The Flowering Crabapple is one of the best flowering trees for bonsai, right along with Azaleas. This tree produces magnificent white, fragrant flowers that will cover the entire tree during the early spring months just prior to the start of foliage. Once foliage begins growing, you would see small, lobed green pomes appearing in the summer that look like miniature apples. The crabapples will ripen with varying colors during the fall months. The Flowering Crabapple is extremely easy to grow and maintain, making it a great choice for beginners.
Although you would not find many species of Malus, you will find many varieties. When choosing a variety for bonsai look for both flower and fruit color. Some of the best choices include the Common Crabapple, Halls Crabapple, Nagasaki Crabapple, and Toringo Crabapple. Regardless of the variety you choose, you will love the ease in which this bonsai grows.
The Flowering Crabapple loves full sun. The key to prevent mildew is to provide it with good air circulation. Although the Flowering Crabapple is hardy, you do need to provide good protection from frost. This particular tree also needs adequate water, especially during the fruiting season. For feeding, you should provide fertilizer biweekly until the tree starts to flower, as feeding afterwards, leaf growth could take place of fruiting. To protect the fast growth of the tree, do not let the tree fruit for at least two years, which would only weaken the tree.
You then want to repot the Flowering Crabapple annually prior to bud burst but with a basic but good soil. To prune the tree, cut back new shoots to just one or two leaves in the spring. Once pruned, the tree should be left alone until late summer. To propagate the Flowering Crabapple, you can sow seeds outdoors or use all wood type cuttings in the fall. You can also layer in the fall, as long as the tree is protected from frost.
For styling, the best option is the informal, which works great with both single and multiple trunks. Finally, the Flowering Crabapple does have some problems with red spider mites, aphids, caterpillars, and apple scab, which can be controlled with organic pesticides and insecticides.