Sorbus Joseph Rock

Joseph Rock berries and leaves
  • Best seller
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Orange / Red
  • Fruit colour: Yellow

'Joseph Rock' is an excellent choice if you are loooking for a rowan tree to fit in a smaller space. It is widely considered one of the best of the small rowans, with an elegant appearance, reaching perhaps 4m after 10 years.

Clusters of white flowers appear in late May, followed by dense fruitlets which turn from white to golden yellow as autumn progresses.

It is one of the best rowans for autumn colour, with the leaves often attaining a flame red colour - contrasting attractively with the bright fruitlets.

'Joseph Rock' is named after Dr Joseph Rock of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, and is thought to have come from seeds collected on an expedition to China in the 1930s. The original tree still stands in the gardens of RHS Wisley.

Joseph Rock trees for sale

Deliveries from week commencing 18th November 2019 (or December for bare-root).

Height in 10 years
Price inc. VAT
1-year Joseph Rock tree - bare root
2.5m-3.5m tall after 10 years
2-year Joseph Rock tree - in a 12L pot
2.5m-3.5m 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.

Sorbus Joseph Rock

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

'Joseph Rock' is easy to grow and is one of the best trees for a small garden. It is susceptible to fireblight - but this is not usually an issue in the UK climate.

Joseph Rock characteristics


  • Attractive features: Attractive fruit Autumn foliage colour
  • Height 10 years: 3m-5m / 10ft-16ft
  • Growth habit: Upright-spreading
  • Vigour: Slightly small
  • Site conditions: Coastal site Occasional flooding
  • Useful for: Open spaces Small spaces Street / amenity
  • Pruning: Light prune
  • Disease resistance: Average
  • Gardening skill: Suitable for beginners


  • Country of origin: China
  • Flowering month: May June
  • Flower colour: White
  • Leaf colour: Green
  • Leaf colour - young: Green
  • Leaf colour - autumn: Orange / Red
  • Fruit colour: Yellow
  • Annual cycle: Deciduous
  • Awards: RHS 1st class


  • Fruit persistence: Persistent
  • Wildlife: Attractive to birds

Similar varieties

  • Sorbus aucuparia
    Autumn Spire
    Autumn Spire (Flanrock) is a columnar rowan with yellow fruitlets and excellent autumn colour.
  • See also Copper Kettle
    Copper Kettle
    Named for its attractive light copper-coloured fruitlets, Copper Kettle is easy to grow and takes up little space.
  • See also Sunshine
    A small rowan tree with an upright form and golden yellow clusters of fruits, and strong autumn colours.

How to choose a Rowan or Whitebeam tree

We have a very wide range of Sorbus (rowan and whitebeam) trees. Choosing can be difficult! Our article explaining the different berry and leaf colours might help narrow down the selection.

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