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The Indian Magic Crabapple Tree

When you can’t eat crabapples off a tree, that tree could be useful as a beautifying addition to your landscape. The Indian Magic Crabapple fits that bill for its fruit and flowers’ multi-seasonal appeal. While the wildlife enjoys the fruit, you can enjoy the tree’s features all year!

Read on to learn about this ornamental, year-round crabapple tree.

Looking to buy the Indian Magic Crabapple tree? Check availability.

Early Morning Sun on the Spring White Blossom of the indian magic crabapple Tree (Malus 'Indian Magic') Growing in a Woodland Garden in Rural Devon, England, UK

Characteristics of the Indian Magic Crabapple

The Malus Indian Magic is a deciduous flowering tree known as a roseybloom for its buds. Because it’s tolerant of air pollution, it can grow in inner city environments, not just in the suburbs.


In the spring, the crabapples start as dark red buds. And in mid-spring, they grow into masses of 1½-inch-wide mauve-pink flowers that cover the tree.

The flowers become red and glossy crabapples in the fall, changing to a reddish-orange after the first frost. Each crabapple is elongated and ½ to ⅝ of an inch in diameter, similar to raisins.

The buds will set for the next season in mid-summer, growing more flowers and crabapples.


This tree grows 15–20 feet tall and wide into an open-rounded crown shape and becomes frost-tolerant once established. The pointy leaves on the tree are deep green and bronze-tinged, and they turn golden orange in the fall.

Brief History of the Indian Magic Crabapple

Bob Simpson of the Simpson Nursery in Vincennes, Indiana, hybridized this heirloom in 1955. It was introduced to growers in 1969. It was bred specifically for its ornamental appeal and named after Simpson’s Arabian horse.

Where to Buy the Trees

Would you like to grow the Indian Magic Crabapple to accent your landscape year-round? Nature Hills sell potted trees.

Growing Your Own Indian Magic Crabapple Tree

This ornamental crabapple tree is easy to grow in your garden. Because it’s multi-seasonal, the best times for you to plant the tree are in the fall, spring, or summer.

Planting Zone

The Indian Magic Crabapple grows well in hardiness zones 4 to 8 and in full sunlight and partial shade. It’ll tolerate cold winters (even as low as negative 40 degrees!) and hot summers.

Soil and Spacing

You’ll be happy to know that this tree adapts to many types of soil—loamy, clay, chalk, and sandy. However, the soil must still be moderately fertile and well-draining before you plant the tree. Please avoid waterlogged and frozen soil.

Remove any weeds and grass within 3 feet of your chosen spot before planting the root ball. Dig the hole twice as wide as the ball and place it inside. Then fill the hole with soil and compost mix.

If you plant more than one tree, measure the space between them at 15–20 feet.


Once you first plant it, the Indian Magic Crabapple needs an inch of water per week to moisten the soil. Hot spells will call for 2 inches of water.

Established trees become drought-tolerant, so only water when the soil needs it, especially during dry periods.

To determine if the tree needs water, feel the base of the tree to see if the soil is dry or moist. For consistent moisture and root protection, apply a layer of mulch around the tree.


Minimal pruning is required, but for the best spring bloom, prune the tree in late winter while it’s dormant for the best spring bloom. You must remove damaged, diseased, or misplaced growths, especially suckers.

Pruning the center of the crabapple tree is helpful for air circulation, and it helps with preventing certain diseases.

Pest and Disease Control

Be vigilant of tent caterpillars, aphids, Japanese beetles, borers, and spider mites that feed on the leaves and fruit. To deter these pests, apply horticultural oil, or Spinosad spray or set up beetle traps 30–50 feet from the tree.

Though the Indian Magic Crabapple has good fire blight resistance, the bacterium will infect the tree if you prune it in the spring. Should you recognize burnt and diseased growth, prune a few inches below the affected area and avoid using heavy nitrogen fertilizer.

It also has a fair resistance to scab but a high resistance to powdery mildew and root rot.

Ways to use the Indian Magic Crabapple Tree

Crabapple new leaves against blue sky

As a specimen plant, this cultivar is perfect for planting in city and cottage gardens for its eye-catching appeal. Even on roadsides, you could give joggers and pedestrians a new sight to enjoy as they pass by.

If you want more shade in your yard, this fruit-and-flower-enveloping crabapple tree is for you. Better yet, think of the changing colors you’ll see reflected in your home year-round if you plant it near a window!

Or do you want to feed the wildlife? Birds and hummingbirds enjoy the Indian Magic Crabapple, so place a birdfeeder nearby and introduce a new snack to them!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I harvest these crabapples?

You could, but the crabapples won’t taste good unless you add some sweeteners when making them into jellies or preserves. Crabapples from ornamental trees have a sour and bitter flesh compared to varieties bred for edible fruit.

Also, the seeds in an Indian Magic Crabapple have small amounts of toxins that are dangerous to eat in large quantities. If you have a dog or cat, keep them from eating crabapples. Because birds don’t ingest the seeds, the crabapples are more suited to them.

2. What’s the difference between the Indian Magic and Indian Summer crabapple?

Some crabapple tree varieties like these two are similar in tree characteristics. Their height and spread measurements are the same, they need full sunlight, and their fruit is persistent in winter. However, there are a few differences between them.

The Indian Magic Crabapple is ½–⅝ of an inch in diameter, begins as mauve-pink flowers, and has green leaves. The Indian Summer Crabapple, however, is ¾ of an inch in diameter, begins as rose-red flowers, and has bronzy red leaves.

3. Are Indian Magic Crabapple trees self-pollinating?

This cultivar is not self-pollinating; it needs pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to transport pollen. But it and other flowering crabapple trees function as a pollinator for other apple trees.

4. Should I fertilize the Indian Magic Crabapple at all?

Flowering crabapple trees such as this variety don’t need fertilizer. A soil’s pH level between 6.0 and 6.5 means it’s getting plenty of nutrients. After inserting the root balls, the compost you mix into the soil adds more of them for the trees.

One way to know if the tree has any nutrient deficiencies is by testing the soil with a soil test kit. Other indicators are poor fruit production and blooming. In either situation, feed the tree a balanced slow-release formula the following spring before new growth appears.

The Showy Indian Magic Crabapple Tree

What better way to add flair to your garden than to plant the Indian Magic Crabapple? Fruit doesn’t have to be the only reason to plant a tree, but the wildlife will thank you! Give it a try and open the window blinds to a new garden addition.

Visit our crabapple trees page to learn about more varieties and the best ways to use them as they grow.