Thursday 11 May 2017

More about Malus x purpurea ‘Crimson Cascade’

To be launched at Chelsea this year
Sequel to last month's post

The very first Malus ‘Crimson Cascade' pictured in Alan’s garden last week

It will be soon drawing the crowds

The large flowers have very intense colour
This week Alan invited me over to look at his tree. Held back by the recent cold windy weather it was now in magnificent full flower. Last year Alan had collected a second tranche of graft-wood for Hilliers and carefully left some thin hanging shoots. With a year of new strong growth it looked very  lovely. With lots of interest from Chelsea it is too good an opportunity to not show more pictures and tell you some more!

Alan’s tree is a more compact three metres than the height to which it s clearly capable with appropriate training. It’s really ideal for the average size garden.

It fits very well  into a small garden
Over the last two years Alan has raised some more young plants from pips collected from ‘Crimson Cascade’. The clear strong colour comes through in the lovely wine red foliage. The eventual flowers will surely be red. Alan confirms my observation that even the young wood is stained red. This is also true of  ‘Crimson Cascade’ itself and it’s own mother Malus aldenhamensis  The strong similarity in flowers, young wood and foliage partially confirms my opinion that  ‘Crimson Cascade’ is from a self pollinated flower on Malus aldenhamensis. 

Seedlings from the actual Crimson Cascade in Alan’s greenhouse

He has given me one
Of course Alan’s new seedlings are most unlikely to share Crimson Cascade’s unique characteristics - but one one can still dream. None of Alan’s new seedlings appear to be pendulous!

Growing next to the mother Malus aldenhamensis I do not think this is the father  
For a contrary opinion about self pollination, right next to Crimson Cascade’s mother tree is a pretty pink potential father that Alan’s son raised from seed from a street tree. Clearly Alan has followed in his son’s footsteps! (Readers will recall that contrary to eating apples many crab apples do not need to be cross pollinated for reasons of compatibility)

Alan’s seedlings from last year grown-on in his garden. Note the effect of recent drought on his heavy clay undug and very fertile soil

Alan collected seed from Malus aldenhamensis - not this actual specimen

Origin of Malus aldenhamensis  (The 'mother' of Crimson Cascade’)
It is more correctly called Malus x purpurea ‘Aldenhamensis’ written here in the old botanical notation. Malus x purpurea was a popular ornamental apple at the beginning of the last century and there were several varieties. Malus x ’purpurea’ is claimed as an original hybrid between Malus niedzwetzkyana and Malus x atrosanguinea 
I recently stumbled on the story of the breeding of Malus aldenhamensis. It was actually a chance seedling in the garden of a then well known breeder who lived in Aldenham. A well connected wealthy plants-lady (Emily Dutton), a friend of the breeder (Vicary Gibbs) took plants back to The Arnold Arboretum very early on after it’s discovery in 1924 and it proved to be very popular over the pond.. I am confident that Malus ‘Crimson Cascade’ itself will be loved in America soon.

The very first Malus ‘Crimson Cascade’ at its magnificent best
Last month's post about Crimson Cascade
Source of information about Malus aldenhamensis
Hillier's announcement


  1. I do like the look of Crimson Cascade.I have just added a couple of apple trees to our patio area. I planted them in very large tubs M26 root stock. I am possibly being a bit optimistic but will enjoy the challenge.

    1. I seem to remember M26 is extremely dwarfing. Just right! As you know I would use soil for large tubs but of course potting compost is ok


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