Malus (Crab Apples) – Popular Shrubs for the Garden
These are the crab-apples and they are small trees rather than shrubs. They are grown for theiras much as for their richly coloured fruits and some provide an added bonus when their leaves turn bright colours in autumn, before falling. Some, indeed, have purplish coppery leaves throughout.
One with this characteristic is Malus X eleyi, which grows to about 20 feet tall, with rosy-crimson flowers in late April and early May, followed by masses of small purplish crabs. Malus X purpurea is another fine hybrid that has purplish leaves and reddish crimson flowers, produced rather earlier than those of Malus X eleyi.
Malus ‘John Downie’ is the kind planted more than any other, for the sake of its large scarlet and yellow fruits that follow the white flowers. Malus ‘Dartmouth Crab’, another white-flowered kind, crops heavily, its fruits crimson with a bluish plum-bloom.
The yellow-fruited kinds such as ‘Golden Hornet’ are unusually handsome, though their fruits are smaller. There are also several kinds with double flowers, including ‘Katherine’, pink at first, ageing to white, with red fruits.
These crab apples will grow in all kinds of, particularly those containing lime, preferably in open, sunny positions. Pruning is unnecessary except for shape or to restrict over-lush growth.
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