Jorge, Plants, Trees

Crabapple Cultivar Guide

The underrated crabapple has many great features. The fruit is long lasting and can survive well into winter, providing a source of nutrients for birds and welcome colour in the garden. They can be used to create a range of culinary delights, from baking to cider, and are often used as a substitute for pectin products, saving unnecessary expenditure and increasing self-sustainability. 

The blossom is long lasting and often fragrant, constituting a worthy competitor to cherry blossom with numerous tones available. Great pollinators, they are the perfect addition to your apple orchard, increasing cropping and enhancing taste. 

Primrose Crabapples A-Z

Malus ‘Butterball’

Originating from North America, the Butterball is among the best crabapples for autumn colour, producing an abundance of yellow fruits. Great for cottage planting schemes, this small tree slots well into any bed and produces pink-blushed white flowers come spring.

Malus ‘Evereste’

An offspring of no fewer than four cultivars, the tree was developed over a long time span, first in the United States and later in France when it was completed by the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique in 1977. Not actually named after Mount Everest, its name is a play on words with evereste signaling the eve (apples) reste (rest) on the tree all winter. The tree is known for its disease resistance and is immune to fire blight, apple scab and powdery mildew. Profuse, the tree produces white flowers and orange fruit with streaks of red.

Malus floribunda ‘Japanese Crabapple’

Highly popular and deservedly so, the tree is great for form and flower, producing a dense rounded canopy with fragrant deep pink flowers emerging from deep red buds, which turn white over time. The fruits can vary from nursery to nursery and are sometimes red, but often yellow. First introduced from Japan in the 1860s, the variety is naturally resistant to apple scab and its gene has been spliced into many cultivated varieties.

Malus ‘John Downie’

Named after a Scottish nurseryman, this popular crabapple is notable for its gorgeous fruit, great in both taste and appearance. Perfect for crabapple jelly, its fruit is large and red-yellow in colour, while its single-flower blossom is white.

Malus ‘Montreal Beauty’

Perfect for small gardens, Montreal Beauty is notable for its large white flowers, backdropped by crisp green leaves.

Malus ‘Pink Perfection’

Pink Perfection is one of the few crabapples with double-flowers and henceforth has more petals than most cultivars. Emerging from pink buds, its flowers are white and are intricately clustered as if arranged by a florist.

Malus pumila ‘Royalty’

The Royalty is notable for its bronze-leaved foliage and dark purple blossom. It was developed from the Malus ‘Niedzwetzkyana’, a cultivar from central Asia from which all bronze-leaved and purple-flowering crabapples derive. Its fruitlets are deep red and unsuitable for culinary use.

Malus ‘Sun Rival’

Weeping in habit, this small tree forms an unusual umbrella shape and has distinctive cascades of white flowers.

Malus x atrosanguinea ‘Gorgeous’

A fantastic ornamental, Gorgeous creates an array of colours throughout the seasons starting with its white flower, emerging from pink buds. Next come crimson fruit in great numbers that are highly suitable for jelly. And finally, unlike other crabapples, its leaves turn yellow and orange come autumn.

Malus x moerlandsii ‘Liset’

If you love intense colours, the Liset is for you with its deep reddish-pink flowers and small cherry-like fruits, completed by dark-green foliage.

Malus x moerlandsii ‘Profusion’

A fantastic tree for year round colour, the Profusion’s leaves first start coppery red, before turning dark green when mature and then bronze come autumn. Its flowers are dainty with long elliptic petals, dainty in appearance, and long white stamens with yellow tops. Rounding off the year are its purple fruits, which are unsuitable for culinary use, but great for bees.

Malus x purpurea ‘Neville Copeman’

Heavy cropping, high in pectin, the Neville Copeman’s plum-like fruit is sometimes eaten fresh, but be warned it’s sour! It is a great pollinator and very popular with bees. Its foliage is purple-flushed and blossom two-tone pink.

Malus x robusta ‘Red Sentinel’

Regardless of weather, the red sentinel’s red fruit can last all the way to Christmas and longer, constituting a fantastic source of colour and nutrients for birds. Shapely, the tree constitutes an ideal center-piece and come spring is covered in numerous fragrant white blossom.

Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’

An offspring of the Malus prunifolia rinki, the Hornet was first raised in the UK in 1949. Its fruit is high pectin and is henceforth useable as a source of pectin and great for jams. A great pollinator with long lasting pink white blossom, the tree can be commonly viewed at the end of rows of apple trees in commercial orchards. Profuse in bloom and fruit, the Hornet creates great colour throughout the year with its leaves turning yellow come autumn.

Jorge at PrimroseJorge works in the Primrose marketing team. He is an avid reader, although struggles to stick to one topic!

His ideal afternoon would involve a long walk, before settling down for scones.

Jorge is a journeyman gardener with experience in growing crops.

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