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Prairifire Flowering CrabappleMalus 'Prairifire'

  • Prairifire Flowering Crabapple - Malus 'Prairifire'
Its showy, dark pink to red flowers are what draw most people to the prairifire flowering crabapple. And for good reason. The stunning, long-lasting spring blossoms are a sight to behold. But this variety also offer year-round beauty with its changing leaf color. Glossy maroon or purplish-red in spring, the leaves become dark green with purplish-red veins in the summer then a beautiful bronze color in autumn.

And to add to its visual appeal, the prairifire flowering crabapple is disease-resistant and able to adapt to many different site conditions.

Hardiness Zones

The prairifire flowering crabapple can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is a flowering tree, typically planted for its profusion of flowers.

Mature Size

The prairifire flowering crabapple grows to a height of around 20' and a spread of around 15' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least six hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The prairifire flowering crabapple grows in acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, wet and clay soils.


This tree:
  • Is disease-resistant.
  • Features simple oval leaves 1–4
  • Makes a bold landscape statement.
  • Yields abundant maroon-colored berry-like drupes up to ½
  • Is self-fertile, meaning it depends on insects such as bees to transfer pollen between flowers on the same tree.
  • Can be used to pollinate apple trees. (However, because bees tend to stay within the same flower color when foraging apple blossoms, try to match the flower color of the crabapple to the apple variety.)
  • Grows in a rounded, oval shape.
  • Is available from the Arbor Day Foundation as a seedling grafted to Malus antanovka.
  • Blooms in a profusion of dark pink to red blossoms in April and May.

Wildlife Value

The fruits of this tree are important food for many birds and mammals.


The tree was introduced by Dr. Daniel Dayton, University of Illinois, in 1982 as a disease-resistant cultivar. His misspelling of the name was intentional.

Crabapple trees are actually members of the rose family, Rosaceae. As with roses, there is a never-ending desire to develop a new form and give it a fanciful name. This has resulted in approximately 800 cultivars of crabapples.