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The Lady Apple

Wanting to know more about the Lady Apple? We’ve got everything you need to know about this delicious fruit. There’s a lot to share because this fruit dates all the way back to the first century!

Read on to learn more about its history, what it tastes like, how to use it, and even how to grow your own Lady apples at home!

Overhead view of bucket of Lady apples.

Significance and History of the Lady Apple

The Lady apple (not to be confused with the Pink Lady apple!) is one of the oldest-known apple varieties. It’s historically referenced as Pomme d’Api. The earliest documentation of it under its Pomme d’Api name was during the early Roman empire! It was first referenced to as Lady apple in 1628 during the French Renaissance. The red and yellow-green apple was actually a favorite of French royalty! King Louis XIII loved them! It made its way to America during the 1800s.

Today it’s regularly referred to as the “Christmas apple.” It ripens late in the season (like most winter apples), between late October and November. Because of its festive coloring, ability to withstand a freeze, and size, it’s regularly featured in Christmas decorations, especially wreaths! It’s also been used in garlands and even as ornaments on trees in Europe throughout history.

A red apple decorated for a Christmas setting.

How to Enjoy Eating the Lady Apple

While predominantly known for their decorative qualities, Lady apples have a lot of culinary uses as well!

What does the Lady apple taste like?

The flesh of this apple isn’t very crisp, but it’s nice and tender. It’s a good mixture of sweet and tart.

Lady Apples on a tree stump.

What do Lady apples go with?

Because of their mellow flavor, these apples go well with just about any meat—chicken, ham, pork, and lamb!

How can I use Lady apples in cooking?

Lady apples are a great choice for cooking with! They make great apple chutney or used in a stuffing for meat, as mentioned above. They’re also a popular addition to salads, pickled sweet or sour, and after pickled, even enjoyed with some hot sauce! Can you imagine an apple with hot sauce?! That certainly sounds like something worth trying!

Jar of apple chutney.
Apple chutney.

Can I snack on Lady apples?

This variety of apple is pretty small, growing only about 2 inches in diameter, so they’re not a very good choice to eat raw. Of course, you absolutely can eat them raw, you just may need to eat three or four of them to feel like you ate a full snack!

Can kids eat Lady apples?

Yes, absolutely! In fact, it’s probably a fantastic choice of apples for kids to snack on. Instead of giving them a large, half-pound apple which they usually waste because it’s too big for them, the small size of this colorful apple makes it a great option for small hands and small stomachs!

Closeup of red and bright green Lady apples.

Health Benefits of the Lady Apple

Lady apples have many health benefits! They support weight loss by being full of fiber and water, helping you feel full. The pectin found in apples acts as a prebiotic, which is a good bacteria in your stomach and promotes a healthier gut. Apple skin is also rich in the antioxidant quercetin. It helps regulate your immune system and reduce inflammation, which can help with asthma!

For a more detailed look at the health benefits of apples in general, visit 10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apples.

How to Grow Lady Apples at Home

Can I grow Lady Apples at home?

If you live in planting zone 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, or 10, YES! You absolutely can! Read on for some more specifics tips and tricks.

Overhead view of bucket of Lady apples.

Basic Planting and Growing Instructions

The first thing to remember when you’re thinking about planting a Lady apple tree is that you’re planting just that… a tree! It’s not something you can move later, so take that into consideration when you’re deciding where to plant your tree.

For an in-depth look at planting and caring for all kinds of apple trees, check out our Complete Apple Tree Care Guide and How to Plant Apple Trees.

Read on here for a brief overview.

Should I grow from seeds or buy one online?

Buying a young tree from a local nursery or offline is the easiest way to get started. You can find one at Trees of Antiquity or Orange Pippin Fruit Trees.

How far apart should I plant them and how big will they grow to be?

Lady is a semi-dwarf variety of apple tree. It grows to be between 12 and 16 feet tall. Because of their size, you need to plant your trees at least 12 to 16 feet apart. It will obviously take your trees a while to get that large, but again, you can’t move them! You’ve got to plan for the fully matured size.

Lady apples in the sun on a wooden table.

Do I need to help with pollination?

You don’t need to help the flowers with pollination, but in order to grow the healthiest fruit possible, they need a variety of other apples with the same blooming season, which is later in the year.

How do I care for them? Fight pests and diseases? Pruning?

Lady apple trees are a pretty hardy variety of apples, but you can always check out our list of 10 Apple Tree Diseases: How to Identify and Treat Them for a more in depth look at what’s possible.

Pests are easy to fight if you know what you’re dealing with! Gardening Know How has a great article to help you identify what pest you’re fighting and gives some ideas on how to knock them out.

Pruning is essential for a bountiful harvest! It’s easier and less intimidating than you may think. We’ve got a guide for you, all about How to Prune Apple Trees!

When will my Lady apples be ready to harvest?

Your Lady apple trees will start producing fruit 2 to 4 years after you plant them. They will likely be some of the last trees to bloom and produce fruit. Your apples will be ready to enjoy every year between late October and November!

Wrapping up the Lady Apple

Closeup of Lady apples in a bucket.

Whether you’re looking for a palm-sized snack or a natural Christmas decoration, the Lady apple has been a great choice for centuries and remains so through today!

Let us know in the comments— how have you used Lady apples? Any recipes we need to know or Christmas crafts we need to try? Can’t wait to hear your ideas!

Excited for more apple content? Visit our apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, picking, cooking, and more!


Monday 27th of February 2023

Could you tell me what trees cross polinate best with Lady Apple tree?


Monday 6th of March 2023

Most mid- to mid-late blooming variety should do. Gala, Golden Delicious. Honeycrisp's bloom would probably overlap as well.