Featured Bloom: Crabapple
Everywhere you go -- in the Arboretum and throughout the Twin Cities -- crabapple (Malus) trees are making themselves known with abundances of white and pink blooms. Our Crabapple Collection -- accessible from Three-Mile Drive and Three-Mile Walk -- is particularly awe-inspiring this time of year, with close to 400 individual plants and over 100 cultivars displaying a variety of blooms.
While we enjoy crabapple trees’ beautiful spring blooms and to a lesser extent the crabapples themselves, which ripen in the fall, crabapple trees provide a windfall for wildlife. They offer both shelter and a food source throughout the year, from the blooms that support pollinators in the spring to the fruit that offers sustenance to birds and small animals in the fall and winter.
Learn more about crabapples and discover our horticulturalists favorite crabapple cultivars for home and landscape use. Then visit our digital map to access a self-guided tour of six crabapple cultivars found throughout our collection.
What Else Is Blooming
Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata)
Also known as woodland Phlox, this species is native to Eastern North America and is most commonly found in woodland areas. When in bloom, this native perennial produces flowers ranging to tones of blue and lilac.
Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)
A mid-spring ephemeral, the large-flowered Trillium produces three large white petals sitting atop a single stem. As the flower matures and fades, rosy tones will appear in the petals. This plant is native to eastern North America.
Pearlbush (Exochorda serratifolia ‘Northern Pearls’)
A University of Minnesota selection, the ‘Northern Pearls’ pearlbush is the only hardy pearlbush in Minnesota. Blooming in early May, this shrub produces vibrant white flowers. This shrub also provides winter interest with its exfoliating bark.
Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)
A fan favorite of many gardeners, the bleeding heart is native to parts of eastern Asia. This perennial blooms in early May and produces pink, heart-shaped flowers along an arching stem. This plant is best suited for areas with shade.
Tulips have large flashy blooms that are culturally popular in countries like Denmark, often featuring in grand festivals of floral color.
Evergreen Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)
While short in stature, this is not a plant to pass by. When in bloom, the evergreen candytuft is so floriferous, you can hardly see the foliage underneath the flowers. Its smaller size makes it an excellent plant for border plantings and or in a rock garden.
Mountain Witchalder (Fothergilla major ‘Blue Shadow’)
Everyone loves a blue flower, but if you're a fan of blue foliage, this shrub should be an addition to your home garden. Emerging with green leaves in the spring, the leaves will quickly change to a beautiful, powdery blue throughout the rest of the growing season. The foliage show continues in the fall with the leaves changing to shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Dwarf Bearded Iris (Iris)
Irises come in all sizes, colors and varieties ranging from tall bearded oranges and blues to slender white and purple irises. The Dwarf Bearded Irises are just begging to bloom.
Grape (Vitis ‘Edelweiss’)
Introduced in 1977 by the University of Minnesota and Elmer Swenson, this cold-hardy grape is best known for its use in wine and as a table grape. When in bloom, this plant produces small white flowers along woody, vining stems that will eventually turn into grapes.
Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum)
You’ll certainly know when you walk past the clove currant, as its fragrance permeates the air in a several-foot radius from the plant. The small shrub produces vibrant, small yellow flowers that turn into edible fruits.
Our crabapple collection is home to 350+ individual specimens that begin blooming in early May. They bloom in shades of white, pink, and red. Due to the delicate nature of the flowers, a sudden heatwave can wither the flowers quickly. Make sure to stop by the collection to see the show before it’s gone!
Moss Phlox (Phlox subulata)
Noted for its creeping habit, Moss Phlox can quickly turn into lush carpets. The flowers most often range in color from pink to purple to white.
Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
While not the most eye-popping of all spring blooms, redbuds are a bright pink sign that warmth and color are on the way.
Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)
These dainty, pendulous flowers are often confused for Snowdrops. This plant works well planted in mass with other spring bulbs, especially those that bloom in late spring.
Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)
A native plant to North America, this herbaceous perennial blooms in spring and creates a blanket for yellow flowers in moist woodland settings. If planted in a home garden, make sure to plant in a space where it can receive plentiful sun in spring, but be provided shade in the summer.
Large-flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora)
Blooming in spring, this Minnesota native can easily be spotted in its woodland habitat due to the pendulous shape and yellow flowers. This plant will work best in a garden that offers plenty of shade.
Updated May 11, 2021