Plant Information Database


Learn how to care for crabapples along with its history and classification details. Crabapples also fall under the overall Apple category.

how to grow crab apples

Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Soil Type: Slightly acidic, rich soil with good drainage
Sun Exposure: Full sun
Annual or Perennial: Perennial
Type: Tree

History: The crabapple Tree originated in the mountainous regions of Central Asia, specifically in modern day Kazakhstan. Often used for cooking flames for smoked foods, crabapple wood releases a pleasant aroma while burning very slowly.

Commonly used for patios and street lining for decorative “warm glow” in springtime. Crabapple trees are stiffer in form and spinier than the common apple. The plants are deciduous and often have attractive fall foliage. The simple ovate leaves are serrated along the margins and are borne alternately along the twigs. The fragrant white, pink, carmine, or purplish flowers appear early in showy masses.

Crab apple tress symbolize love and marriage.

how to grow crabapples

How to Care for Crabapples

Common questions and details on how to care for crabapples.

How do I plant crabapples?

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 2 to 3 times as wide. Set the tree into the hole and fill hole half with soil and water to remove any air pockets. Once the soil settles the water will drain out, at that point you can finish filling in the hole.

When is the best time to plant?

The best time to plant a crabapple tree is in the spring of fall. The soil should be moist combined with cool temperatures.

How do I propagate crabapples?

To propagate a crabapple tree, clip an up to 12 inch cutting from the flexible green growth at the tip of the branch. Strip any lower leaves as well as at least 3 inches of bark at the bottom of the cutting. Use a rooting hormone and place the cutting in a pot of coarse sand. To hold in moisture place pot within a plastic bag until the roots form (about 4 weeks). Once roots are established remove bag and place pot in full sunlight.

How much should I water crabapples?

The crabapple tree tends to be drought tolerant, but prefer about an inch of water per week. However, if you live in an area where there is a lot of rainfall reduce your watering schedule. Over watering will hinder the tree’s growth.

How do I care for crabapples with fertilizer?

The rule of thumb fertilizing the crabapple tree is to put limited amount of compost around the roots in the spring along with composted manure in around the roots in the fall.

When do crabapples bloom?

Crabapple trees will bloom in late spring.

How do I know when crabapples are ripe?

Cut open the crabapple, seeds should be brown. If seeds are white or green then it is not yet ripe. The apple itself should also feel somewhat squishy when pressed with your hand. It has a lovely sour taste to it.

When do I harvest crabapples?

Crabapples appear on trees in the summer, however, the best time to harvest apples is in the winter. The colder weather makes the crabapples soft and sweet.

What is the best way to store crabapples?

Store crabapples in a sealed container in the fridge. Crabapples pick with flavors of other foods they’re combined with. However, they also freeze well.

Is a crabapple a fruit or a vegetable?

Crabapples are a fruit.

Should I plant any companion plants?

Herbaceous and tree peonies are great companion plants for the crabapple tree.

What are the health benefits of the crabapples?

Raw crabapples are high in antioxidants with low levels of iron, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, and magnesium.

Slow cooker crab apple butter

Turn these tart apples into a delicious treat to spread on various breads.

how to grow crabapple trees
crab apples edible
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting golden delicious.

~Bill Meyer

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