Malus 'John Downie' Tree

Flowering Crab Apple Trees
  • £49.99 (VAT Free)

This tree is one of the very best Malus varieties for crab apple jelly due to the size, flavour and pectin level of its fruit. John Downie produces a mass of large, plum-like, red and yellow flushed apples that mature early but last well into the winter. In April-May, a blanket of white flowers open from pink buds which are very popular amongst bees, making it a useful pollinator for apple trees. Foliage is mid-green with good autumn colour in fiery shades of yellow, bronze and orange.

This small tree has an upright habit when young and arches in maturity, reaching an estimated height and spread of 5 x 3 metres in 20 years. This Flowering Crab Apple, as it’s more commonly known, is suited to most conditions but thrives in moist, well-drained soil. A really beautiful tree that is deservedly popular.

This variety has large crab apples ideal for culinary use, so is sold with zero VAT.

AKA Crab apple, Flowering crab, Flowering crab apple, crabapple, Malus John Downie

  • Common name: Flowering Crab Apple tree
  • Height and spread in 20 years: 5 x 3 metres
  • Seasons of interest: Spring, Autumn, Winter
  • Foliage: Mid-green foliage is spring, turning yellow and orange in the autumn. Offers white blossom in the spring and large red and yellow fruits in autumn
  • Soil: Suited to all but grows particularly well in moist, well-drained soil

Planting Advice for Malus John Downie

Our pot grown Crab Apple John Downie trees can be planted at any time of the year. Prepare your planting site by removing all weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole then dig a square hole as deep as your root mass and approximately 2-3x as wide. To help your Crab Apple establish more effectively, we advise applying root grow by sprinkling in the hole.

Gently loosen the tree roots and place into the planting hole. Using 50% of the original soil and 50% compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Make sure not to bank the soil up around the collar of the tree as this can cause problems. To see how to use a tree stake and tie, watch our informational how to videos.

Aftercare Advice for Malus John Downie

If you’re planting in spring or summer, water well and regularly for the first few months. Make sure to keep an eye on young Crab Apple trees and increase watering if there are extended periods of warm or dry weather. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water your tree a little. We stock a range of irrigation kits, suitable for a variety of planting schemes.

Once planted, keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons. If you know your area is prone to rabbits, we would advise using a rabbit guard.

Pruning Malus John Downie

Flowering 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.

Delivery Timescales

Most deliveries are made within a week of placing the order. All trees are carefully packed by our experienced team, with many despatched to our tried and tested couriers within 24 hours (please allow up to 10 days). There's no need to be in to receive your trees and you can request where they are left via the checkout.

There is a slightly longer timescale on pleached and mature trees (trees over 2.5m in height) because we group orders together by geographic area for specialist delivery - we will contact these customers to notify them of the delivery date and whether the delivery driver needs assistance.

Gift trees and those required by a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure, although we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.

Our nursery is a busy despatch centre, so please make an appointment to collect or view trees.  For collections, despatch charges will be refunded.

Delivery Costs

1 small tree (most trees with a height under 1.5 metres) : £7.95 + vat

1 medium tree (most trees 1.5-2 metres in height) or 2-4 small trees: £9.95 + vat

2+ medium trees or 5+ small trees: £12.95 + vat

1-4 large trees (trees too large to fit in a box): £19.95 + vat

Mature, pleached or 5+ large trees: Cost is calculated in the checkout process and varies by postcode. You can buy additional trees with no increase in delivery cost.

The above prices exclude the Scottish Highlands, where delivery starts from £24.95 + vat and is calculated in the checkout process.

Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Non Mainland UK

Our courier charges are not viable for just one or two trees, but if you have a larger requirement then please do speak to us to see if we can find a solution.

Below are definitions of various forms, which refer to the shape of the tree defined by the pruning it has received. For more advice, please contact us.

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.

Multi Stem: A multi stem tree is has two or more stems arising from or near ground level, growing from one root system. Take care to buy a true multi-stem like all ours and not those that are 3 saplings in a pot to cheaply imitate them.

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.

Bush: A plant with many stems low down, rather than one clear stem.

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 branch), which supports a branched 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

The product table below gives the sizes and forms offered for this variety, along with photos you can enlarge (these are only a guideline as all plants are unique so vary slightly).

Plant Specification Form Supplied Size Root typePrice Quantity Qty
Malus 'John Downie' Tree Form: Pruned & Shaped Tree Supplied Size: 150-200cm Root type: 10L pot Malus 'John Downie' Tree Price £49.99 (VAT Free)
Pruned & Shaped Tree 150-200cm 10L pot £49.99 (VAT Free)
Total: £0.00 (VAT Free)