January 18, 2012

'Royal Raindrops' Crabapple Photos

These photos of my three 'Royal Raindrops' crabapple trees are from May of last year. Maturing at 20 feet high and 15 feet wide, these trees will be a great size for my suburban backyard.

More information on this tree can be found here, on J. Frank Schmidt's website.

Lately I've been looking at a number of Schmidt's tree introductions. I wish I could collect bunches of them the way I do roses or perennials, but that's harder to do with trees!

Their list includes a number of smaller trees that are perfect for urban/suburban sites like my yard. I'm considering putting a couple of their 'Wireless Zelkova' trees in my front yard, even though the power lines in our neighborhood are buried, so we don't have to worry about the trees growing into the lines. But I love the spreading shape.

These crabapples put on a ton of new growth last year, since they are planted in great soil (imported, of course). In fact there are some longitudinal cracks in their bark from the fast growth rate, and I'm hoping they'll heal over all right.

Here you can see the fall color starting to show up. The leaves lighten and turn orangey. Our falls are too short to get the full fall color, though.

These are the bright little crabapples, which still cover the trees.

This is another sight that I'm looking forward to in May, which is a great month in the garden.

Added May 27, 2014 - Since this page is still getting a lot of views, I want to update with a little more information about my 'Royal Raindrops' trees.  I still love these trees for their gorgeous spring blooms and fall color, plus the rich maroon leaves all summer.  I don't appreciate all the little seedlings that sprout from the thousands of tiny crabapples that are produced each year, but if you planted these in the lawn, used heavy mulch around them, or spread Preen each year, you could eliminate most of that problem.  I also have to prune them up regularly as the branches are almost weeping - though maybe you would like the weeping look.  Here is a photo of the fall color last year.

The photo below was taken this spring just as the flowers emerged.  They are vivid magenta at first and then fade to pale pink just before the petals fall.
Here is another shot from this spring.  The lesson here is that if you plant trees in a mound of fluffy imported soil, you're going to need to stake them for several years until they get their roots down into the firm soil below.  I didn't leave the stakes in long enough and that's why I have some leaners, but this wouldn't be a problem if you just planted them in the ground.


  1. VW, I love those pink blooms. Crabapples are such great trees for the wildlife. I planted a couple (tiny little sticks) and one has a plump red bud on it...I just hope they both will live and grow and thrive. I didn't amend the soil much when I planted.
    I did a posting on a Zelkova that we had in the Learning Garden in Virginia. Nice tree.

  2. Those are nice pictures. We planted three of them and three flowering currents this last year. The weeping variety is also very nice, but didn't fit our yard. It will take some time, but we are hoping they grow into a nice border/block for your front yard.

  3. Wow VW! I love those blooms. So pretty. Do the birds like the crab apples? Beautiful shots.

  4. Drzewo całe w pięknych kwiatach - ślicznie to wygląda.Zdjęcia kwiatów - urocze. Dziękuję, ze byłaś u mnie i pozdrawiam. *** Outline all the beautiful flowers - it looks gorgeous. Pictures of flowers - lovely. Thank you being with me and greet.

  5. I, too, love the crabapples when they bloom. They are a tree that is a beautiful sight to see in spring.

  6. I spent some time hunting for fruiting crab apples in local nurseries, but most of them were fruitless. The nursery said they don't get requests for ones that set fruit any more, but they are wonderful habitat plants. I agree, it's difficult to collect trees, as they need so much room, but lately we've taken to grafting our own, and we now have four different fruiting varieties. The only trouble now is that we need a bigger orchard! I love the pink blooms on this one.

  7. It is a simply stunning tree. So pretty in pink and demure yet ethereal. Won't be long and it'll be in full bloom-I hope!

  8. Hi VW,

    Beautiful photos of amazingly beautiful blooms. I love the shade of pink!

    Just wish I had enough room in my garden for such trees... One day maybe I'll have a garden large enough :)

  9. So beautiful! I love crabapple trees. I've looked into getting one, but I really don't have the room. My grandmother has a large one on her property and makes delicious crabapple jelly every year. Yum!

  10. Very nice shots! I like the way you have used focus in these pictures.
    I have one crabapple and wish I had room for a second. Tree #2 would definitely be pink! I really appreciate those little red crabapples at this time of year.

  11. to anyone these photos would be stunningly lovely, but to a pinkophile like me, they are perfect!

  12. Crabapple trees are so beautiful. I love seeing them in bloom. I don't grow one myself though so I must admire from afar. Great photos.

  13. Your pictures are stunning. I could "PIN" almost all of them.

    I am redoing my landscape this year (clean slate) on our "new" home. We didn't do anything last year to it other than take out a lot of overgrown shrubs so this year we are putting it all back together with lots of pretty things. So glad to have found your site to use as a resource.

  14. love this tree just bought a 15 gal. tree hate to hear crab apples fall like crazy. Hope the birds get them.

  15. Hi, any updates on your Royal Raindrops years later? How tall are they? I'm hoping that they grow to be on the lower end of the estimated height. Thanks!

    1. I think my trees are still reaching toward their mature height, but right now they're about 15' tall. Of course trees will be more compact and shorter in full sun than in partial shade. My trees were planted in a mound of imported soil with plenty of compost, so they grew too quickly at first and many of the branches drooped because they grew long before growing thick. I think they'd have a more upright shape if planted in normal soil. I don't know if they'll stay at 15' or reach toward the 20' possible. They aren't reaching 20' quickly, though here in Spokane our growing season is short so things take longer to mature. Good luck.


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