Malus John Downie

  • John Downie crab apple
  • John Downie crab apple blossom
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Fruit colour: Orange / Red

John Downie is one of the most popular crab-apples in the UK, featuring traditional white blossom and very attractive bright orange-red fruitlets, with a distinctive upside-down pear shape.

It is perhaps the definitive variety for making crab apple jelly, which will usually be a pale pink colour.

It grows with a more upright habit than most other crab-apple varieties, and will fit in a relatively small space.

John Downie was raised in the 1870s by Edward Holmes, a nurseryman from Lichfield, England. He named it after his friend and fellow nurseryman John Downie.

John Downie trees for sale

Deliveries from week commencing 23rd September 2019 (or December for bare-root).

Height in 10 years
Price inc. VAT
1-year John Downie tree - bare root
3m-5m tall after 10 years
2-year John Downie tree - in a 12L pot
3m-5m tall after 10 years

What will it look like?

Illustrative example of a pot-grown tree of this variety as supplied. (Approx. girth: 6/8). Trees should reach their mature height after about 10 or more years.

Malus John Downie crab apple tree

We may also have 1-year bare-root trees of this variety - they are not shown here.

Leaves may not be present during winter, and we may prune some shoots to fit the delivery carton. Size may vary during the season and between batches. The container (if supplied) is only used for transporting the tree, which should then be planted out in the garden or in a much larger patio planter (not all species are suitable for patio planting).

How to grow

John Downie easy to grow, but somewhat prone to apple scab - although this does not affect the cooking quality of the fruit.


John Downie characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers Attractive fruit
  • Disease resistance: Poor
  • Self-fertility: Self-fertile
  • Gardening skill: Average


  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Fruit colour: Orange / Red
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous


  • Wildlife: RHS perfect for pollinators
  • Food uses: Jam / Jelly

Similar varieties

  • See also Pink Glow
    Malus baccata
    Pink Glow
    Another good variety for making crab-apple jelly, Pink Glow ripens a bit earlier in the season.

How to choose a crab-apple tree

We have a very wide range of crab-apple trees. Choosing can be difficult! See our article explaining the different characteristics of crab-apple trees which will help you narrow down the selection.

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