Flowering Crabs are the Life of the Party in Spring

We don’t need to tell you that flowering crabs light up the spring landscape like few other trees can. Bright and often fragrant blossoms simply cover the spring branches and the show doesn’t stop there. Many varieties feature colorful leaves and fruit and beautiful bark to boot.

One of the best things about flowering crabs is the variety of choices. From compact to commanding, from red to pink to white, there is a flowering crab to suit any planting site. Here are some of our favorite varieties.

Large and Showy

A big beautiful flowering crab in bloom is a true wow moment. “Oh my!’ and “What’s that tree?” are the most frequent utterances during flowering crab season, and for good reason. If you’re looking for a moderately sized tree with huge impact, consider one of our larger varieties.

Prairiefire Dark pinkish red blooms absolutely cover this amazing specimen. Purple spring foliage turns reddish green in summer. Dark red, ⅜”-½” fruit finishes the show in fall and persists through winter. Beautiful rounded shape sizes up to about 20’ x 20’. A truly gorgeous ornamental tree.

Prairiefire Flowering Crab – Photo courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Royal Raindrops Pink flowers adorn this handsome tree in spring, but the leaves are nearly as spectacular. The purple cutleaf foliage offers a unique shape for a crab tree, reminiscent of a maple leaf. Beautiful orange fall color followed by persistent ¼” red fruit that keep the ground clean. Upright spreading habit, grows to about 20’ x 15’.

Spring Snow Cute pink buds that give way to zillions of white blooms followed by medium green foliage and yellow fall color. This variety sizes up to about 25’ x 22’ and has a nice oval shape. Fruitless.

Compact (but Still Showy)

If you think you don’t have room for a flowering crab, think again! We have a few compact varieties that could be exactly the pop of spring excitement you are looking for. Don’t let the big boys steal the show when these diminutive beauties are just as special.

Tina This adorable little tree is smothered in white blooms in the spring and ¼” red fruit in the fall. Yellow fall color decorates the compact frame- about 8’ tall and 10’ feet wide. The slightly pendulous branching adds architectural interest. Easy to find a place for this little cutie!

Raspberry Spear  A strongly vertical accent, this crab fits where you need it. Grows to about 20’ x 8’ and makes a statement with bright magenta blooms. The purple summer foliage turns orange to bronze in fall. Persistent ½” red fruit decorates this tree throughout winter and keeps the ground clean.

General Notes on Flowering Crabs

In general, these trees are tolerant of many soil types and suitable for streetside planting. For their beauty, they need surprisingly little pampering after they’re established. A spot in full sun will ensure best health and flowering and supplemental watering during dry spells is a good idea. Varieties with persistent fruit not only retain ornamental value all winter but help keep the ground beneath clean. The fruit provided by these trees is an excellent food source for birds and the spring flowers are great for pollinators.