Description & Overview

Cinderella crabapple is a dwarf, compact tree that has the form of a ‘lollipop’ tree. It’ll grow to about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, and is low maintenance. In early spring, new growth emerges bright green and is covered in red flower buds that open to pure white, fragrant flowers. Flowers give way to golden yellow fruit that are abundant from early to late fall. Prized for its compact form and good disease resistance, Cinderella crabapple is a great option for those smaller spaces. We sell Cinderella crabapple on standard rather than shrub-form.

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No - Introduced

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 8 feet

Mature Spread: 5 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Compact, dwarf, oval

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Average- moist, well-drained

Flower: White, 5 petals

Bloom Period: April-May, Early to mid-spring

Foliage: Dark Green

Fall Color: Insignificant

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: 3/8" golden-yellow berry

Suggested Uses

Crabapples need to be grown in full sun and in well-draining soils. They should not be planted in soils that are excessively wet, nor dry for too long. Cinderella crabapple is tolerant of air pollution and clay soils, both of which can be found in the Milwaukee area.

This crabapple is excellent as a front-entranceway tree. Right by the front porch, in a front bed surrounded by other smaller shrubs or perennials, or in a container next to the entryway. Its clean white flowers and rounded shape add a formal appearance to the landscape.

You can also plant Cinderella crabapple next to patios or decks. The small habit makes it able to squeeze into those narrow spaces without adding pruning on your yearly to-do list.

Wildlife Value

The small, golden yellow fruits are readily eaten by cedar waxwings, robins, thrushes, eastern bluebirds, cardinals, tufted titmice, red-bellied woodpeckers, gray catbirds, northern mockingbirds and house finches.

The flowers are typically cross-pollinated by honeybees, long-horned bees, and other long-tongued bees. Flowers are visited by Viceroy butterflies (Limenitis archippus), Red-spotted Purples (Limenitis arthemis astyanax), Eastern Tiger Swallowtails (Papilio glaucus), and Striped Hairstreaks (Satyrium liparops strigosum).

Insects that use crabapples (Malus spp.) as a host plant include the Unicorn Caterpillar (Schizaur unicornis), Apple Sphinx (Sphinx gordius), Wild Cherry Sphinx (Sphinx drupiferarum), Blinded Sphinx (Paonias excaecata), Large Lace-border Moth (Scopula limboundata), Speckled Green Fruitworm Moth (Orthosia hibisci), Harris’s Three-spot (Harrisimemna trisignata), White-lined Sphinx (Hyles lineata), Woolly Gray (Lycia ypsilon), Four-spotted Granite (Itame coortaria), Common Metarranthis Moth (Metarranthis hypochraria), Dowdy Pinion (Lithophane unimodal), Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia), Reversed Haploa moth (Haploa reversa), Saw-Wing (Euchlaena serrata), Scallop Moth (Cepphis armataria), Promethea moth (Callosamia promethea), Interrupted Dagger Moth (Acronicta interrupta), Many-dotted Appleworm Moth (Balsa malana), Apple Leaf Skeletonizer Moth (Choreutis pariana).

Two specialist bees will visit crabapples, specifically plants in the Rosaceae family: The Rose Miner bee (Andrena melanochroa) and the Cinquefoil Masked Bee (Hyaleus basalis).

Maintenance Tips

Light pruning may be need to keep plants healthy. It’s always a good idea to talk with a certified arborist (insert link here), but any light pruning should be done in late winter after the threat of extreme cold has passed.

Make sure you have a mulch ring around the base of the tree, this will help retain soil moisture and reduce stress upon the plant. Supplemental watering is needed during times of drought.

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: No
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Deer and rabbits are known to nibble on flower buds, twigs, and bark. Crabapples typically do not perform well under or around black walnut trees.

Cinderella crabapple has a rating of ‘fair’ scab resistance and ‘good’ blight resistance.
Other afflictions crabapples can hold are powdery mildew, rusts, spider mites, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers, scale, and tent caterpillars.

Leaf Lore

This cultivar was developed by James Zampini and introduced in 1991 by Lake County Nursery in Perry, Ohio.

The crabapples can be eat raw or cooked into jams and jellies.

The difference between an ornamental crabapple and an edible one is the size of the fruit. Edible varieties have fruit that’s about 2″ in diameter (these are considered apples at this point), whereas the smaller sizes are more ornamental than edible. That’s not to say you can’t eat the ornamental ones, you just have to work harder for the fruits of your labor (Pun intended). Be sure to spit out the seeds!

The flowers have been used to make dye for clothing and pottery.

Crabapple and peonies together symbolize honor, health, and distinction in Chinese culture.

Companion Plants

Due to its small size shrubs and perennials are also planted along with this crabapple to fill out a mulched bed. The following plants look great with Cinderella crabapple:

  • Montrose White Calamint (Calamintha nepeta ‘Montrose White’)
  • Rozanne Geranium (Geranium ‘Gerwat’ PP12,175)
  • Kodiak Orange Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla x ‘G2X88544′ PP27,548)
  • Yuki Cherry Blossom Deutzia (Deutzia x ‘NCDX2′ PP28,347)
  • Chantilly Lace Goatsbeard (Aruncus x ‘Chantilly Lace’ PP30,740)
  • Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum)
  • Purple Prairie Clover (Dalea purpurea)
  • Hot Lips Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii ‘Hot Lips’)
  • Prairie Dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis)
  • PowWow Wild Berry Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea ‘PAS702917’)
  • Dolce Wildberry Coral Bells (Heuchera ‘Wildberry’ PP31,222)
  • Shortstop Daisy (Leucanthemum x ‘Shortstop’ PP31,456)
beth delain1 avatar

Written by Beth DeLain