Lousia CrabappleMalus ‘Louisa’
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The Lousia Crabapple is a small tree with weeping branches, that can be trained to 10 feet or more tall, or grown as a smaller cascading tree on a slope or over a wall. In spring the bare branches are smothered with beautiful blossoms, which are light pink, opening from dark-pink buds – they make a lovely contrast. In fall and early winter the bare tree is covered with clusters of small crabapples that are golden yellow, flushed on one side with rosy-red. The fall leaves are yellow and orange. This tree is ideal for spring flowers in a smaller space and in cooler zones.
The Lousia Crabapple is hardy in zone 4, and it grows in most climates, enjoying cooler parts of the country. It will grow in any well-drained soil, and it is reliable and easy to grow, with very little attention needed. It is very resistant to leaf diseases and rarely bothered by significant pests. Once established it is resistant to ordinary summer dry periods, and it needs no special pruning. Use a permanent strong stake to support a central stem if you want a tall tree with cascading side branches.
Weeping trees are always wonderful additions to your garden. Their cascading branches contrast so perfectly with the normal upright or rounded form of other trees, making a striking contrast. They add a touch of delicacy and charm to your planting that no other tree can do, but many are too large for most gardens, and very few have all the attractions of the Lousia Crabapple tree. Its weeping form can be developed in different ways, and it is cold-hardy, so it’s ideal where other trees won’t survive. The profusion of blooms – light-pink set against dark-pink buds – is unbelievably beautiful, and these are followed in fall and winter by clusters of delightful cherry-sized crabapples that are warm yellow blushed with red. The leaves turn attractive shades of orange and yellow as well, so there are three distinct seasonal highpoints. Easy to grow and very disease resistant, the Lousia Crabapple will make you weep with joy.
The Lousia Crabapple is a small weeping tree whose form and size is partly in your control. It might typically make a small tree around 10 feet tall, with a similar spread. It doesn’t have a natural central stem, so it is best to stake it to the height you want, using a strong permanent stake. Left un-staked it will form a broad cascading bush, with stems even spreading along the ground, which can be ideal for planting on a bank, or at the top of a wall. The long stems are smooth, glossy, and chestnut-brown when young, maturing to a rougher gray-brown. The oval leaves have serrated edges and they taper to a short point. They are deep green and glossy, so always attractive, and in fall they turn light yellow, flushed with orange, making a delicate but eye-catching display.
Flowers develop even on young trees, and they come in spring, just before the leaves. The early blooming is on bare branches, with the leaves uncurling as the flowers mature and the petals drop. Clusters of buds develop all along the stems, and the buds are deep reddish-pink, on short stems. The flowers are about 1½ inches across, with 5 spreading petals of a beautiful light pink. The contrast against the darker buds and the light-colored flowers is very beautiful. Through summer, hidden among the leaves, the flowers transform into clusters of hanging fruit. They become conspicuous a little before the leaves color, turning lemon-yellow and gold, flushed with deep-pink cheeks. They are small – about ½ inch across – but abundant, making a lovely display that lasts into winter, before birds eventually take the fruit. It can also be harvested and made into delicious jelly.
With its smaller size, the Lousia Crabapple is ideal for smaller gardens and urban homes. It’s a wonderful way to add variety and interest to your garden, and it can be grown in several different ways. Use a strong, permanent stake to create a central stem with cascading branches, as tall as you want to go. Plant it on a lawn, in a shrub bed, or among the bushes around your home. Use it in an Asian-style garden in cooler zones as a substitute for Japanese flowering cherries. Leave it un-staked to flow down a bank or spill over a large wall. It can also be grown as an espalier, spread out on a sunny wall, where it will take up almost no room at all. It could even be grown for many years as a specimen in a large pot or planter.
The Lousia Crabapple tree is very cold-resistant, growing and blooming well in zone 4. It is also reliable across a large part of the country, growing into zone 8.
For the best results, plant your Lousia Crabapple tree in full sun. It grows well in almost any kind of soil, as long as it isn’t wet and boggy. Richer, moist but well-drained soils give the best results, but this tree is very easy to grow, and it doesn’t need special attention. Once established it is resistant to ordinary periods of summer drought.
This tree is one of the most disease-resistant varieties of crabapple, and it doesn’t suffer from the leaf spots and scabs that bother so many others. It is generally free of pests, making it a great choice for a low-maintenance garden. Like other crabapple trees, it doesn’t need special or detailed pruning. When staking, use loose ties to avoid cutting into the stems. When branches reach the ground they can be trimmed back as needed. If you want to trim or shape your tree, do it in summer, during periods of dry weather, to reduce the risk of spreading diseases.
Crabapples are related to eating apples, and they are all members of the group Malus. Most are hybrids developed over years in various ways, so we rarely know their exact parentage. The variety called Louisa was a unique seedling introduced by Polly Hill in 1987. Polly Hill was a well-known figure in the American gardening world. She lived to be 100 years old, and it was only when she was 50, at her family farm in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, that she began what would become a world-famous arboretum. With no formal training, she planted seeds from around the world, and selected unique forms to give names to. Today her property is the Polly Hill Arboretum. She named this crabapple after her daughter, Louisa Spotswood.
Widely considered to be one of the best weeping crabapple trees, for both its beauty and disease resistance, you will love growing the Lousia Crabapple in your garden. Unique trees like this are often hard to source, but why grow something everyone has when you can have a superior and more unique variety in your garden? Order now, though, as we only have a few trees available, and they will sell out fast.