Malus hupehensis or Tea Crab Apple is one of the most prolific flowering crab apple trees and renowned for its cloak of immaculate white blossoms that cover the tree from top to tail in spring. When the cloud of blossom finally departs, you are left with attractive, dark-green foliage, before a mass of small, red crab apples appear in autumn. These crab apples will usually hang on until the winter, providing a vital source of food for wildlife.
Originating in China where the leaves were brewed to make tea, this Chinese Crab Apple is a popular ornamental tree in the UK that holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit. With a rounded upright shape that broadens with age, Malus hupehensis will grow to 5 x 4 metres in 20 years and is suited to smaller gardens. It prefers a moist but well-drained site in full sun or partial shade.
This variety has large crab apples ideal for culinary use, so is sold with zero VAT.
AKA Chinese Crab apple, Tea Crab apple, Hupeh Crab apple, Hupei Crab apple, Hupeh crab, Malus theifera
Tea Crab Apple trees prefer a location in full sun or partial shade.
Our pot grown Tea Crab Apples can be planted at any time of the year. Remove weeds and grass in the surrounding area so the tree will not be competing for nutrients. Dig a square hole as deep as the root mass and about twice as wide. To help the tree establish, sprinkle root grow in the hole. Remove the pot, gently loosen the roots and place in the planting hole.
Mix 50% of the original soil with 50% compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Avoid banking the soil up around the collar of the tree. We recommend planting Tea Crab Apple trees with a stake and tie kit to anchor the roots - instructions are in the planting guide.
For spring and summer planting of Hupeh Crab Apple, water the tree well for the first few months. Increase watering in periods of hot or dry weather. If planting in autumn, you may only need to water a little. Watering kits make it easier.
Once planted, keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons. If your area is prone to rabbits, use a rabbit guard. You can harvest the Crab Apples in early autumn or leave them for birds to enjoy.
Tea Crab Apple trees can be pruned in winter. They do not require hard pruning and you should not trim the tips of crab apple branches. Simply remove any dead or damaged branches and shoots at the base of the tree i.e. suckers and water sprouts which redirect energy resources from the main stem but do not produce strong branches.
1 small tree (most under 1.5 metres in height) : £9.95 + vat
1 medium tree (most 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £11.95 + vat
2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £14.95 + vat
1-4 trees delivered by pallet to kerbside (inc. mature Japanese Maples): 24.95 + vat
Mature trees, pleached trees or orders too large for pallet: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode not quantity. Starts from £48 + vat.
The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process. Please note, we are unable to deliver outside of Mainland UK.
All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team and most are delivered within 3 weeks of placing the order, unless stated otherwise. There's no need to be in to receive your order and you can request where it is left via the checkout.
For pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height), we group orders together by geographic area for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers about the delivery date.
Trees on pre-order are still growing and an estimate of when they will be ready is on the product/basket page. Orders are despatched once all trees are ready.
Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.
To collect trees, please book an appointment. Delivery charges will be refunded.
The product table at the bottom of the page gives the forms and sizes available for this variety. Please note, photos are a guideline as all plants are unique. *Pot sizes may vary. Below are definitions of terms:
Supplied Size: Height measured from the top of the pot.
Single Stem / Pruned and shaped: Classic shaped tree with a single stem that has had pruning to help create a beautiful, natural shape.
Top grafted: A height noted next to this form refers to the length of clear stem, which will not grow taller. Only the head of branches will develop. Top grafted trees do not require complicated pruning and are ideal for small spaces.
Feathered: A feathered tree has branches from the bottom of the trunk all the way up. These branches can be removed if a clear stem is required.
Multi Stem: A multi stem tree has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system.
Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.
Clump: Several plants in one pot that can give the appearance of a multi stemmed and very bushy tree.
Climber: A plant that is a natural climber and will be delivered usually running up a bamboo cane, ready to position in the garden.
Standard Tree: A more mature tree with an upright clear stem of approximately 1.8m-2.0m (measured from the soil to the lowest branches of the crown). Standards are available in different forms relating to their girth size (circumference of the stem measured 1m above soil level), not height:
Standard either 6-10cm or 8-10cm girth, approximately 2.5-3.0m in height
Premium Standard 10-12cm girth, approximately 3.0-3.5m in height
Heavy Standard 12-14cm girth, approximately 3.5-4.5m in height
Extra Heavy Standard 14-16cm girth approximately 4.0-6m in height