I Love Flowering Crabapples

When it comes to small flowering trees, is there anything better than the Crabapple (Malus sp.)? Of course not – I’m glad you agree. And my ‘Donald Wyman’ flowering crab is especially lovable this year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this tree so full of blooms.

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Crabapples are also excellent habitat plants. The flowers are popular with pollinators. Douglas Tallamy found in his research that when it comes to supporting insects, Crabapples ranked 6th among the woody genera he studied.

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Birds feed on those insects, as well as on the fruit and buds. Orioles will eat nectar from the flowers.

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One drawback of ‘Donald Wyman’, though, is that birds are not interested in its fruit. Generally, birds like Crabapples with smaller fruit. This is why I planted a second Crabapple, ‘Golden Raindrops’, in the back garden. ‘Golden Raindrops’ is one of the last Crabapples to bloom, so it has no flowers as yet.

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But ‘Donald Wyman’ makes up for this defect with outstanding disease resistance, at least in my experience. We’ve had ours for over 10 years without ever spraying, and there has never been any sign of fungal or other diseases.

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Another small tree that is flowering beautifully at the moment is our ‘Autumn Brilliance’ Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora). Ours are multi-stem, so they look more like shrubs than trees.

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Serviceberries are another genus of outstanding wildlife plants.

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Our two Serviceberries are planted near the neighbor’s flowering Crabapple. As a reslut, we can enjoy the Serviceberries’ simple white flowers juxtaposed against the fluffy pink of the neighbor’s Malus, with both of them set off (this past weekend, at least) against a pure blue sky.

What flowering tree is making you happiest at the moment?

73 Comments on “I Love Flowering Crabapples”

  1. The first Crab Apple tree, Donald Wyman is stunning! That is my favourite! We had a lovely Crab Apple with pink blossoms in the front garden, but it gradually took over the whole (smallish) garden….but seeing these, I miss it….that is the trouble with reading garden blogs isn’t it…… enough with all these tempting spring photos!

  2. Crab apples are wonderful 4 season trees. Your comments on their value to birds are great. (I’m a big fan of Doug Tallamy!)

    For a great guide to crab apples Google Michigan State University’s Crabapple selection chart which is an extension publication listing and comparing 85 cultivars. Height, flower color , fruit color and size, disease resistance and more are covered. It’s a such a useful bulletin!

  3. How gorgeous your crabapple is in full bloom! I’m glad to hear that the crabapples are ranked so highly in terms of benefit to wildlife, as we have two that we planted a couple years ago. They are still small, but going strong (I am glad of especially since they were end of the season clearance trees.) They are just now starting to bloom. I love the Serviceberries. We have a couple in our woods that are so pretty now.

  4. Have just enjoyed our own Amelanchiors – and Prunus ‘Tai-haku’ – in the garden, now enjoying the wonderful apple blossom over the wall. When it comes to trees, ‘borrowed’ landscape can be amongst a garden’s chief joys! Your Donald Wyman is amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Donald is a beauty! I think that’s the first time I’ve ever used those two nouns in the same sentence:) I agree–I love flowering crabapples. I don’t know the names of any of mine, because they were planted before we moved here, but we have a white one that always does well, too. And I’m not surprised by the findings of its benefits to wildlife. The bees were buzzing around its blossoms, and the birds love it all year round. My pinks and reds didn’t bloom as well this year, though; I think/hope they were nipped by a cold snap just as they were budding out.

  6. I have a crabapple that’s been blooming for oh, the last two weeks maybe, it’s beautiful too. I don’t know what variety it is, got it from the Arbor Day Society shortly after I moved in 17 years ago. The squirrels seem to eat most of its tiny fruits. Oh well. My redbud is looking pretty gorgeous now too. The serviceberry is beautiful.

  7. I have the same Serviceberry cultivar (Amelanchier x grandiflora) here in the Pacific Northwest. Our Spring is a bit colder than usual, so it just finished blooming (a few white blossoms left). The parent of the cross, Amelanchier alnifolia, is native to the PNW. It’s ranges south all the way to northern California a north to British Columbia.

    Another great northwest native is Ribies sanguineum, the red flowering current, also blooming now in my garden. I have both the native and King Alfred Alfred VII. The native ribies was “discovered” in 1793 by Archibald Menzies (who traveled with Captain George Vancouver’s expeditions to explore the Pacific Northwest’s coastal regions), then made its way back across the Atlantic and decades later as Alfred VII !!!! It’s a great story, check it out:

    https://raingardenartsblog.com/2013/04/05/red-flowering-currant/

  8. Crabapples are gorgeous, you’re right. We have a particularly blowsy, over-the-top cherry tree doing its thing at the moment, but my favourite has to be apple blossom. White, tinged with pink and a lovely scent. Oh, and our lilac is almost in bloom…

  9. Your blossom is beautiful! We also have some lovely blossom in the countryside all around us at the moment and the smell is heavenly on dog walks! I think we have what you call Serviceberry too, as well as crab apples and various types of wild cherry.

  10. No trees blooming in my garden at the moment.

    We’re sort of in a lull between the crabapple and the redbuds (which bloomed this year for about 3 weeks from late March to mid April) and the summer flowering trees (crape myrtle, vitex).

    My neighbor’s dogwood is just finishing up its bloom. It was really pretty this year. And I drove by a mature tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) in full bloom today that was just magnificent.

  11. I love Crabapples, too. The scent is intoxicating, and the blooms are swoon-worthy. You are lucky to have a Serviceberry–that’s on my wish list someday–maybe not in my current garden because I don’t have a good place for it, but someday. I didn’t realize Tallamy’s research found Crabapples so beneficial, but I’m not surprised–they always have so many pollinators and birds partying in them this time of year!

  12. Now you make me wish I’d purchased a crab apple. During the winter I looked hard at crab apples, but didn’t buy one. I have a limited amount of full sun. Your crab apple is terrific. There is definitely some heavy crab apple envy going on here. The Serviceberry is lovely as well.

  13. We have a large Goat Willow, Salix Caprea, which for 363 days of the year is nothing special But in spring, on just a couple of warm, sunny days, the tree releases countless tiny white fluffy seeds en masse. They are released in such profusion it can honestly look as though it is snowing heavily, it’s an amazing thing to be in the centre of a swirling mass of white fully seed coming off the tree, but it’s just for a couple of days only.

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