Flowering crabapple trees, genus Malus, include a wide range of cultivars with a variety of growth habits. In addition to the typical spreading, spherical shapes, crabapple branches can range from upright to weeping. The trees flower in the spring before the foliage arrives, typically from April to May, in a variety of colors, including white, red and pink.
The trees produce red and orange fruit late summer to fall, and some Asian varieties continue to fruit in colder winter weather. The deciduous trees display colorful foliage in the fall before dropping their leaves for the winter. Most cultivars are winter hardy up to zone four.
The genus Malus includes all apple trees. Trees in the genus with fruits larger than 2 inches around are considered apples, and the rest are crabapples. All fruits in the genus are safe to consume, but many crabapple trees are cultivated for their flowering and growth habits.
Crabapple trees are generally low maintenance, drought resistant and do not require fertilizing. When planting new trees, gardeners should choose a sunny location with well-draining soil where run-off water does not collect, as soggy soil can damage the trees’ roots. The trees perform best in the first year with regular watering but generally require less watering in subsequent years.