Gardeners love options. In a recent Better Homes and Gardens online article, Denny Schrock spotlighted over 30 fabulous flowering crabapples of which 10 trees were bred or introduced by my father, Jim Zampini. Here are some excerpts from his article, Best Crabapples for Your Yard.


Brandywine® Crabapple

The double rosy-pink blooms of Brandywine crabapple look like clusters of roses on the tree. They develop into 1-inch diameter yellow-green fruits, which attract birds. Fruits tend to drop, so harvest them and use them for making jelly to prevent messy cleanup. Leaves of Brandywine are green with a wine-red cast; fall hues are a blend of yellow and orange. Often broader than tall, Brandywine trees are rounded in form. This variety has good resistance to fire blight and powdery mildew, but it’s moderately susceptible to scab and highly susceptible to cedar-apple rust. In scab-prone areas, you may have to spray the tree with fungicides to prevent it from losing all of its foliage.

Name: Malus ‘Branzam’ 
Form: Broad, rounded 
Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide
Zones: 4-8



centurionCenturion® Crabapple

The deep rosy-red blooms of Centurion crabapple are followed by red fruits 1/2 to 5/8 inch in diameter. The fruits attract birds but tend to drop from the tree before winter arrives. Leaves emerge reddish green and maintain bronze tinges throughout the growing season. Fall foliage color is yellow-orange. Centurion crabapple is strongly upright to columnar when young, but as it matures it develops a rounded, oval form. Like most other crabapple varieties, it needs full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Centurion does not perform well in Zone 8 or warmer, although it has good resistance to apple scab and excellent resistance to fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew.    Name: Malus ‘Centzam’
Form: Upright columnar when young, broad oval with age
Size: 20-25 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide
Zones: 4-7



cinderellaCinderella® Dwarf Crabapple

Cinderella crabapple is a compact plant with densely packed white blooms in spring. Fruits are golden yellow and 1/4 inch in diameter. They persist into fall but may drop when winter arrives, if birds haven’t devoured them first. Foliage on Cinderella trees is medium green, becoming yellow in autumn. If you want a crabapple tree but think your yard doesn’t have room for one, take another look at Cinderella. This tiny tree fits almost any landscape, or even container gardens. It has good resistance to apple scab and excellent resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust.

Name: Malus ‘Cinzam’
Form: Oval, dwarf
Size: 6-8 feet tall and 5-6 feet wide
Zones: 4-8


harvest goldHarvest Gold® Crabapple

Harvest Gold is a late-flowering crabapple with pink buds that open to single white blooms. Often considered the best gold-fruited crabapple, it develops 1/2-inch diameter bright yellow fruits that persist into winter. Medium green foliage turns clear yellow in fall. The upright oval to vase shape of Harvest Gold crabapple makes the tree a good small shade tree as well as a flowering and fruiting ornamental. It has good resistance to all four major crabapple diseases — fire blight, apple scab, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. Horticulture professor Michael Dirr, Ph.D., calls Harvest Gold one of his top 12 crabapple varieties.

Name: Malus ‘Hargozam’
Form: Upright oval
Size: 20-25 feet tall and 15-25 feet wide
Zones: 3-8




 Lancelot® Dwarf Crabapple

The pure white blooms of Lancelot crabapple are a fragrant addition to the spring garden. The flowers become clusters of 3/8-inch-diameter golden fruits that persist well into late winter. The compact tree develops medium green leaves, which turn gold in fall. Lancelot is a great crabapple for small-space gardens because it remains under 10 feet tall and has a similar spread. Its compact branching habit gives it a neatly rounded to oval form. Lancelot has good to excellent resistance to scab, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew, and fair resistance to fire blight.

Name: Malus ‘Lanzam’
Form: Oval
Size: 8-10 feet tall and 8 feet wide
Zones: 4-8





Madonna® Crabapple

The pure white semi-double blooms of Madonna are long lasting. Blossoms are followed by bronze foliage that matures to green and turns yellow-orange in fall. The 1/2-inch diameter fruits are gold with splashes of red. Madonna needs no pruning to maintain its compact, upright form. Foliage remains unblemished because the tree has good resistance to scab, fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust.

Name: Malus ‘Mazam
Form: Upright
Size: 15-18 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide
Zones: 4-8





Molten Lava® Crabapple

Pink buds on Molten Lava crabapple open to white flowers tinged pale pink. The tree forms 3/8-inch-diameter red-orange fruits that hang on into early winter. Leaves are solid green, turning yellow orange in fall. The spreading semi-weeping form of Molten Lava crabapple is reminiscent of lava flowing down a mountainside. The small- to medium-size tree has good resistance to scab, powdery mildew, fire blight, and cedar-apple rust.

Name: Malus ‘Molazam’
Form: Semiweeping
Size: 15-18 feet tall and 10-12 feet wide
Zones: 4-8





Scarlet Brandywine® Crabapple

An improved version of Brandywine crabapple, Scarlet Brandywine has ruffled dark rose double blooms. Fruits are pumpkin orange, and at 5/8 inch in diameter they’re half the size of Brandywine fruits, making messy dropped fruits less of an issue. The tree has green leaves tinged with maroon and excellent yellow-orange fall color. The open rounded form of Scarlet Brandywine crabapple provides good air circulation throughout the tree and contributes to excellent foliar-disease resistance for apple scab, fire blight, cedar-apple rust, and powdery mildew.

Name: Malus ‘Scbrazam’
Form: Rounded
Size: 15-20 feet tall and 15-20 feet wide
Zones: 5-8



sugarSugar Tyme® Crabapple

 Sugar Tyme crabapple has pink buds that open to sugary-white fragrant blossoms. A prolific bearer, the tree develops numerous 1/2-inch-diameter red fruits that hang on the tree into winter, when birds devour them. The dark green leaves develop muted fall colors of mottled green, yellow, and orange. 
Award-winning Sugar Tyme crabapple has excellent scab resistance and good resistance to fire blight, powdery mildew, and cedar-apple rust. The tree won the Michigan Grower’s Choice Award in 1999 and appears on horticulture professor Michael Dirr’s top 12 list, as well as Tom Green’s top 10 list of best crabapples.

Name: Malus ‘Sutyzam’
Form: Oval
Size: 15-18 feet tall and 12-18 feet wide
Zones: 4-8


whpappleWeeping Candied Apple™ Crabapple

Also sold as Candied Apple, this weeping tree has red buds that open to pink blooms. Candy-apple red fruits 1/2 inch in diameter cover the tree in fall. Foliage is green with a wine-red overcast. 
The broadly arching branches of Weeping Candied Apple give it a mildly weeping form. Although it generally has good resistance to major foliar crabapple diseases, some growers report some susceptibility to apple scab.

Name: Malus ‘Weepcanzam’
Form: Broad arching to weeping
Size: 10-15 feet tall and 12-15 feet wide
Zones: 3-8





 Photos from Better Homes and Gardens article.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *