Crabapple trees perfume the air with their prolific blooms early in the spring. The small trees add color to the Indiana landscape. The miniature, edible fruits have a tart taste, effective in jams and jellies. The flowers lure bees, which in turn pollinate the tree. Crabapples can thrive in Indiana. Due to problems in the state with Japanese beetles, fireblight and apple scab, certain varieties make better choices because of their resistance to these problems.
The 'Louisa' crabapple has a small, weeping habit with broad growth. The tree reaches only 10 to 15 feet high and 15 feet wide. An abundance of pink flowers cover the tree in spring, followed by golden-yellow fruits. The 'Louisa' crabapple requires full sun and well-drained soil. As with other crabapples, prune in the late winter and remove suckers as they grow. While 'Louisa' has excellent resistance to fireblight, mildew and beetles, it may have some problems with scab.
An older variety, discovered in 1736 by a Scottish botanist, the 'White Angel' crabapple ranks among the largest of the crabapples. Reaching 30 feet high, the tree grows in a rounded, upright form. The tree blooms in white, with a hint of pink. 'White Angel' produces a heavy crop of red fruit that remain viable well into the winter. The tree has fair-to-good resistance to scab, fireblight, mildew and beetles. Plant the crabapple where the tree has plenty of room to reach full growth with good air circulation.
Introduced in 1982, the 'Prairifire' crabapple has distinct colorations. In early spring, the leaves open in shades of maroon, darken to green as they mature and turn red-orange in the fall. Buds open to reveal red-purple flowers. The fruits start out a similar color, but ripen to a cherry red in the winter. 'Prairifire' matures to 20 feet in a round, upright growth habit. This crabapple has excellent resistance to disease and insect infestations. Like the other crabapples, 'Prairifire' adapts well throughout Indiana.