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Red Jonathan AppleMalus x domestica

This late-ripening cultivar produces beautiful, bright red apples with crisp and juicy white flesh has a bold, tart but well-balanced flavor. It’s a great apple for fresh eating, freezing and cooking. The fruit ripens late in the season (mid-September to mid-October) and has a great shelf life, keeping anywhere from 3–6 months in the refrigerator.

When planting these trees, be sure to include other apple varieties such as red delicious, yellow delicious or early harvest to ensure pollination.

Hardiness Zones

The red jonathan apple can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 4–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is a fruit tree, grown primarily for the edible fruit it produces.

Mature Size

The standard red Jonathan apple tree grows to a height of 20–25' and a spread of around 25' at maturity. The semi-dwarf variety grows to a height of 12–15' with a spread of 12–15'. The dwarf variety grows to a height of about 10' with a spread of about 10'.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

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

Sun Preference

This tree needs a minimum of 6–8 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The red Jonathan apple grows well in moist, well-drained soil. It is not drought-tolerant.


This tree:
  • Produces a medium-sized apple that is bright red in sunny climates but striped red in cooler climates. Its crisp and juicy white flesh has a bold, tart but well-balanced flavor--great for fresh eating, freezing and cooking. The fruit will keep for 3–6 months if stored in the refrigerator.
  • Yields ripe fruit typically from mid-September to mid-October.
  • Grows in an oval, spreading shape. Sometimes they are horizontal, upright or erect.
  • Needs a compatible cultivar--growing within 100' of the tree for standard, 50' for semi-dwarf and 20' for dwarf varieties-- to ensure pollination.
  • Bears fruit in 6–10 years if standard sized. The semi-dwarf tree bears in 4–6 years, the dwarf in 3–4 years.
  • Blooms midseason, with white to light pink flowers.
  • Can be pollinated with yellow delicious, red delicious, early harvest or a variety from a different apple family.
  • Is available in standard, semi-dwarf and dwarf sizes. Our standard red delicious seedlings are budded onto whole rootstock; our semi-dwarf seedlings are grafted onto Malling-Merton III; and our dwarf seedlings are grafted onto Malling 7A, Malling 26.
  • Requires regular watering.
  • Has a chill hours (CU) requirement of 700–800. (Chill hours are the average hours of air temperature between 32° and 45° F in a typical winter season.)

Wildlife Value

Apples are eaten by a variety of birds and mammals. The leaves and branches are browsed. The trees can be destroyed by rodents and rabbits girdling the stem or trunk. The nectar and/or pollen provides nutrition for bees in early to late spring. Also, apple orchards are considered valuable habitat for wildlife.