Crab apple 'Red Sentinel' Malus × robusta 'Red Sentinel'

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


'Red Sentinel' is a medium-sized deciduous tree with single white flowers 3cm in width, followed by clusters of cherry-like, glossy, deep red fruits 2.5cm in width, which persist well into winter

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Red Sentinel Crabapple, Robusta Red Sentinel Crabapple

    • Common names

      Malus × robusta 'Red Sentinel'.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      12-15 feet (3.7-4.6 meters)

    • Spread

      8-10 feet (2.4-3 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Produces vibrant blossoms and attractive fruit, enhancing landscape aesthetics.
    • Wildlife Support: Offers food and shelter for birds and beneficial insects.
    • Seasonal Interest: Adds year-round visual interest with changing foliage and fruit colors.
    • Drought Tolerance: Can withstand periods of low water once established, reducing maintenance.
    • Pollinator Friendly: Flowers attract bees and other pollinators, supporting biodiversity.
    • Cold Hardy: Resistant to low temperatures, suitable for various climates.
    • Compact Growth: Ideal for smaller gardens or spaces due to its relatively small size.
    • Privacy Screen: Can be used as a hedge or screen, providing privacy and reducing noise.
    • Fruit Production: Although the fruit is not commonly eaten raw, it can be used for jellies and preserves.

  • 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

    • Wildlife Shelter: The dense branches of the Red Sentinel crabapple can provide a refuge for birds and small animals, giving them a place to hide from predators.
    • Photography Subject: Its bright red fruits and beautiful blossoms make the Red Sentinel crabapple a popular subject for nature photographers and artists.
    • Floral Arrangements: The cut branches, especially when laden with fruit or in bloom, are used in floral arrangements to add a splash of natural color and beauty.
    • Educational Tool: The tree can be used to teach students about plant biology, pollination, and the role of fruit trees in ecosystems.
    • Grafting Stock: The Red Sentinel crabapple is sometimes used as rootstock for grafting other varieties of apple trees due to its hardiness.
    • Winter Garden Interest: The persistent fruits provide visual interest in gardens during the typically barren winter months.
    • Natural Bird Feeder: The fruits remain on the tree throughout winter, serving as a food source for birds.
    • Dye Production: The bark and fruits may be used to produce natural dyes for fabrics or crafts.
    • Culinary Experiments: Although not commonly used for mainstream cooking, the fruit can be a unique ingredient for adventurous cooks in homemade jellies or sauces.
    • Arts and Crafts: Dried branches and fruits can be painted or used in decorative crafts, such as wreaths or centerpieces.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Crabapple is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Crabapple is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Beauty and Purity - The striking red apples of the 'Red Sentinel' crabapple symbolize beauty and purity, as they stand out with a bright, eye-catching color amidst the foliage.
    • Renewal and New Beginnings - Crabapple trees in general are noted for their spring blossoms, signaling the end of winter and the start of a new growth cycle, hence symbolizing new beginnings.
    • Love and Fertility - In some cultures, the plentiful fruit of the crabapple is associated with love and fertility, as the tree is often loaded with fruit, symbolizing abundance and the potential for new life.
    • Protection - The crabapple has been thought to offer protection; in folklore, it was sometimes planted to guard against evil spirits.
    • Peace - The blossoms and tranquil presence of the crabapple tree can symbolize a state of peace, often making it a choice for planting in gardens intended as peaceful retreats.

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

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple should be watered deeply once a week during dry periods without rainfall, ensuring the soil is moist but not waterlogged. For established trees, providing about 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week is ideal, which usually translates to around 15-22 gallons for a mature tree, depending on its size and the surrounding environmental conditions. In the spring and summer when the tree is actively growing and if temperatures are higher, you may need to water more frequently. Conversely, during the fall and winter months, watering can be reduced as the tree requires less moisture due to dormancy.

  • sunLight

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple thrives in full sun, meaning it needs at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Planting this tree in a location that receives unobstructed sunlight will encourage the best flower production and fruit set. Avoid deeply shaded areas, as insufficient light can lead to fewer blooms and poorly developed fruit.

  • thermometerTemperature

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple is hardy and can withstand a wide temperature range; it survives winter lows down to -20°F and is comfortable in the heat up to 100°F. The ideal growing temperatures range between 60°F and 75°F. However, the tree is adaptable and can handle brief periods outside of these temperatures, both colder and warmer.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune the Red Sentinel Crabapple during the dormancy period in late winter or early spring before the new growth starts. Pruning is necessary to maintain the tree's shape, remove dead or diseased wood, and promote better air circulation, which reduces the risk of fungal diseases. Thinning out crowded branches also helps to increase light penetration, improving the overall health and fruiting capability of the tree. It is typically done on an annual basis, but inspection throughout the year for damaged or diseased branches is advisable.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple prefers well-drained, loamy soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. A mix of two parts loam, one part sand, and compost would be ideal to ensure proper drainage and fertility. It's important to avoid overly wet or dry conditions to prevent root diseases.

  • plantRepotting

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple being a tree is typically not repotted. It is planted directly into the ground and may require transplanting only if it outgrows its original location or if site conditions necessitate a move. Young trees may be transplanted more frequently, but established trees are seldom moved.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Red Sentinel Crabapples are adaptable to a range of outdoor humidity conditions and do not require specific humidity levels for healthy growth. They thrive in the variable outdoor environment, which generally provides the necessary humidity through natural precipitation and climate.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Not ideal for indoor growth; requires full sun, well-draining soil.

    • Outdoor

      Full sun, well-draining soil, regular watering, and annual mulching.

    • Hardiness zone

      4-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The Red Sentinel Crabapple (Malus × robusta 'Red Sentinel') begins its life cycle when a seed germinates, typically in late spring after experiencing the stratification process. Following germination, the seedling emerges, developing a root system and a shoot that grows into a young tree, which is nurtured through proper pruning, watering, and sunlight. Over several years, the tree matures and enters the flowering stage, where it produces fragrant white or pink blossoms in spring—a process stimulated by the warming temperatures. These blossoms are pollinated by insects, which leads to the development of the characteristic small, red crabapples in the late summer to autumn. The fruits can persist on the tree throughout the winter, providing food for birds and other wildlife. Finally, when the tree reaches the end of its life span, which can be several decades, it dies and decomposes, returning nutrients to the soil and possibly leaving seeds that may sprout to begin the cycle anew.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Propogation: The most popular method for propagating the Crabapple 'Red Sentinel' is by grafting, which is often done in late winter when the plant is dormant. In this process, a cutting, also known as a scion, selected from a 'Red Sentinel' crabapple tree for its desirable characteristics is joined to a rootstock from a different apple variety. The rootstock provides the new plant with a strong and disease-resistant foundation, while the scion grows into producing the familiar 'Red Sentinel' crabapple fruits and flowers. The cut surfaces of the scion and the rootstock are aligned carefully to ensure that the cambium layers, the actively growing tissue between the wood and bark, are in contact, then taped or waxed together to protect from diseases and dehydration. Over time, the tissues of both parts fuse, creating a new crabapple tree that combines the attributes of both the scion and the rootstock.