Ornamental trees make a great focal point, and they give more structure and framework to any landscape design. One example is the flowering crabapple (Malus spp.), a well-recognized ornamental tree closely related to orchard apples. The crabapple blossom adds beauty to home gardens when it showcases an abundant bloom of fragrant flowers and attractive small fruits. Read on below to know more about crabapple blossom meaning and symbolism, the most popular types and our essential tips for growing crabapple blossom at home. 


Crabapple Blossom Meaning – the Essentials 

The crabapple blossom is associated with love, marriage, and fertility. The crabapple flowers are also symbolic of youth, surprise, and joy. There’s a traditional belief that if you throw a crabapple seed into the fire while saying your special someone’s name, it’s true love if the seed explodes. 


All About Flowering Crabapple Trees

All About Flowering Crabapple Trees

Flowering Crabapple Trees – Family, Genus, and Taxonomy

Flowering crabapple trees refer to the several species in the Malus genus of the Rosaceae botanical family. The genus includes 30 to 55 species and natural hybrids of small trees or shrubs, including the cultivated Apple fruit tree (M. domestica). 

What Regions Are Crabapple Trees Native To?

Crabapple trees are native to the temperate regions of North America, Europe, and Asia. 

When Do Crabapple Trees Blossom? 

Generally, these compact ornamental trees showcase their beautiful blossoms in spring. Bloom time depends on the variety, elevation, and weather conditions. Some crabapple tree varieties (mostly single-flowered varieties) flower relatively earlier than the others. Some types start flowering mid-season, while others bloom in late spring.

The flowering of crabapple blossoms lasts from 1 to 2 weeks. 

Etymological Meaning, History, Origins 

Crabapple trees originated in the Tien Shan mountains of Central Asia (now Kazakhstan). Their popularity as small trees started when the Romans brought them to Europe around the 18th century. From there, plant breeders developed more cultivars suited for ornamental use. The species eventually reached North America, where they remain a popular choice for gardens up to this day.


The Most Popular Types of Flowering Crabapple Trees

Many different types and cultivars of crabapple trees offer a wide range of characteristics in flower color, tree size and shape, fragrance, fruit retention, foliage, and growth habit. Here are the most popular types of flowering crabapple trees for garden use.

Golden Hornet 

The Golden Hornet crabapple cultivar (Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’) is one of the most popular flowering crabapple trees for garden use. It is a medium-sized variety that grows up to 30ft tall and blooms in late spring. It has an upright form and features fragrant white flowers and golden yellow fruits. 

Sargent Tina 

Sargent Tina

Malus sargentii ‘Tina’ or Sargent Crabapple is a dwarf crabapple variety ideal for those who don’t have much space in their gardens. It may be smaller than other types, but it showcases gorgeous red flowers that indeed turn heads as they bloom. It also features equally attractive bright red fruits. 

Adirondack

This award-winning variety is an oval-shaped, upright, and small flowering tree. It features red buds that bloom beautifully into white flowers with hints of pink followed by small red to orange fruits. 

Adams

The ‘Adams’ crabapple is a semi-double type that adds a pop of deep pink hue to your garden when it blooms in spring. After flowering, it will showcase bright red crabapple fruits that attract birds. The green leaves turn orange and red in the fall. 

Callaway   

‘Callaway’ crabapple is an oval-formed type that grows up to 25 ft tall and 20 ft wide. It flaunts single-type white flowers in spring, followed by large red fruits. The green foliage turns yellow, orange, and red in the fall. 

Cinderella

Another popular dwarf variety is the ‘Cinderella’ crabapple. Ideal for small gardens, this compact plant grows up to only 8 ft tall and 6 ft wide. It showcases dense masses of single-type white flowers and golden yellow fruits. The green leaves turn golden yellow in the fall.  

Robinson

Robinson

‘Robinson’ crabapple is a fast-growing upright cultivar that grows up to 25 ft tall and wide. It displays pale pink flowers and dark red fruits. The foliage starts purple but turns green as the plant grows, then becomes orange in the fall. 

  • Butterball
  • Comtesse de Paris
  • Evereste
  • Harvest Gold
  • Laura
  • Louisa
  • Prairifire
  • Profusion
  • Red Jewel
  • Royal Raindrops
  • Snowdrift
  • Sun Rival

Crabapple Botanical Characteristics, Colors, and Fragrances

Crabapple Botanical Characteristics, Colors, and Fragrances

Crabapples present a variety of shapes and sizes. These ornamental trees are mostly upright with spreading growth habits. Other cultivars, however, are more vase-shaped or columnar. Small crabapple trees or dwarf crabapples commonly reach up to 15 ft. Medium varieties grow up to about 15 to 20 ft, while large crabapple trees grow up to 40 ft in height. 

Crabapple Flowers

Crabapple Flowers

Crabapple flowers come in different forms depending on the variety. There are single, semi-double, or double crabapple blossoms

Single-flowered crabapples have five petals and usually flower earlier than other flower types and varieties. Semi-double crabapples, on the other hand, have 6 to 10 petals per flower. Double-flowered crabapples are those with more than ten petals.

Crabapple Fruits

Crabapple Fruits

Since the flowering crabapple trees are closely related to orchard apples, their botanical characteristics are almost similar. Their fruits, for instance, look the same but differ in size. Crabapple fruits are much smaller, measuring only about 0.25 to 2 inches in diameter. 

While crabapple flowers are often the main attraction of these small deciduous trees, the fruits are likewise recognized for their beauty. Fruit colors range from lime to yellow, orange, purple, pink, and bright red.

Crabapple Foliage

Crabapple leaves are elliptical and come in shades of green to purple and form a dense canopy. They turn golden yellow, orange, or red in fall. 

Crabapple Fragrance

Most crabapples varieties give out a fantastic fragrance that makes them much more appealing. The scent can be different, though. Some crabapple varieties have an exotic, cinnamon-like fragrance, while others smell like the usual orchard apple tree. 

Suitable Growing Zones

Plants in the Malus genus are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. 


Uses and Benefits of Crabapple Trees / Blossoms 

Uses and Benefits of Crabapple Trees Blossoms

Known best for their ornamental value, crabapple trees make an excellent addition to landscape designs in home gardens, parks, and commercial establishments. Because of their beauty and size, crabapples are ideal as patio trees or specimen trees. There are recognized dwarf varieties that are suitable for container planting and mass planting. 

Crabapples are generally not toxic. In fact, crabapple fruits are frequent ingredients in jellies, jams, and other desserts. They serve as food for birds, mice, foxes, and other wildlife. However, there are reports that the seeds can be toxic to dogs if eaten in large amounts. 

In traditional medicine, crabapples are treatments against wounds and inflammation. 


Crabapple Blossom Meaning & Symbolism 

Crabapple Blossom Meaning & Symbolism

The Meaning, Symbolism, and Cultural Significance of Crabapples

The crabapple blossom is often associated with fertility, marriage, and love. Generally, the crabapple flowers are also a symbol of youth, surprise, and joy. They come in different colors, including white, pink, and red.

There’s a traditional belief that if you throw a crabapple seed into the fire while saying your special someone’s name, it’s true love if the seed explodes. 

Crabapple Blossom in Art and Literature

Crabapples play an exciting role in arts and literature. You’d often read about them in books and see them in paintings and other artworks. In Japan, flowering branches are part of ikebana or traditional floral arrangements. There are also crabapple references in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour Lost. 


Suitable Gifting Occasions for Crabapple Blossoms

Suitable Gifting Occasions for Crabapple Blossoms

Crabapples are prevalent as ornamental trees, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t make an excellent gift. Crabapple blossoms, in particular, are also used in bouquets and other floral arrangements. One example is the Malus’ Wedding Bouquet,’ which is perfect for weddings.  

Dwarf varieties, on the other hand, can be gifted in containers or big pots. Another popular gifting option is a crabapple tree sapling. It’s a great choice when buying a gift for someone special or a friend who likes plants. Known as the “Tree of Love,” crabapple trees are a favorite for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and other celebrations. 


Wrap Up

Crabapples have long been a classic favorite in any landscape design and garden. The small to medium deciduous trees put on a real show in spring with their beautiful, fragrant blooms in white, pink, or red shades. After the showy floral display in spring, attractive fruits start to appear, bringing more colors to any space. 

More than the crabapple’s popularity and attractive features are meanings and symbolism that offer endless possibilities. Generally, crabapple trees and flowers are a symbol of fertility, love, and marriage. They are also relevant in different cultures, as well as in arts and literature. 


Crabapple Blossom FAQ

Do crabapple trees have flowers?

Yes, flowering crabapple trees include numerous species in the Malus genus of the Rosaceae botanical family. This includes 30 to 55 species and natural hybrids of small trees or shrubs, including the cultivated Apple fruit tree (M. domestica). Crabapple flowers come in different forms depending on the variety. There are single, semi-double, or double crabapple blossoms.

How do you identify a crabapple tree?

Crabapple trees present a variety of shapes and sizes. These ornamental trees are mostly upright with spreading growth habits. Other cultivars, however, are more vase-shaped or columnar.

What time of year do crabapple trees bloom?

Most flowering crabapple trees will start to blossom from mid to late spring each year dependent on the prevailing weather conditions.

What color is crab apple blossom?

The most commonly produced colors of crabapple blossom include whites, pinks, and reds.


Petal Republic’s flower and plant guides:

Looking for a particular stem or in need of some inspiration on the best blooms for a certain occasion? Check out Petal Republic’s expert flower guides to Roses, Jasmine, Edelweiss, Bouvardia, Acanthus, Ranunculus, Lilies, Irises, Borage, Clovers, Freesia, Anemone, Begonia, Orchids, Allium, Carnations, Coreopsis, Gerbera Daisies, Gladiolus, and Peonies.  


Author

I’ve long been fascinated with the world of flowers, plants, and floral design. I come from a family of horticulturists and growers and spent much of my childhood in amongst the fields of flowering blooms and greenhouses filled with tropical plants, cacti, and succulents from all over the world. Today, my passion has led me to further explore the world of horticulture, botany, and floristry and I'm always excited to meet and collaborate with fellow enthusiasts and professionals from across the globe.

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