Description & Overview

A Johnson’s Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapple. It is a compact version of its parent that grows more upright when young becoming spreading with age. Sweet smelling snow-white flowers shows more of a tendency towards annual production than Sargent crabapple. The fruiting qualities of Firebird are superior to all other small-scale crabapples. Its tiny ruby-red crabapples provide color into late winter. An all-seasons plant!

Core Characteristics

Category: Tree

Wisconsin Native: No

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 8 feet

Mature Spread: 12 feet

Growth Rate: Slow

Growth Form: Rounded, Spreading, single stem or multi-stem

Light Requirements: Full Sun

Site Requirements: Tolerant of many soils, prefers moist, well-drained sites

Flower: White, fragrant, single blooms

Bloom Period: April-May

Foliage: Dark Green

Fall Color: Insignificant, yellow to green

Urban Approved: No

Fruit Notes: Persistent bright red crabapple

Suggested Uses

The small mature size of Firebird Crabapple makes it an excellent choice where space is limited. Its ability to attract wildlife, especially birds that feed on its fruit, enhances its value in creating eco-friendly gardens that support biodiversity.

Shrub-form trees are excellent choices as screens or specimens where lower branching is preferred. The shrub form options is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to mixed borders.

Grafted trees (single-stem) are useful when mixed with perennials and shrubs beneath. It thrives as a focal point in small garden spaces, where its compact size and decorative qualities can be fully appreciated. While the fruits are attractive, Firebird Crabapple should not be sited next to patios or walkways where the spring fruit drop is undesirable.

Download Firebird® Crabapple Plant Slick

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapp…
A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapp…
A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapp…

Wildlife Value

The persistent fruits of Firebird Crabapple do not soften in fall or winter and are not preferred by birds or other wildlife as a food source. Read more about Crabapples for Birds.

Maintenance Tips

Firebird Crabapple is slow-growing, meaning there is not much need to prune for shape. If you observe crossing branches, these can be removed with a sharp pruners during the dormant season.

If suckers start to form, remove them as they are observed during the growing season. A healthy mulch ring around the base of the tree will protect the trunk from damage and make mowing easier.

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapp…

Pests/Problems

Firebird Crabapple has excellent resistance to Apple Scab and Fire Blight, the two major diseases faced by ornamental crabapples. They are only problematic when the tree is sited incorrectly.
Animal browse may be problematic when young, so be sure to use protection during winter months to prevent girdling.

Leaf Lore

Firebird Crabapple was selected by Mike Yanny in the mid-1980’s from open pollinated Malus sargentii seedlings for its improved fruit production and profuse flowering. In spring, red-pink buds open to a dazzling show of fragrant white flowers across the entire canopy. The tree is a reliable flower and fruit producer, ensuring your planting space is consistently beautiful each year.

Companion Plants

Firebird Crabapple has different companions depending on its growth form. As a shrub border, use it in combination with other large stature plants like Renaissance Spirea or Common Ninebark. For single-stem trees, plant smaller shrubs like Fritsch Spirea, Gro-Low Sumac, or St. John’s Wort beneath the spreading canopy.

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Firebird Crabapple originated from an open-pollinated seedling of Sargent crabapp…
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Written by Johnson's Nursery