Give Your Garden Bright Spring Color
Crabapple picks for home
Ed Hasselkus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum recommends these varieties. All are hardy to Zone 4 and thrive in well-drained soil and full sun.
'Adirondack' (Malus 'Adirondack') Ed calls this "the best upright crab." Its red buds become white flowers that set persistent orange-red fruit. It's disease-resistant, especially to scab. 18 feet tall, 16 feet wide.
'Candymint' (Malus sargentii 'Candymint') This hybrid sports red flowers, a flat top and a widespread growth habit. White and pink fruit. 8 - 10 feet tall, 18 feet wide.
'Firebird' (M. sargentii 'Select' Firebird) Mike Yanny of Johnson's Nursery in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, developed this crab. Its red buds open into white flowers. It sets long-lasting red fruit every year (unlike some crabapples that flower every other year). 8 feet tall and wide.
'Louisa' (Malus 'Louisa') Ed's favorite weeping crab has "fantastic form" and is one of only two crabs with true rose-pink flowers. (The other is Pink Sparkles.) Golden fruit. 15 feet tall and wide.
Pink Sparkles ('Malusquest') Developed by Majestic Nursery in West Alexandria, Ohio, Pink Sparkles offers rose-pink flowers; tiny, long-lasting red fruit; and a compact, upright form (15 feet tall, 12 feet wide). This tree is new enough, however, that it may be difficult to find.
Sugar Tyme 'Sutyzam' Ed calls it the best white-flowered crabapple. "It has nice form and good persistent fruits," Ed says, adding, "If you planted five of them, they'd all look exactly alike." Red fruit. 20 feet tall, 15 feet wide.
Sources: For larger trees, check local garden centers. For seedlings in 1- and 5-gallon pot sizes, try Forestfarm.