Crab apples are perfect for planting in small gardens with limited space for larger trees that have deep root systems and wide canopies. They are closely related to edible apple trees but produce smaller fruit and are drought resistant. Crab apples are generally planted for ornamental use but larger-fruited varieties can be used for making jams and jellies. Crab apples differ in height and flower colour and they are all deciduous, meaning they shed leaves in autumn.
Japanese crab apple, also known by its botanical name of Malus floribunda is very easy to grow. It grows to 13 feet high and has crimson buds that produce white-pink blooms in late spring. Apples are red and yellow and provide attractive autumnal colour.
This cultivar can be purchased in tree or shrub form and is ideal for potting into a container as it has a compact rounded shape. Flowers are pink-rose colour and bloom in mid-spring. It can reach 12 feet in height.
For late spring colour, brandywire is ideal as it produces pink-rose flowers at this time. Its flowers are also fragrant so it can make a good sensory specimen that wafts fragrance into the home. Brandywire has dark maroon apples and tends to produce a lot of fruit which can be messy when it's fallen on the ground.