The Plant Native

American Crabapple

Highlights

American Crabapples are one of the most beautiful flowering native trees, putting out light-pink flowers every spring. After the flowers come the tiny apples. The apples are edible, but tiny—they are often used in jams and jellies due to their size. If cleaning up fallen apples in your yard in the fall sounds like a bummer, plant your American Crabapple away from high-traffic areas where the fallen fruit won’t bother you. If you don’t have the space, consider other flowering trees like dogwoods, redbuds, magnolias—or view our guide for great native front-yard trees!

Full Sun – Part Shade
20-30′ tall
Berries appear in the fall
Malus coronaria
Daffodils (non-native, but not invasive!) + American Crabapple is a perfect early spring duo

Dig Deeper

Explore the history, types, and where to plant native American Crabapple

Table of Contents

American Crabapples thrive in a variety of conditions, making them versatile additions to your landscape. These trees love a spot with full sun exposure, providing them the energy they need to flourish. Whether in your backyard or as a striking focal point in the front yard, these trees add a burst of color and life wherever they are planted.

Absolutely gorgeous bouquets of flowers fill American Crabapple trees in the early spring

What are the benefits of planting native trees like American Crabapple?

Planting native plants makes our yards and spaces gorgeous while helping the birds, butterflies, and animals (and helping save us time!) Here are three reasons why planting native is worth it:

  1. Without native plants, iconic animals like Monarch butterflies and songbirds won’t have the food or homes needed to survive
  2. Native plants save time and money: after the first year of getting established, native plants are happy with rain
  3. Native plants are gorgeous! American Crabapples are a perfect example of how beautiful and resilient native plants are—they are always the best choice for our gardens.
American Crabapple's native range includes a wide swath of the United States and central Canada

Where is American Crabapple native?

American Crabapples are native to a wide range of the US and Canada, including the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and most of the South.

This native tree thrives in the Northeast as well. The champion American Crabapple (or the tallest of these species in existence) is in Vermont!

One warning about where you plant these native trees…

There is one bummer about planting American Crabapples: lots of crabapples on the ground in the fall. It can bother some to have a pile of fallen fruit that attract wildlife like deer and squirrels. If this is a concern and you have the space, plant your American Crabapple where you can enjoy its beauty but not its fall-time mess. 

Where should I plant American Crabapples?

To minimize the mess, plant American Crabapples out of the way of houses or highly visible gardens. Some ideas for placement that are out of the way include the edges of backyards, or along long driveways.

Where can I find American Crabapples for my yard?

Sadly, many native plants can be a challenge to find, especially at conventional nurseries. BUT some places and distributors stock American Crabapples—you just have to know where to look.

Here are four sourcing ideas to help you find an American Crabapple for your yard:

American Crabapple

Where can I find seeds and plants?

Finding native plants can be challenging (we partly blame Marie Antoinette.) To make it easier, we’ve assembled four sourcing ideas.

Native Plant Nurseries

Our list of native nurseries makes finding one a breeze

Online Communities

Local Facebook groups are a great plant source

What are good pairings for American Crabapple?

There are so many fantastic native shrubs and flowers that pair beautifully with American Crabapple. Some ideas to consider include:

Heuchera 'Green-Spice' by Patrick Standish

Alum Root (Heuchera)

mountain-laurel-native-shrub-flower

Mountain Laurel

ninebark-5755860_1280

Ninebark

A white Sweetbay Magnolia flower blooming, photographed growing on a branch of the Sweetbay Magnolia tree.

Sweetbay Magnolia

#image_title

Tulip Poplar

#image_title

Winterberry

With its stunning blossoms, and ease of care, native American Crapapples are statement trees any American landscape will benefit from. Planting native trees is not just about creating a beautiful garden; it’s about nurturing a sustainable and thriving ecosystem right outside your door. They are a beautiful flowering tree for Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northeast, or Southern gardens. Happy planting!

UPDATED —
04/18/2024
Popular FAQs
native-garden-with-obedient-plant-pairing-black-eyed-susans

Lawns vs. Native Gardens — What’s easier?

Save yourself hours of time
monarch-butterfly-on-a-common-milkweed-plant

Native Host Plants for Butterflies

Help the butterflies!
A Southern Magnolia tree's evergreen leaves are shown with small white flowers in bloom.

Native Magnolias: A Beginner’s Guide

Meet all eight
Heuchera 'Peach Flambé' by Acabashi

What is a cultivar?

And why does it matter?