Malus Floribunda – The Showy Japanese Crab Apple

The Crabapple is one of the very best of small ornamental trees for planting around the home. It is suggested here as only one example of crab-apples that are being grown throughout the entire country wherever apples prove hardy.
Flowering crabs seldom grow over 30 feet tall, if that, making them especially useful for smaller properties. They are of ornamental interest at least twice a year, and sometimes longer.

Japanese Flowering Crab

The Japanese or showy flowering crab-apple (Malus floribunda) has been in America since about 1862 when it was first brought to this country from its native Japan. It is rounded in habit, with very dense branching, and if let alone will grow into an impenetrable, rounded dense mass of branches and foliage touching the ground.
Malus floribunda Japanese Crab Apple


Some gardeners prefer to have the trunk bare of branches several feet off the ground but the foliage is so dense that it is most difficult – if not impossible to grow grass underneath it unless the branches are cut off 6 feet from the base.

The flower buds are small and red, the flowers are white and about 1-1/2 inches in diameter. There is a period in early May before the buds are full open, when the red flower buds and the pure white flowers make a gorgeous color combination.

Fruits and Flowers Of The Crab

Fruits of the flowering crab apple are about 3/8 inches in diameter and are either red or yellow, beginning to color in late August an remaining on the tree until mid-October by which time the birds have eaten most of them.

The colorful spring flowers and these brightly colored fall fruits make the tree outstanding in the landscape a least twice each year, this is more than can be said of the Japanese Cherries, which are very beautiful in flower but are not the least ornamental in fruit.

None of these oriental crab-apples are susceptible to the disfiguring juniper rust which attacks some of the crab apples native to America, especially the common favorite, Bechtel’s crab: nor do they require the frequent and persistent spraying so necessary in producing a commercial crop of apples.

A spray once every two or three years to control scale insects, if present, is the most important consideration, and possibly once a year if leaf-eating insects disfigure the foliage. This is one of the best of all the crab-apples but nearly one hundred others are available.

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