Malus- Crab Apple

Deciduous ornamental shrubs, bushes as well as trees. Like ordinary apple trees they produce beautiful flowers and attractive fruits. However, in the ornamental forms the flowers are more beautiful, while the little apples, however attractive to the eye, are not very good to eat raw though excellent for making jelly. There are only a few varieties with a pleasant taste.


Crab apple trees can be used in any reasonably sized garden. Many varieties are grafted on tall stock and take up little or no ground space. For profuse flowering and fruit formation full sun is desirable. There are now few original species on the market. The majority of forms on offer are hybrids, whose origin cannot always be established; consequently they are now classified by variety. Unfortunately many strains are sensitive to scab. It is possible to carry out preventive spraying, but this has its own disadvantages.


Apple trees like porous soil with not too high a water level; a certain amount of clay or loam is appreciated.


Only the species can be grown from seed; all others are increased by grafting, often on fairly tall stock.

Mains ‘Aldenhamensis’: Height to 3 m; large purple-red flowers in late spring; the foliage is also purple-coloured. Unfortunately the fruit has little ornamental value. Very suitable for small gardens.

Mains ‘Almey’: Height to 6 m; lilac-red flowers with a star-shaped white centre in late spring; the leaves are initially purple, later turning bronze green. In early to mid autumn red fruits are developed.

Malus X atrosanguinea: Height to 5 m; crimson flowers in late spring the colour of which subsequently fades. The leaves are green and glossy, the fruits yellow green with a tinge of red; they soon drop.

Malus ‘Butterball’: Height to 6 m; very pale pink flowers in late spring; small green leaves. Golden-yellow fruits. Malus ‘CheaPs Weeping’: Height to 3 m, a drooping form with arching branches; single, pale lilac-red flowers in late spring. The foliage is bronze coloured. Malus coronaria: Height to 6 m; white flowers with a faint rose-red tinge in late spring; the flowers are violet-scented. The small tree or shrub has large green leaves and is thorny. ‘Charlottae’ is the finest variety, with large semi-double pink flowers from late spring onwards. In-conspicuous green fruits.

Mains ‘Dorothea’: Height to 3 m, a shrub of moderate growth; large, semi-double, rose-red flowers in late spring; the colour does not fade. The thin, erect growing branches bear green foliage. Yellow fruits. Mains ‘Eleyi’: Height to 5 m, densely branching tree; bright wine-red single flowers, 3 cm across, in late spring. Large, glossy purple-coloured leaves, subsequently turning bronze green. The fruits are deep red in colour. Mains floribunda; Tree to 6 m, picturesque habit; flowers profusely in late spring, the flowers being clear pink when in bud, white inside. Foliage green. At a later stage yellow-green fruits are developed, which remain on the tree until late autumn.

Mains ‘John Downie’: Height to 6 m; single white flowers in late spring. Green foliage. The little bright orange-red apples provide the most decorative aspect of the tree, they are also fairly tasty.

Mains ‘Lemoinei’: Height to 6 m; dark-red single flowers in late spring. The foliage is deep purple; the little apples are also dark in colour, and not very conspicuous. Mains ‘Liset’: Tree to 5 m; deep rose-red flowers in late spring, even in young trees. Purple-coloured foliage and numerous purple fruits.

Mains ‘Neville Copeman’: Height to 6 m, broad habit; lilac-pink flowers in late spring. The foliage is initially purple, later turning green. Numerous very beautiful little apples.

Mains sargentii: Height to 2 m, very spreading habit; in late spring it is densely covered in fragrant white flowers. The green foliage turns orange yellow in the autumn. Small dark-red fruits.

Mains sieboldii: Height to 6 m, a tree with a broad crown; white flowers in late spring. Glossy green foliage, turning a fine shade of yellow in the autumn. Yellow fruits. Mains ‘Van Eseltine’: Height to 5 m, columnar habit; large, rose-red double flowers, very beautiful. Yellow-green fruits.

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