Can You Grow Crabapple Trees In Pots? [And How To!]

You usually hear about and see crabapple trees being grown outdoors along sidewalks and park landscapes. Often they're grown in open areas for their outstanding ornamental aesthetics and beautiful colors and flowers. But can these deciduous trees be grown in pots as well? We've researched the answer to this question, and in this post, we will go over it.

Yes, you can grow a crabapple tree in a pot. Crabapple trees are similar to other deciduous trees and require healthy soil, sunlight, oxygen, and water to survive. All of these things can be provided when the tree is grown in a pot with soil. The only thing worth noting is that the plant's pot will need to be pretty large to accommodate the tree size, though the tree can be pruned to keep it at a minimal height.

If you're looking to plant a crabapple tree in your front or back yard but would rather plant it in a pot instead of the ground, it is possible. Not only will this give you more control of the soil for the tree, but it'll also give you the option to plant other trees near your crabapple tree that may not have the same maintenance requirements. Continue reading to learn more about how to maintain your crab apple tree in a pot.

A beautiful pink blossoming crabapple tree in the meadow, Can You Grow Crabapple Trees In Pots? [And How To!]

Ways to Maintain A Crab Apple Tree in A Pot

Choose the right variety

To achieve maximum results with your crab apple tree, it's best to know what variety is best to grow in a pot. Typically, if you're looking to plant the tree in a pot, it's best to find varieties that grow smaller (meaning under 10 to 12 ft tall).

There are so many different crab apple varieties to choose from that it shouldn't be an issue. You should also try to find crabapple trees that are more resistant to every day apple tree diseases such as rust and fire blight.

Choose the right pot

Crabapple trees can grow to be over 25 feet tall. If you plan on placing the plant in a pot, be sure to choose a variety that either grows small or be ready to prune the tree ever so often. This way, the tree won't become too tall to the point where it's leaning to the side or causing the pot to tip over.

Typically, crabapple trees will require pots that are anywhere from 12 to 24 inches in diameter. You'll also want to keep in mind that the story of a requirement for this size pot will range from 12 quarts to 36 quarts.

Read more about this planter on Amazon.

Choose the right location

After choosing your tree variety and pot, you'll need to decide on the perfect place to plant your crabapple tree. With a plant the size, it's best to grow it outside so that it not only get to the sun it needs but the space to grow, even with smaller varieties. Keep in mind that this pot will be very heavy once you add the soil and the tree-meaning you'll be less inclined to move it once you set it up.

Watering and nutrient needs

Once your tree is planted and established in the pot, you won't need to add a lot of water unless your region is particularly dry. A good rule of thumb is to provide the crab apple tree with about an inch of water every week or so.

You can also add mulch to the tree to help it preserve moisture and reduce the possibility of the soil becoming too dry. When first starting, try to test the soil weekly to see how well it holds moisture. This will give you a good idea of when it'll need another watering session.

You won't need fertilizer for the tree in the first 9 to 12 months as the soil itself would suffice. However, after the first 12 to 18 months, it's good to add a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 to help give the plant a solid nutrient boost.

Check out this fertilizer on Amazon.


Crabapple trees prefer to have full sunlight daily. If they don't have this, they'll usually struggle to produce fruit and flowers. If you plan to grow the tree outside, try to find the sunniest position and avoid areas behind other trees or shaded areas around the home. While there are a few varieties that can survive in light shade, most will require full to moderate sun.

Plant Diseases and Pests

Several crab apple trees varieties are more susceptible to plant diseases such as apple scab and rust. Applying a tree fungicide to the plant can help to mitigate this issue. You'll also want to watch out for aphids, which can eat away at the underside of the tree's leaves. And then, of course, there are webworms and gypsy moths that can invade the tree as well.

Monitoring the tree weekly or bi-weekly for pests can help limit their growth and ensure its vitality. Most tree insecticides and natural deterrents such as biological agents can help to keep pest infestations in check.

Find this plant insecticide on Amazon.

Soil requirements

Crabapple trees prefer soil that is well-draining and fairly moist. You can add to the soil to help it sustain moisture and use organic or inorganic compost to provide the tree with everyday essential nutrients. The most important thing is to ensure that the soil is well-draining because soggy soil can cause the plant to develop root rot. If you have drainage issues with the plant, you can also add sand or perlite to the soil.

Find perlite on Amazon.

Temperature and Humidity

Crab apples typically grow in agricultural zones 3 through 8. They prefer average temperatures of around 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of approximately 50%. These trees don't fare particularly well, especially in hot climates, as they prefer cold winters and warmer summers. This is why you generally only find these trees popular in northern and mid-western areas within the states.


When planting a crabapple tree in a pot, it's important to stay on top of the tree's height and spread. Crabapple trees are known to be slow to moderate growers. They can reach up to 10-12 ft before you know it, which is about as tall as you want the tree to be in the pot. If you believe that the tree is becoming too lofty, it's best to prune it in the springtime.

When trimming in the leaves and branches, you'll also want to cut any trim suckers that may be growing at the tree's base. Lastly, pay attention to any damaged or diseased branches on the tree, as these will need to be removed before they potentially spread to other areas.

Learn more about these pruning shears on Amazon.

Can crabapple trees grow in pots?

Yes. Crabapple trees can be grown in pots. However, it's best to ensure that the pot is big enough to hold the tree's weight and its soil.

Are crabapple trees easy to grow?

Yes. For the most part, crabapple trees don't require much maintenance to grow. Full sunlight and moist, well-draining soil are the biggest contributors to their ability to thrive. Of course, you'll also want to keep an eye on any invasive pest problems or common plant diseases.

Can you keep a crabapple tree small?

While crabapple trees typically don't require a lot of pruning, they will require at least yearly pruning if you plan to keep the tree small. Generally, trimming off anywhere from 3 to 5 inches of the tree a year will suffice to keep it at your desired height, though there are no hard-and-fast rules for pruning the crabapple tree. If you prefer a smaller tree, you can also choose to ride these that don't grow as tall.

Do crabapple trees need to be planted in pairs?

Like other apple varieties, crabapple trees will need to be cross-pollinated with other trees to produce fruit. This means that your potted tree may need to be anywhere from 10 to 15 feet away from other trees to grow fruit.

What conditions do crabapple trees like?

An up close photo of crabapple leaves blooming in the garden

Generally, crabapple trees prefer average weather conditions and are known for their cold-hardiness. They prefer average temperatures of around 50 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

How much sun do crabapple trees need?

On average, crabapple trees referral full sun daily. This means at least 5-6 hours of moderate or direct sunlight.

Wrapping Things Up

We hope that this post provided you with the information you were looking for on how to grow crab apple trees in pots. Remember, these are pretty easy plants to grow, but they require basic tree necessities, including well-training soil, sunlight, and water.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

Can Maple Tree Roots Damage Foundation?

Best Soil For Weeping Fig & Recommended Pots And Containers

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