Malus sargentii, commonly known as Sargent crabapple as a dense, spreading, horizontally-branched, deciduous, multi-stemmed shrub that may technically be grown as a dwarf tree. As a shrub, it typically grows 6-8' tall with no central leader and spreads to 15' wide. Pink buds open to a profuse, but brief, spring bloom of fragrant, white flowers (1" diameter). Profuse bloom often occurs only in alternate years. Flowers are followed by small, red crabapples (1/4" diameter) which mature in the fall. The pea-sized fruits are sweet-flavored like rose hips, but are not usually used in cooking. Fruits are long-lasting and attractive to birds, however. Ovate, lobed, dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn. The yellow fall color contrasts well with the red fruit. Best grown in medium moisture, well-drained, acidic loams in full sun. Adapts to a wide range of soils. Established trees have some drought tolerance. Hardy in zones 4-8.
Growing Instructions for Sargent’s Crabapple
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 2. Put the seeds in a ziplock bag. 3. Put the bag in the refrigerator and leave it there for 4 months. 4. The seeds like moist, well-drained soil. Use a sterile seed starter mix, if available. It prevents soil fungi from damaging the seeds and the seedlings. If not available, then make a mixture of half potting soil and half sand, perlite or vermiculite. 5. Put the soil in a pot. 6. Sow the seeds on the soil. 7. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil. 8. Water the soil so that it is moist but not wet. The seeds should start to germinate in 1 to 2 weeks. 9. When the seedlings are 1-2 years old, they can be transplanted.