Malus ‘Cardinal’, Flowering Crab: Purple Buds That Open To Gorgeous Red Flowers

Malus 'Cardinal'

Photo Compliments of Dorothy

Malus ‘Cardinal’, or flowering crab is a densely-branched, broad-spreading crabapple tree that will typically reach a height of 15 feet and a width of 25 feet.  It is noted for its wonderful spreading shape, bright red flowers, purple-tinged foliage, small glossy red fruit, and excellent disease resistance.

Narrow-ovate leaves (about 3 inches in length) emerge purplish-red in spring and mature to dark green tinged with reddish-purple.  Purple buds open in spring to red flowers (1.5 inches across).  Flowers are followed by small, deep red crabapples (1/2 inch in diameter) that mature in fall and persist into winter.  Although this plant appears is a hybrid, it is sometime sold as Malus hupehensis ‘Cardinal’

How to Make Your Malus ‘Cardinal’, Flowering Crab Thrive

Malus ‘Cardinal’, or flowering crabs are best grown in loamy, medium moisture, well-drained, acidic soils in full sun, but they will adapt to a wide range of soils.

Malus ‘Cardinal’, Flowering Crab General Information

Diseases and Pests

Malus ‘Cardinal’ exhibits excellent disease resistance to the main diseases of crabapples: apple scab, fire blight, rusts, leaf spot and powdery mildew.   Potential insect pests are of lesser concern include tent caterpillars, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers, spider mites and scale.


Prune as needed in late winter.

Garden Uses

This flowering crabapple makes a specimen planting, it also makes a real statement small groups.

Quick Facts

  • Family: Rosaceae
  • Common Name: Crabapple
  • Plant Type: Tree
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 5 to 8
  • Height: 10 to 15 feet
  • Width: 15 to 25 feet
  • Bloom Time: April
  • Bloom Description: Red
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Water Requirement: Medium
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
  • Fruit: Showy, Edible
  • Tolerate: Air Pollution

Photo Search

Google – Malus ‘Cardinal’ Flowering Crab Photos

Flickr – Malus ‘Cardinal’ Flowering Crab Photos

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How to Prune Crabapples

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  1. I remember eating crabapples off our trees as a child. Most crabapples are so disease prone, however, that I have not grown them in my garden. It is good to hear of a healthier, as well as truly beautiful, one.

  2. You give some great insight here on how to grow these beautiful red flowers! Pest control is always a hassle and a deep concern, especially when you’re gardening, so it’s nice that this crabapple has such a high disease resistance. Great post! Thanks for sharing!
    Morgan recently posted..How to prevent a Meal Moth problem?My Profile

    • I’m finding that choosing the right plant for your location and then creating a healthy ecosystem is the only thing that really effectively combats pests and diseases.

  3. Crab apple trees are so beautiful when in bloom. Wished they grew in our area although Florida certainly does have lots of beautiful flowering trees.
    Karen (Back Road Journal) recently posted..A Blogger’s AnniversaryMy Profile

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