Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

What are some good flowering crabapples?

Flowering crabapples are among the most popular small-scale landscape trees in Missouri. Whatever the season, flowering crabs lend color and interest to our landscapes. Spring flowers, summer foliage, fall fruits, and winter branch patterns and bark color create year round landscaping interest. The flowers may be single, semi-double, or double, and come in shades of white, pink, red and magenta. The fruit, depending on the variety, may be pea sized or may be as large as 2" in diameter. Fruit color may be red, yellow, orange, purple, green, or a combination of these colors, although red is the most common. There are a number of important things you should consider when selecting flowering crabs. Although many people consider them just for their flowers, the fruit can actually provide color for up to six months in fall and winter.

The best crabs for landscape use are those that have small, brightly-colored fruits which stay on the tree for a long time. These small fruits create fewer maintenance problems when they do fall, and are much more likely to be eaten by song birds than are larger fruits. Growth habit is also important. Some crabs have spreading habits, others are upright and vase-shaped, while others are weeping, and a few are even shrubby in nature.

Many flowering crab varieties are very susceptible to various diseases however, it's important to select a variety which is more resistant to the fungal disease scab, the most common disease of flowering crabs, and fireblight, a bacterial disease. Here are some good flowering crab varieties for Missouri.

'Red Jade' which has a weeping form and produces white flowers.

'Sargent' produces white flowers on a small 8 foot high tree. The flowers are followed by dark red fruit.

'Liset' produces dark red flowers and grows only about 15 feet tall.

'Radiant' starts its blooming with reddish buds that open into pink flowers. It is a large-grower, reaching up to 30 feet in height.

This is only a short list of the broad selection of crabapples which are available. Check with your local nursery for varieties that will fulfill your special needs of size and color. Be sure and ask what varieties are more resistant to apple scab disease and fireblight.