Malus hupehensis

Malus hupehensis flower
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Growth habit: Spreading
  • Fruit colour: Green / Red

The Hupeh Crab is a traditional spreading crab-apple, with masses of small white flowers, followed by small red-tinged fruitlets.

It grows in a pleasing spreading fashion, looking attractive even in winter, making it a good choice as a specimen tree in a large lawn.

Malus hupehensis is native to China. It was brought to the attention of western gardeners by collectors from the Arnold Arboretum in Massachusetts, USA, in the early 20th century. It is sometimes known as the Tea crab-apple, because the leaves could be used like tea-leaves.

Malus hupehensis trees for sale

Height in 10 years
Price inc. VAT
1-year Malus hupehensis tree - bare root
3m-5m tall after 10 years
2-year Malus hupehensis tree - in a 12L pot
2.5m-4m 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.

Hupeh 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

Malus hupehensis is versatile and hardy, and tolerant of most situations, very disease-resistant, and should reach a height of 4m-5m eventually.

It is best to keep pruning to a minimum if you want to retain the attractive spreading habit.

Whilst most crab-apples make good pollinators for mainstream apple trees, Malus hupehensis is an exception - its pollen is not viable.

Malus hupehensis characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive flowers Attractive tree / plant Scented flowers
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Spreading
  • Growth rate: Average
  • Vigour: Average vigour
  • Useful for: Open spaces
  • Blossom duration: Long
  • Disease resistance: Good
  • Self-fertility: Partially self-fertile
  • Gardening skill: Average


  • Country of origin: China
  • Flowering month: April
  • Flower colour: White
  • Flower form: Single flower (5-8 petals)
  • Flower size: Small
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Leaf colour - young: Light copper
  • Fruit colour: Green / Red
  • Fruit size: Small
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous
  • Awards: RHS Award of Garden Merit


  • Fruit persistence: Ripens over a period
  • Wildlife: RHS perfect for pollinators

Similar varieties

  • See also Cardinal
    Malus hupehensis
    A red-flowered crab-apple, closely related to Malus hupehensis.

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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