Butterball Crabapple Malus 'Butterball'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
crab apple 'Butterball'


The plant commonly known as Butterball is a type of flowering crabapple. It is characterized by its attractive and ornamental qualities. The standout feature of this plant is its abundance of yellow fruit, which resembles small apples. These fruits are typically vibrant and can add a touch of color to the planting area. The flowers of the Butterball plant are also quite beautiful, usually blossoming in a showy display of white or soft pink petals that provide a stark contrast against the foliage. The leaves of the Butterball are a rich green color, with a glossy finish that can catch the light, creating a shimmering effect on a sunny day. These leaves may change as the seasons turn, often transitioning to hues of orange, red, or yellow, contributing an autumnal beauty to the plant's surroundings. The overall shape of the Butterball plant is rounded, creating a bushy and dense appearance that can serve well in garden designs where a focal point or a natural barrier is desired. Its branches are sturdy and spread out to form a canopy that can provide shelter for wildlife and shade for the area beneath. On the practical side, the Butterball plant is known for being hardy and able to withstand various environmental conditions, making it a favorite among gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance yet visually appealing addition to their landscapes. Its fruit also has the benefit of attracting birds and other wildlife, adding another layer of interaction with the natural world.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Butterball Apple

    • Common names

      Malus 'Butterball'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The Malus 'Butterball', commonly known as apple tree, generally has fruits that are safe for human consumption. The apple is not typically toxic to humans when eaten in normal food quantities; however, the seeds inside the apples contain amygdalin, a compound that can release cyanide when digested. Ingesting a large number of apple seeds could potentially lead to cyanide poisoning, which is hazardous. Symptoms of cyanide poisoning include headache, dizziness, shortness of breath, and in severe cases, seizures, loss of consciousness, and cardiac arrest.

    • To pets

      Similar to humans, the apple tree is not highly toxic to pets; the apples themselves are safe for pets like dogs and cats to eat in moderation. However, caution is advised regarding the seeds, as they also contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide when digested. If a pet ingests a significant amount of apple seeds, they may experience symptoms of cyanide toxicity such as dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, panting, shock, and in severe cases, collapse. It is always recommended to remove the seeds and core before offering the fruit to pets.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      15 feet [4.57 meters]

    • Spread

      12 feet [3.66 meters]

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area

      Europe Asia


  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: The Butterball crabapple offers a stunning display of white flowers in the spring and colorful, butter-yellow fruit in the fall, enhancing garden beauty.
    • Pollinator Attraction: This tree attracts bees and other pollinators, which are vital for the pollination of many plants and crops.
    • Habitat Provision: The dense foliage and fruit provide shelter and food for various birds and wildlife.
    • Shade and Cooling: Like other trees, the Butterball crabapple provides shade and can help reduce temperatures in its immediate vicinity.
    • Seasonal Interest: With changing colors and appearances throughout the seasons, the tree offers year-round visual interest in the landscape.
    • Compact Size: Its moderate size makes it suitable for smaller gardens or landscapes where space is limited.
    • Durability: The Butterball crabapple is known for its hardiness and ability to withstand a range of soil conditions and climates, making it a resilient choice for various settings.
    • Erosion Control: The tree's root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Malus 'Butterball', commonly known as Crabapple, can be used as a natural dye for fabrics, giving a range of colors from soft yellows to deep greens depending on the mordant used.
    • The wood of Crabapple is dense and can be used for creating small wooden objects like handles, knobs, or even specialized carpentry tools.
    • The fruit pectin from overly ripe Crabapples can be extracted and used as a natural thickening agent for jams and jellies made from other fruits.
    • Crabapple branches can be used in floral arrangements to provide a rustic or wild-looking aesthetic, particularly when the tree is in blossom.
    • Dried Crabapple slices can serve as decorative ornaments or potpourri, imparting a slight fragrance and a touch of natural beauty to a room.
    • Crabapple trees can be incorporated into permaculture designs as pollinating companions for other apple varieties, increasing overall fruit productivity.
    • The tart Crabapples can be mashed and used as a bait for certain types of traps, especially those intended for catching wildlife in a humane manner.
    • Fermented Crabapple juice can be turned into a rustic Crabapple cider, which often has a unique and tangy flavor profile.
    • Crabapple fruits can be used in creative cooking, such as making Crabapple fruit leathers, a tart and chewy snack.
    • The small stature and dense canopy of Crabapple trees make them ideal for use in bonsai practices, where they can be trained into miniature tree forms.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Crabapple Tree is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Crabapple Tree is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Beauty and Temptation: Often associated with the story of Adam and Eve, the apple, which is the fruit of the Malus 'Butterball', commonly known as the Butterball crabapple, symbolizes beauty and the temptation to pursue forbidden knowledge or indulgence.
    • Knowledge and Wisdom: In various mythologies and traditions, apples are considered a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, and enlightenment, as they represent the fruit of education and learning.
    • Love and Desire: In ancient mythology, apples are sometimes a representation of love and desire. They are associated with deities of love such as Aphrodite and have been used as symbols in stories related to love and affection.
    • Fertility and Abundance: The apple’s symbolism of fertility stems from its abundant fruit production. It points to the idea of bountifulness and the ability to produce and provide.
    • Eternal Life: In some cultures, apples represent immortality and eternal life, partly due to their role in the mythologies that involve gods and the afterlife.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Not applicable
Late Winter-Early Spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Butterball Crabapple trees require consistent moisture, especially during dry spells. They should be watered deeply once a week, receiving about 1 to 1.5 inches of water each time, which is roughly 10 to 15 gallons for a newly planted tree. Adjust the amount of water depending on rainfall; less water is needed if there's adequate rain. During the growing season, increase watering frequency to twice a week if there are extended periods of heat and drought. Always check the soil moisture level before watering to avoid over-watering, which can lead to root rot.

  • sunLight

    Butterball Crabapple trees thrive in full sun, which means they should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. The best spot for planting a Butterball Crabapple is in an open area away from larger structures or trees that might create excessive shade. Avoid planting in partial shade as it can reduce the tree's vigor and fruit production.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Butterball Crabapple trees are hardy and can withstand a range of temperatures, but they grow best in areas with a winter chill and moderate summer temperatures, ideally between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can survive winter temperatures down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit and tolerate summer heat up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, prolonged exposure to temperatures outside of the ideal range can stress the tree and affect its health.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Butterball Crabapple trees is essential for removing any dead or diseased wood, improving air circulation, and shaping the tree. It's best to prune during late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Thin out crowded branches and cut back those that are growing inwards towards the center of the tree. Pruning should be done annually to maintain the tree's health and appearance.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    Butterball crabapple trees thrive in well-drained, loamy soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. A mix of two-thirds loam and one-third compost or aged manure will promote healthy growth. Avoid waterlogging by ensuring proper drainage.

  • plantRepotting

    Butterball crabapple trees, being outdoor plants, do not typically require repotting. Instead, focus on planting them in a suitable location where they can grow without the need for transplantation. Young trees should be planted in the ground to thrive.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Butterball crabapple trees are adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels, preferring average outdoor conditions. They do not require specific humidity adjustments when grown outdoors.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Planting Butterball crabapple trees indoors isn't recommended; they're outdoor plants.

    • Outdoor

      Plant Butterball crabapple in sunny spot, water & mulch well.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Malus 'Butterball', commonly known as Butterball Crabapple, begins its life cycle as a seed, often requiring a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. Upon germination, it develops into a seedling, establishing its root system and first true leaves. The plant then enters a juvenile vegetative stage, during which it experiences rapid growth and begins to form the distinctive shape of a crabapple tree. After a few years, the tree reaches maturity, characterized by the ability to flower and produce fruit; creamy white blossoms appear in spring followed by the development of small yellow-golden crabapples. The tree will enter a period of annual reproduction where it cycles through flowering and fruiting, becoming a source of food for wildlife and often self-seeding in the surrounding area. As the Butterball Crabapple ages and reaches the end of its lifecycle, which can span several decades, growth slows, and it eventually succumbs to environmental stresses or disease, completing its life cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late Winter-Early Spring

    • The Malus 'Butterball', commonly known as Butterball Crabapple, is primarily propagated through grafting. This method is chosen due to its reliability in producing true-to-type trees. Grafting is typically performed in late winter or early spring before the rootstock and scion begin to actively grow. In grafting, a piece of the Butterball Crabapple, known as the scion, which includes the desired buds, is joined to a rootstock that provides the root system. The cut surfaces of both scion and rootstock are matched up and bound together. After the grafting is complete, it is essential to keep the area moist and protected until the graft union has fully healed and the scion has started to grow, signaling successful propagation.