Crab Apples – easy to grow and perfect for smaller gardens

The Crab Apple – one of the best small garden trees.

Considered by many to be one of the best small garden trees, the crab apple provides a mass of late spring blossom which rivals that of the Japanese Cherry,  with a variety of very attractive, often edible fruit.

One of our favourites is the Malus ‘Jelly king’. Growing to around 6 to 8ft in height this compact tree is covered with fantastic white blossom in late spring then bears long lasting, large orange/pink fruit which make and excellent jelly of the same colour.

Are Crab Apple Trees easy to grow?

Crab Apples are fairly easy to grow and perfect for smaller gardens, they like any well drained, reasonably fertile soil – If the soil is too rich then they tend to produce growth at the expense of flowering. They like sun but are equally happy in dappled shade of other trees for some of the day.

Plant by digging a hole deep enough to take the rootball, leave the top of the compost at the same level as the surrounding soil. Stake, then firm back the soil around the rootball and water well.

How do I prune my Crab Apple Tree?

In general Crab Apples are pretty trouble free and pruning is straightforward; Prune before buds appear in the spring. Pruning after the start of the season’s growth will disrupt the life cycle of the tree and prevent it from bearing fruit. Remove any dead, diseased wood or those branches which are crossing each other. This allows air and sunlight into the tree so it will produce better quality fruit.

Further information on pruning can be found at

It is better not to prune your crab apple tree for a year after planting to allow the extra foliage to absorb the suns energy which it will use to become established.

What is the difference between apple trees and crab apple trees?

 The difference between standard apple trees and crab apples is determined solely on the size of the fruit Trees that produce apples 2 in. or less in size are considered crab apples.