upright spreader

      Size: 15-20 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Weeping Candied Apple

      Also sold as Candied Apple, this weeping tree has red buds that open to pink blooms. Candy-apple red fruits 1/2 inch in diameter cover the tree in fall. Foliage is green with a wine-red overcast.
      The broadly arching branches of Weeping Candied Apple give it a mildly weeping form. Although it generally has good resistance to major foliar crabapple diseases, some growers report some susceptibility to apple scab.

      Name: Malus 'Weepcanzam'

      Form: Broad arching to weeping

      Size: 10-15 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide

      Zones: 3-8

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      Zumi Calocarpa

      Also known as redbud crabapple, Malus x zumi 'Calocarpa' has red buds that open to white flowers with a pink blush. Orange-red fruits are 1/2 inch in diameter and persist on the tree into early winter. The dark green foliage turns clear yellow in fall. Named one of the top 10 crabapple varieties in the National Crabapple Evaluation Program, this rounded to pyramidal variety has good to excellent resistance to apple scab, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew. Fire blight resistance is only fair. Zumi Calocarpa was hybridized at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum.

      Name: Malus x zumi 'Calocarpa'

      Form: Rounded

      Size: 15-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide
      Zones: 4-8

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      Next Slideshow Our Favorite Small Trees

      Our Favorite Small Trees

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