Flowering crabapple blooms like flowering cherry.

All crabapple trees flower. Almost all subsequently produce fruit. Those designated as ‘flowering’ crabapples exhibit the most spectacular bloom, but generally produce inferior fruit. A few cultivars are nearly fruitless. Crabapples not designated as ‘flowering’ are not as bold in bloom, but generally produce larger fruit of better quality. Their fruit is useful for jelly and other culinary applications.

Almost all crabapple trees here are flowering crabapples. Fruiting crabapples are rare locally. Their fruit is not as popular as it is in other regions. However, flowering crabapples that produce big fruit are increasingly trendy. Their fruits can get as wide as an inch and a half, almost as big as fruits of fruiting crabapples. If not picked or eaten by birds, even typical berry sized fruits are messy.

White, pink or reddish pink bloom is impressively profuse, just prior to spring foliation. In fact, bloom is comparable to that of flowering cherries, and only a bit later. Most flowering crabapples get no taller than fifteen feet. Aggressive annual dormant pruning is not necessary as it is for trees that produce heavy apples. Instead, mature trees appreciate summer structure pruning and thinning.

4 thoughts on “Flowering Crabapple

  1. Give us 5 years and then I’ll report on the crabapples that we are planting now and last spring. We are wanting some fruit from them even if it is only for the wildlife but we also really like the spectacular bloom that we are expecting. The crab has a much nicer form than the Japanese cherry.

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    1. Both flowering cherries and flowering crabapples are variable in regard to form. There are just so many cultivars. The old types of Flowering crabapples, as well as some of the modern cultivars, need more pruning than flowering cherries though.

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  2. Love flowering crabs! Every spring the Chicago Botanic Garden has an incredible display, the flowers reflected in the water of the Great Basin. We try to make it every year, though we don’t always succeed. I like white-flowered crabs the best – we have 2 in our garden, ‘Donald Wyman’ out front and ‘Golden Raindrops’ in back.

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    1. Yes, I remember yours. Flowering crabapples are more popular in your region than they are here. My first crabapple bloomed a rich reddish pink. It was probably the reddest flowering crabapple at the time, in about 1956, and was planted by someone from Detroit.

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