Royal Raindrops Crabapple: A Beauty Throughout the Seasons

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a tree known for truly embodying its namesake. Its dazzling, pink-red blossoms, charming purple leaves, and shiny red fruits make it a tree that exudes elegance all year round.

But is it right for you?

The Royal Raindrops Crabapple is a medium-sized tree that typically reaches a height of 15-20 feet and a spread of 10-15 feet. However, the size can vary based on growing conditions and annual pruning. Its natural compact size makes it a great choice for residential landscapes.

In the following sections, we’ll explore all the characteristics of the Royal Raindrops crabapple, covering everything from its general appearance and growth rate to its blooming habits and fruit production.

We’ll also provide a comprehensive guide on how to grow and care for this tree, including its preferred growing conditions, maintenance requirements, and potential pests and diseases. So keep reading!

Key Takeaways

  • The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a medium-sized tree known for its vibrant blooms, attractive foliage, and glossy-red fruits. It’s a low-maintenance tree that’s suitable for USDA Zones 4-8.
  • Full sun and well-drained, moderately fertile soil is preferred. It requires regular watering and benefits from a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring.
  • The Royal Raindrops crabapple is susceptible to certain pests and diseases, including aphids, borers, apple scab, and fire blight.
  • The tree offers significant ornamental and wildlife value and is an excellent choice for small gardens, in borders, or as a specimen tree.

Royal Raindrops crabapple is a gorgeous variety, but there are plenty of others to consider as well. I detail the top choices in my comprehensive article Best Crabapple Varieties.

Royal Raindrops Crabapple

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a deciduous tree that’s prized for its year-round ornamental appeal. Here’s a brief overview of its key features:

FeatureDescription
Botanical NameMalus transitoria ‘JFS-KW5’
Mature Height15-20 feet
Mature Width10-15 feet
Growth RateMedium
Light PreferencesFull sun
Ideal SoilWell-drained, moderately fertile soil
Watering NeedsRegular watering, more frequent in extreme heat
Bloom TimeMid to late spring
Bloom Color & FragrancePink-red, fragrant flowers
FruitsGlossy red crabapples
Fall FoliagePurple-red

General Appearance

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a sight to behold. This medium-sized, deciduous tree is characterized by its upright, spreading habit and rounded crown.

Its branches are adorned with deeply lobed, purple-red leaves that provide a striking contrast to the tree’s vibrant blooms and fruits.

In mid to late spring, the tree is awash with a profusion of pink-red flowers. These fragrant blooms are borne in clusters and create a stunning floral display that adds a splash of color to any landscape.

Following the bloom period, the tree produces glossy-red crabapples. These small fruits persist on the tree into winter, adding a pop of color to the otherwise bare branches.

As the seasons change, so does the color of the Royal Raindrops crabapple’s foliage. In the fall, the purple-red leaves turn to a fiery shade of red, creating a warm, autumnal display that’s sure to catch the eye.

Seasonal Color

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a tree that offers year-round beauty. In the spring, the tree is a riot of color as it becomes covered in clusters of pink-red flowers.

These blooms not only add a touch of beauty to the landscape but also fill the air with their sweet fragrance.

As spring turns to summer, the flowers give way to shiny, red crabapples. These fruits, coupled with the tree’s purple-red foliage, create an eye-catching display that’s sure to stand out in any landscape.

When fall arrives, the Royal Raindrops crabapple puts on another show as its leaves change color. The purple-red leaves turn to a fiery shade of red, creating a stunning autumnal display.

Even in winter, the tree continues to provide visual interest. The red fruits often persist into the winter months, adding a pop of color to the winter landscape.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

The Royal Raindrops crabapple exhibits a medium growth rate with the tree growing at an average rate of 1 to 2 feet per year under optimal conditions.

However, the exact growth rate can vary depending on the tree’s growing conditions, including light, soil, and water availability.

At maturity, the Royal Raindrops crabapple reaches a height of 15-20 feet and a spread of 10-15 feet.

Despite its medium size, the tree’s vivid colors and dense, spreading habit give it a substantial presence in the landscape.

Blooms

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is renowned for its spectacular display of pink-red flowers. These blooms typically appear in mid to late spring and last for several weeks.

Each flower is composed of delicate petals that create a stunning contrast against the tree’s purple-red foliage.

The blooms not only add a touch of beauty to the landscape but also emit a sweet fragrance that can fill the entire yard.

The flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, contributing to the local ecosystem’s health.

A branch of Royal Raindrops crabapple in full bloom.

Fruits

After the blooming period, the Royal Raindrops crabapple produces shiny, red crabapples.

These small fruits add a vibrant pop of color to the tree and persist into the winter months, providing a long-lasting display of color.

While the fruits are not typically consumed by humans due to their tart flavor, they are a valuable food source for various wildlife species.

Birds, in particular, are attracted to the crabapples and can often be seen feasting on the fruits in the fall and winter months.

Pollination

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a self-fertile tree, meaning it can produce fruit without pollination from another variety.

However, cross-pollination with another apple or crabapple tree can result in a larger crop of fruits.

The tree’s flowers are attractive to a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

These pollinators play a crucial role in the tree’s reproductive process by transferring pollen from the male parts of a flower to the female parts, allowing fertilization to occur. Without these pollinators, there would be no fruit.

While the Royal Raindrops crabapple can pollinate other apple trees, it’s important to note that not all apple trees are compatible with each other.

If you’re planting an apple orchard and want to use the Royal Raindrops crabapple as a pollinator, you should research or consult with a local extension service or nursery to ensure compatibility.

Hardiness

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a robust tree that can withstand a variety of conditions. It’s rated for USDA Hardiness Zones 4-8, meaning it can tolerate winter temperatures down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Despite its hardiness, the Royal Raindrops crabapple does have some preferences when it comes to its growing conditions.

It prefers full sun and well-drained moderately fertile soil. However, it’s adaptable to a variety of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils.

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is relatively low in maintenance needs.

It requires regular watering, especially in the first few years as it establishes its root system, but once established, it tends to tolerate drought well.

Royal Raindrops Crabapple Growing Conditions

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a resilient tree that can thrive in a range of growing conditions. However, for the tree to flourish and reach its full potential, certain conditions are more ideal.

Grow Zones

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is hardy and can withstand the cold winters of USDA Zones 4-8. This means it can endure winter temperatures as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Its hardiness makes it a flexible choice, particularly for those who feel rather limited in flowering tree options.

Sun Requirements

The Royal Raindrops crabapple thrives in full sun. Full sun exposure, meaning at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, enables the tree to generate the energy required for growth and fruit production.

Soil Preferences

The Royal Raindrops crabapple prefers soil that is moderately fertile and drains quickly. It can adapt to various soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils.

The tree prefers a slightly acidic to neutral pH but can also tolerate slightly alkaline conditions. Proper drainage is crucial as the tree does not fare well in waterlogged conditions.

Royal Raindrops Crabapple Maintenance and Care

While the Royal Raindrops crabapple is generally easy to care for, certain care practices are necessary to ensure the tree remains healthy and visually appealing.

Watering

The Royal Raindrops crabapple needs consistent watering, particularly during its initial years as it establishes its root system.

Once established, the tree has moderate drought tolerance. However, during periods of extreme heat or drought, supplemental watering may be required.

Fertilization

An annual application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer (I use this one and see great results) in early spring, before the onset of new growth, benefits the Royal Raindrops crabapple.

This practice supplies the tree with the nutrients necessary for growth and fruit production.

Pruning

Pruning is a crucial aspect of caring for a Royal Raindrops crabapple. Regular pruning helps maintain the tree’s shape, promotes better air circulation, and can help prevent disease.

The optimal time to prune is in late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant.

Pests & Diseases

The Royal Raindrops crabapple, like any tree, can be susceptible to certain pests and diseases. Common pests include aphids, borers, and scale. Diseases can include apple scab, fire blight, and powdery mildew.

Regular monitoring and early intervention can help manage these issues.

Landscape Uses & Wildlife Value

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a versatile tree that can be used in a variety of landscape settings. It’s an excellent choice for small gardens, borders, or as a specimen tree.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Royal Raindrops crabapple also provides significant wildlife value. Its flowers attract pollinators, and its fruits provide a food source for birds and other wildlife.

Companion Plants

The Royal Raindrops crabapple pairs well with a variety of other plants. Consider planting it with spring-blooming bulbs or perennials that offer fall color.

Tulips, mums, hostas, and ornamental grasses are all good options, but the possibilities are numerous.

Where To Buy

Royal Raindrops crabapple trees can be purchased from a variety of sources. Local nurseries often carry these trees, and they can also be found at larger garden centers.

Online nurseries are a great option for those who can’t find the tree locally. Here are a few recommendations:

Closing Thoughts

The Royal Raindrops crabapple is a tree that offers beauty throughout the seasons. With its vibrant blooms, attractive foliage, and glossy-red fruits, it’s a tree that truly stands out.

If you’ve been looking for the perfect tree to brighten your yard, this could be the one. Best of luck!

Having trouble choosing the right crabapple variety? Expand your options by exploring these popular cultivars too: