The New Plant Awards are part of the National Plant Show, an impressive trade show that’s held every June. The best new plants in a number of categories receive Gold or Silver awards and one is picked as the Best in Show – which was won this year by a dwarf crab apple called ‘Aros’.
Malus toringo ‘Aros’ makes a slender column about 3m tall with almost-black foliage. In May, the white-eyed, dark pink flowers open and contrast well with the dark leaves. They’re followed in autumn by small, deep red, 1-2cm crab apples which last in the tree at least into November. It makes an interesting contrast in habit to the 'Crimson Cascade' crab apple featured here in May.
This new dark-leaved crab apple is ideal as a small garden specimen and is also well-suited to growing a container, although it would pay to protect the pot and roots from frost in winter. Thoughtful pruning will create bushier, but still upright, growth.
High praise from experts
RHS Head of Horticulture Tim Upson was a member of the panel that assessed the entries and awarded ‘Aros’ Best in Show. “This cultivar really stood out as a true winner,” he said. “While purple-leaved trees are not uncommon, this one has a particularly strong colour and good habit.
“It has a wide use in different garden situations and with its compact nature is particularly suited to small gardens and patios. With its long season of interest and colour this tree will have wide appeal to many customers and has great potential as a really good seller.”
‘Aros’ was developed in Denmark by Karsten Jensen. He’s been developing new crab apples for 20 years and in 2009 selected this plant as a seedling. It was first introduced in Denmark in 2013.
You can order Malus toringo ‘Aros’ (sometimes listed as Malus sieboldii ‘Aros’) from Blackmoor, Buckingham Nurseries, and from Crocus.
I’ll be highlighting other National Plant Show winners as they become available by mail order.