Patio Crab Apple Trees – Growing Fruit in Pots

Ideal for a pot on your patio or balcony, patio crab apple trees are small, decorative, and produce gorgeous red, yellow or golden fruits. During the spring you can enjoy the pale pink flowers and look forward to harvesting the apples in the autumn. Crab apples are popular in sauces, jellies, juice, liquor, wines, and fruit leather.

patio Crab Apple tree

Patio crab apple trees in containers will never grow bigger than 2 metres and with some moderate pruning, are easy to care for. Crab apple trees are also the best pollinator for other apple trees and, of course, will attract an abundance of wildlife.

With these you can have both a highly decorative tree and one that produces fruit. They will look stunning in even the tiniest of garden spaces and are a joy to look at while enjoying a hot drink.

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Best Patio Crab Apple Tree Varieties

There are many different patio crab tree varieties at your disposal so it’s about finding the right one for your garden space. The crab apple varieties below are widely available to buy online and from your local nursery or garden centre.

Golden Hornet

Golden hornet crab apples are an edible fruit in wonderful golden shades.

This deciduous crab apple tree is a great pollinator for the garden and is one of the most well known crab apple varieties.

  • Best Feature: Wonderful golden display of fruits.
  • When To Plant Out:  November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: Autumn
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun

Neville Copeman

Producing unique purple foliage, the Neville copeman crabapple tree is a treat for any garden.

The orange and red fruits take on an autumnal feel and can be picked from October time. This variety is popular in jellies and sauces and the tree itself is very hardy and fares well in frosty conditions.

  • Best Feature: Very hardy
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: October onwards
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun


Producing yellow-orange fruits with shades of red, butterball patio crab trees are a highly decorative choice.

This is a reliable and heavy cropper variety of crab apple tree so the perfect option for any gardener.

  • Best Feature: Heavy cropper
  • When To Plant Out: November to March
  • Harvest Fruit: Autumn
  • Best Growing Position: Full sun

Growing Crab Apple Trees in Pots – Patio Care Guide

Growing crab apple trees in pots is a perfect solution for those lacking lots of green space outdoors. They are the perfect size for patio areas or balconies providing there is plenty of sunshine. For optimal results, follow our carefully selected growing tips below.

If you have a little more space and would like to create a compact garden orchard, there are many varieties of dwarf crab apple trees to consider.

  • What Size Pot for a Crab Apple Tree? 45cm to 50cm in diameter
  • Compost: They do well in chalky, clay, loam, or sand.
  • Watering: Frequent during the first year, less so as it matures.
  • Feeding: You can use a fertiliser annually and it will benefit from mulch.
  • Rootstock: Dwarf

Common Patio Crabapple Tree Problems

  • Apple scab: Trees affected by this can display dark scab-like marks on the fruits and also perhaps the leaves. Apple scab is a fungus prevalent from spring time and can help be controlled by having a good garden care routine.  Removing damaged branches and getting rid of leaves as they fall will help the problem too.
  • Caterpillars: Caterpillars such as the winter moth species can be problematic in the springtime. They eat their way through the leaves and buds of fruit trees such as crab apples. Control isn’t always necessary as they don’t affect the fruit growth but you can encourage predators who will keep their numbers limited.
  • Apple sawfly: These pests can do irreversible damage to early fruits and they will often fall off prematurely.  You will notice holes in the fruits along with scarring and you can remove affected fruits when spotted early enough. Predators such as beetles can also keep apple sawfly numbers low.

Pruning Patio Crab Apple Trees

You can keep on top of your crab apple tree’s size and shape by pruning it. They do not grow very quickly so you will get away with minimal pruning of a dwarf variety.

When to Prune Patio Crab Apple Trees

Patio crab apple trees should be pruned once the very cold weather has passed so during the spring will be best. Of course, if you spot any damaged branches during other times of the year then these should be removed immediately.

How to Prune Patio Crab Apple Trees

When pruning your patio crab apple tree you should remove any water spouts which can grow from the main branches. Typically, these don’t produce fruit so by removing these the tree can focus on growing the areas that do grow fruit.  Any dead or diseased branches or shoots should also be cut off. It’s important to maintain a nice shape and to prevent any overcrowding.


Can you grow crab apple trees in containers?

Crab apple trees grow very well in containers which will suit even the most inexperienced gardener. They are grafted on dwarf rootstock making them a perfect addition to the tiniest of spaces.

How tall do patio crab apple trees grow?

Patio crab apple trees will remain at a modest height of no more than 2 metres. With regular pruning you can maintain the height that suits you.

What is the best compost for patio crab apple trees?

Patio crab apple trees are not fussy when it comes to compost and do well in loam, sandy, chalky, or cosy based soil.

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