Take A Look At Crabapples

Close-up of this crabapple coming into bloom.

This is a mature crabapple tree. It is about 20 feet tall.

These small flowering trees have a variety of flower colors, red, white, pink, and all types of variations of these colors. So why not take another look at this great flowering tree? If you can grow cherries, you can grow crabapples. Here is why I like these trees. The spring flowering magnolias are typically the first of the spring flowering trees followed by the different cherry types. In my neighborhood the cherries have finished, and guess what? That is right the crabapples are coming into bloom. In a typical year many of the selections of crabapple bloom between the cherries and dogwoods. This year is the exception. So, typically they are a great spring flowering tree in a non-flowering time. Plus there is a native species that is as beautiful in my mind as our native dogwoods but difficult to find.
The culture of flowering crabapple is easy, in that it does well in our typical soils and likes a good sunny, well drained location. There is the trick. Oftentimes when you go to a fine garden center, they cannot sell enough to justify carrying this small tree. So about your only source is big box stores and big box home improvement stores. When purchasing them, be sure to look for a straight tree with some branching, and one that has a trunk without any major scars. Good luck, and it will reward with a glorious set of flowers that will last a couple of weeks in mid-Spring.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

2 thoughts on “Take A Look At Crabapples

  1. Another great attribute of the crab apple tree is they attract tons of birds to the garden. The density of foliage provides good shelter for nesting and rearing plus when the fruit ripens a veritable feast is readily available.
    Also, I have fond memories of hurling the unripe fruit (which is hard and fully capable of inflicting a tad of pain when it connects with tender skin) at my brother and sister in classic “crab apple fights”.
    And last but not least, the fruit makes a grand jelly.

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