New plants: Malus Halloween

A crab apple with fruits like mini pumpkins? Yes, really. And with longer-lasting blossom too

Stars of the show in both spring and autumn, Malus or crab apple are one of the UK’s most popular ornamental trees, and a fantastic choice for small gardens or container growing. Festooned with uniquely quirky fruits that last for months, Malus Halloween is a celebration of all things autumn.

Both the flowers and fruits are great for wildlife, and it makes a fine crab apple jelly too – what more could you want from a tree compact enough to grow on a patio?

What’s so special about Malus Halloween?

Malus Halloween has one unique feature, one special feature and one valuable feature.
Its unique feature is its fruits, which are golden-orange in colour, and ribbed like a pumpkin. Of course, the fruits are not pumpkin-sized, being no larger than the fruits of most crab apples. However, they persist on the tree well into the winter, and are very effective when cut for sustainable Halloween decorations.

The special feature is its white blossoms, which open from rosy pink buds. Unlike almost all other crab apple varieties, the flowers are semi-double, which provides a more intense, more effective display in spring. The flowers are self-fertile, so a lone tree will produce a heavy crop of fruits.

Finally, as it develops, Halloween will not dominate the garden. Naturally reaching 4m high and 3m across after ten years, the tree can be kept to an even smaller size by thoughtful pruning, making it valuable for small spaces.

Where did Malus Halloween come from?

Halloween was developed in Kent by one of the county’s leading apple breeders, Hugh Ermen. For many years, Hugh developed new culinary and crab apples at the National Fruit Trials at Brogdale in Kent; work that he continued into his retirement.
Halloween was the last of Hugh’s apples to be set for introduction before he passed away in 2009.

Growing Malus Halloween

Ideal for small gardens, or even in large containers, Halloween is an adaptable and versatile tree for sun or partial shade, and for most soils so long as they aren’t waterlogged. The branches, festooned with clusters of Halloween-coloured berries, are ideal for making seasonal arrangements indoors.

Where can I buy Malus Halloween?

A list of suppliers offering Malus Halloween can be found under ‘buy this plant’ on the Find A Plant page.

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