Malus sargentii
Common Name: Sargent crabapple 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Japan
Zone: 4 to 7
Height: 6.00 to 8.00 feet
Spread: 9.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Pale pink buds; white flowers
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Hummingbirds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Other: Winter Interest, Thorns
Tolerate: Clay Soil, Air Pollution


Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, acidic loams in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Established trees have some drought tolerance. Although some flowers may be lost, it is best to prune this tree as needed in late winter. Spring pruning should be avoided as it produces fresh, open cuts where fireblight bacterium can enter.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Malus sargentii, commonly known as Sargent crabapple as a dense, spreading, horizontally-branched, deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub that may technically be grown as a dwarf tree. As a shrub, it typically grows 6-8' tall with no central leader and spreads to 15' wide. Pink buds open to a profuse, but brief, spring bloom of fragrant, white flowers (1" diameter). Profuse bloom often occurs only in alternate years. Flowers are followed by small, red crabapples (1/4" diameter) which mature in the fall. The pea-sized fruits are sweet-flavored like rose hips, but are not usually used in cooking. Fruits are long-lasting and attractive to birds, however. Ovate, lobed, dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn. The yellow fall color contrasts well with the red fruit.

May be listed as synonymous with Malus toringo subsp. sargentii.

Genus name from Latin is an ancient name for apple.

Specific epithet honors Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927), first director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.


Sargent crabapple generally has good disease resistance. Minor susceptibility to apple scab, leaf spot and fire blight. Potential insect pests are of lesser concern and include tent caterpillars, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers, spider mites and scale.


A dwarf species which is effective when planted as a small specimen or in groups, near fences, in borders or as a screen or hedge. May not be an appropriate selection for smaller gardens because of its alternate year bloom.