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The Royalty Crabapple Tree

Have a small outdoor space that needs a pop of color? The compact, beautiful, and easy-to-grow Royalty crabapple tree may be just what you need!

A showstopper specimen plant, this ornamental crabapple is famous for its gorgeous purple foliage and fragrant, rich red springtime flowers. But it’s also great for attracting birds, bees, and other wildlife to your home orchard or city garden.

Read on to learn about this unique crabapple variety, including simple steps to plant and grow your own!

Looking for a Royalty crabapple tree? Check availability.

Malus Royalty Crabapple tree with flowers in the morning sun close up.  Apple blossom. Spring background.

Characteristics of the Royalty Crabapple Tree

Keep reading for some fast facts about the unique traits of this distinctive ornamental crabapple tree.

Tree Size and Form

Mature Royalty crabapple trees grow about fifteen feet wide and fifteen to twenty feet tall.

They have a slight spreading habit but tend to be height-width proportional and grow naturally into a neat, rounded shape.


This showy crabapple tree is always changing its colors – that’s part of what makes it so stunning!

The leaves are ovate in shape and about two to four inches long. In spring, they are a glossy, vibrant plum-purple color. They fade to purple-green in summer and turn red-orange or scarlet in the fall.


In mid-spring, the Royalty crabapple tree blooms clusters of beautiful crimson and fuschia-colored flowers. The blossoms have a light, sweet fragrance that’s pleasant but not overpowering.


In the fall, Royalty crabapple trees produce maroon, cherry-like fruits about five-eighths of an inch in diameter. They are edible and highly attractive to wildlife but can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

The Royalty crabapple tree is a primarily ornamental variety of crabapple, so it may not reliably produce much fruit.

Looking for a tree that’ll yield a bigger crabapple harvest? Check out these other crabapple tree varieties to find the one that’s right for you!

History of the Royalty Crabapple Tree

Macro view of rosy red royalty crabapple tree flower blossoms in full bloom, with blue sky background

Canadian plant breeder W.L. Kerr hybridized Malus ‘Royalty,’ also known as the Royalty crabapple tree, in the early 1960s.

The Sutherland Forest Nursery Station in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, released the cultivar shortly afterward.

Royalty is a member of the “Rosybloom” series of hybrid crabapples. These ornamental crabapple varieties derive from Malus ‘Niedzwetzkyana,’ a now-Endangered wild apple native to Central Asia.

Landscaping with Royalty Crabapple Trees

This colorful crabapple makes a great small shade tree or border plant.

But keep reading for even more ideas for making use of the Royalty crabapple tree’s best features!

Companion Plants for Apple Trees

Growing apple trees? Plant your Royalty crabapple tree in your home orchard!

You probably know domestic apple trees need at least one other nearby apple variety for pollination. Crabapples are perfect for providing this service.


Compact fruit trees are perfect for use with the espalier technique.

This method of training plants to grow flat against a wall dates all the way back to ancient Rome.

It was also used in medieval European castle courtyards and eighteenth-century English cottage gardens for practical, space-saving purposes.

Start with this simple guide on how to espalier crabapple trees.

Learn to Grow a Royalty Crabapple Tree

Dark red crabapple blossoms, deep red foliage on Malus Royalty tree branches.

Read on to see how easy it can be to grow your Royalty crabapple trees!

Where Do Royalty Crabapple Trees Grow?

This crabapple cultivar grows best in USDA hardiness zones four to eight.

It can thrive in a variety of soil types, even including clay.

Planting a Royalty Crabapple Tree

Check out the simple guidelines below, and you’ll be ready to start planting your own Royalty crabapple tree in no time!

When and Where to Plant

You can plant this hardy tree any time the soil is workable.

Choose a location where it will get at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight in spring and summer.

Though this tree can survive in partial shade, it needs full sun for the most vibrant blooms and foliage.

Hole Width/Depth and Root Prep

Take a look at the container in which your starter tree is growing. Dig a hole that’s the same depth as the container and about twice as wide.

Tease out the roots to loosen them just a little before planting.

Planting and Staking

Staking your young Royalty crabapple tree will ensure upright growth.

You’ll only need a short stake (about three feet tall) to give enough support to the bottom portion of this small tree.

First, drive your stake firmly into the ground at least three inches away from the base of the tree.

Then, plant the tree so that it sits a few inches above the surface of the soil. Backfill the hole with well-packed soil, creating a cone shape.

Next, secure your tree to the stake using a strong, flexible plastic tree tie. Make a figure-eight shape to keep the tree from leaning into or rubbing against the stake.

Final Steps

Soak your newly planted tree thoroughly, then top it with at least two to three inches of mulch.

Care and Maintenance

Once you’ve planted your Royalty crabapple tree, here’s how to keep it happy and healthy year-round.

Water Needs

Water your young Royalty crabapple tree regularly in the first few years after planting. Half an inch of water about once per week should be sufficient.

Once the tree is well-established, you’ll see new growth occurring at a consistent rate. This could take up to three or four years. At that point, the tree will be drought-tolerant and need very little water.


Prune your Royalty crabapple tree minimally in the winter. It won’t need much – remove any damaged or diseased branches.

If using a tree-shaping technique like espalier, perform that structural pruning in the winter as well.

Always use clean, sharp pruning shears to avoid contaminating or damaging your plants.

Loppers are great for pruning small fruit trees like the Royalty crabapple. Check out this list of the best loppers you can buy online.

Common Pests and Diseases

Though the Royalty crabapple tree boasts many wonderful traits, it’s unfortunately also very susceptible to common pests and diseases.

Mites and Aphids

Royalty can attract mites and aphids like other crabapples, especially in hot, dry weather.

Browning, yellowing, spotted, wilting, and dropping leaves are all signs of pest infestation.

Flush mites and aphids off your crabapple tree with a strong stream of water. Drench the entire plant. Afterward, inspect your tree regularly for any signs of recurrence.

High Risk of Fire Blight

The Royalty crabapple tree is extremely susceptible to fire blight, a destructive bacterial disease.

Symptoms include wilting and darkened leaves, water-soaked flowers, and creamy liquid oozing from sunken cankers on branches. Twigs can also blacken and curl into a “shepherd’s crook” shape.

Fight fire blight by removing infected twigs and branches when bacteria are dormant in winter. Cut at least twelve inches below a point of visible infection.

Thoroughly sterilize your shears after pruning blighted branches. And burn, bury, or properly dispose of the diseased cuttings so they won’t re-infect anything in your garden.

Apple Scab

Another common disease that can affect Royalty crabapple trees is apple scab.

Scab is an airborne fungal infection that causes blisters and cracks on twigs and blotchy, darkening, and dropping leaves.

Treatment for scabs is like that for blight – prune away and destroy all diseased growth in winter.

Other Crabapple Tree Diseases

Ready to dig in and learn everything there is to know about keeping your Royalty crabapple tree disease-free?

Check out this post on crabapple tree diseases and how to treat and prevent them effectively.

Where to Buy Royalty Crabapple Trees

Apple tree Malus domestica blossoms in the spring. Variety 'Royalty' with red leaves and flowers

Let’s get you started growing your new show-stopping Royalty crabapple tree!

Order high-quality starter trees today from Nature Hills.

Get Ready to Grow a Royalty Crabapple Tree

Now you know all about the best ornamental crabapple tree to grow in small spaces. What’s next?

Order your Royalty crabapple tree and pick out the sunny spot where you’ll plant your new showpiece. Then, get ready to enjoy its beauty!

Still curious about crabapples? We’ve got growing guides and more variety of profiles for you on our Crabapple Trees page!