Cinderella Crabapple fruit in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Cinderella Crabapple’s golden fruit (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

When it comes to fabulous ornamental specimens that are equally content on a city lot or a multi-acre spread, look no further than the dwarf flowering crabapple.  There are many varieties to choose from; with sizes ranging from 8′ to 15′, all are ideally sized for the smaller landscape.  Years ago we chose a Malus ‘Cinzam’, commonly known as the Cinderella Flowering Crabapple, to introduce to our landscape.  We have been thrilled with its performance year after year, through every season. Hybridized by Lake County Nursery in Ohio, Cinderella has gained popularity among home owners for its petite size, disease resistance and tolerance of a wide range of poor soil conditions. 

Cinderella Crabapple in Bloom in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Cinderella Crabapple in Bloom (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

All of those attributes are wonderful, but I love it for the faithful display of red buds that burst into fragrant white flowers each spring, the compact form in summer, and the tiny (quarter inch diameter) golden apples in fall.  Those lush, powdery-soft scented bouquets attract swarms of pollinators, so many it seems the tree is electrified with the sound of busy buzzing.  The summer foliage provides a dense canopy for nesting birds; there is always a new family growing up within the safe confines of its branches.   Dazzling golden fruit decorates the tree like pea sized ornaments when all the leaves have dropped, later giving precious nutrition for the late season fauna as well.   And did I mention the prehistoric, black gnarly trunk and branches that contrast against the soft browns of the nearby grasses in winter?  Why, it’s drama personified.

Malus 'Cinzam' in Winter in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer

Malus ‘Cinzam’ in Winter (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Unlike other common landscape trees that have little to show in the way of interest during the dormant months, crabapples have a lot to offer through all the seasons.  Malus likes full sun in zones 4 – 8, and tolerates a wide range of well drained soils.  Look for a disease resistant cultivar (scab, rust, powdery mildew-most trees are resistant now anyway), and as long as you site it in the sun with good circulation, you’ll be problem free.  Malus makes a great neighbor, and welcomes other shrubs and plants in near proximity. Because crabapples are often grafted, expect minor suckering from the base, which is easily pruned off.  Otherwise, I do not fertilize or use any chemicals, and my Cinderella has been a princess of the garden for almost two decades.


  1. She is Stunning, but is that really a Dwarf?

    • Yes, Cinderella only reaches 8 to 10 feet, where many standard crab apples can grow at least twice that high. It really is perfect in a large border or in a small yard. The birds love the fruit and the dense branching pattern. And the bees love the blossoms in spring!

  2. Kathy, my heart goes out to you. Here you are entertaining and enlightening us with your wonderful post so soon after the devastating loss of your home. You are amazing and I want you to know how much you are appreciated.

    • Thank you, Jean, for your kind words. A dear friend told me that our plants represent life and love, so as we move forward I will find comfort in the beauty that still surrounds our property and the pleasure I get from sharing it. And more importantly, the love and support of wonderful followers like you. XO, Kathy

  3. Dear Kathy,

    I couldn’t believe the terrible news when I read of the fire in a local paper. My deepest sympathies to you and your husband! As a Sherman resident and a devoted follower of your wonderful postings, I so wish for a way to console you. You so generously give of your knowledge and love of the plant world, and Nature in general; I’m sure that I am among a great number of readers who are very touched by that generosity. I hope individual residents, and the Town in general, will support you in rebuilding your beautiful Anderson Rd. world that you share with us. I read that donations can be made at the Town Hall and at Webster Bank, and I’ll take advantage of that. Thank you for carrying on with writings and photos in spite of the terrible whammy you’ve just been hit with – they are so valued by so many!

    • Words can not express how touched and blessed I am to have such kind and loving readers such as you, Ann. It is your words and prayers that are helping us through the monumental tasks ahead, and as we rebuild I plan to bring my friends along on the journey. I hope that you will stop by and visit this spring, as I will surely be outside designing, planting and primping as soon as I can! Onward! XO ~

  4. Nancy Carr says

    can you please tell me if this tree is a good pollinator companion for our Granny Smith and other apples we have. We are surrounded by Eastern Cedar trees, so contend with the cedar rust problem. We are hoping that a white flowering crabapple like this one might help our apples to produce at least a few edibles! [meanwhile, ‘Cinderella’ would be great for birds and beauty.]

    • Hi Nancy, My research tells me that Granny Smith apple trees don’t need a pollination partner, but fruiting can be improved by having a compatible partner such as a white flowering crabapple! So, Cinderella may be able to boost your Granny Smith production, while offering another lovely option for your landscape and the native fauna. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you’ll let me know if apple production improves! Thank you for writing ~

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A Garden for All