Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Flowering Crabapple
Malus 'Prairie Fire'

Family: Rosaceae (ro-ZAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Malus (MAY-lus) (Info)
Cultivar: Prairie Fire
Additional cultivar information: (aka Prairiefire)
Hybridized by D. Dayton; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1982

» View all varieties of Apples

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Bloom Time:
Mid season flowering

Unknown - Tell us

Rootstock Vigor:
Unknown - Tell us

Bearing Habit:
Unknown - Tell us

Disease Resistance:
Resistant to Apple Scab
Resistant to Apple Powdery Mildew
Resistant to Cedar-Apple Rust
Resistant to Fireblight

Fruit Usage:

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
By grafting
By budding

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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9 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive glfbama On May 14, 2013, glfbama from Albany, OR wrote:

I have had this crabapple for close to ten years. It's done quite well with very little care or supplemental water in a fairly dry soil in full sun.

The tree is stunning in the spring, when it's a solid cloud of fuschia. (Unfortunately, I'm less fond of the color than I used to be.) I actually prefer the blue-green foliage with red veining to the flowers.

My favorite part of this tree is the tiny crabapples. They're abundant, and look like little dangly ear rings on the tree. The crabapples are small enough that they disappear when they're on the ground, and don't make a mess.

The birds don't touch them much until the weather turns frigid. Then the crabapples are gone in a day!

The main negative is that the tree suckers like crazy, even though I planted it at the correct depth. Also, the tree has a very drooping habit, which is not particularly attractive to me.

Neutral heckabore On May 13, 2013, heckabore from Walnut Creek, CA wrote:

I had three of these trees in my garden and had to remove one because it was so badly harmed by scale insects. A second tree gets scale every year no matter what I do, but it is still vigorous and large enough that it does OK. The third tree does not give me any problems. These are such beautiful trees, though, even out of bloom, that I cannot rate it a Negative. The dark reddish brown bark and deep green leaves are a wonderful contrast with the fuschia flowers and the deep, deep, deep, red crabapples. It's just a much fussier plant than anything else in my garden. Oh, and the deer like it, too.

Positive Plantnutoo On May 13, 2013, Plantnutoo from Manteo, NC wrote:

Ihave had Prairie Fire for fifteen years on Roanoke Island North Carolina .I t has done well every year Seedlings of couse are not Prairie Fire .They have the same leaf color .I have not tried growing any to see how they behave. I have no other crabapple,so they should be selfs.
If anyone has other crabs that are as tough ,you could possibly have good seedlings

Positive GrinnellinVT On May 13, 2013, GrinnellinVT from Middlebury, VT wrote:

When we lived in central Wisconsin (54971), we had a garden bed adjacent to our house that apparently hosted verticilium wilt. After a Nanking cherry tree and a redbud tree both died there, we planted the Prairie Fire crabapple. It has been thriving for 10+ years.

Positive MDcedarleaf On May 13, 2013, MDcedarleaf from Washington Grove, MD wrote:

Prairiefire is one of my all-time favorite trees. I first planted it in a city-sized front yard in Boston, where I knew it will just squeak under power lines at maturity, but it is an elegant and rewarding planting at any age. Purple-tinged, beautifully lenticilled bark, dark red fruit, a lovely habit, fast growing and not overly prone to breakage...not to mention the gorgeous cloud of blooms in Spring. It seems to bear more heavily every other year. Wonderful tree - choose it over the weaker pears and more common (though admittedly gorgeous) cherries; you won't regret it.

Positive zepher13 On Jan 21, 2013, zepher13 from Thornton, CO wrote:

I have 3 of these planted on the west side of my property on the northeastern plains/edge of foothills of Rocky Mountains in Colorado. They have survived and thrived very well and have beautifully made interest and food for birds, bees, and butterflies

Positive jazzy1okc On Jan 21, 2013, jazzy1okc from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

Having worked for several years in a nursery that sells this variety, and having watched other varieties succumb to every nasty disease that crab apple trees are heir to, I can assure you that, in OKC, this is the most disease resistant variety I have ever seen. The all season interest makes it just about perfect.

Positive coppelia On Oct 10, 2011, coppelia from Redmond, WA wrote:

Beautiful tree for the Pacific Northwest and very resistant to disease. The mild wet winters and spring here encourage black spot and other related problems for many varieties, but this one comes through like a champ!

Positive jjh422d On Sep 21, 2010, jjh422d from South Windsor, CT (Zone 6a) wrote:

I first saw this tree in a gardening magazine that was featuring some of the finer crabapples available. I was fortunate to find one at a local nursery near the end of that summer a few years ago. The tree looked tired from sitting in a pot all season, but was on sale, so I took a chance.

And boy was it worth it. The tree is stunningly beautiful when in flower and very attractive in all 4 seasons. The small cranberry colored crabapples stay on the tree well into the winter and provide food for the birds.

In my Connecticut yard, the tree has been pest free and maintenance free.

Positive ospreyhome On Aug 10, 2008, ospreyhome from Chiloquin, OR wrote:

I live in zone 4/5 and am finding this is a somewhat slower grower than some other trees, however, it is thriving considering our short growing season. I believe it is considered a wonderful tree not only because it has four seasons of interest but has very good to excellent disease resistance to all major apple diseases. There are other beautiful crabapples but they have poor disease resistance.

Neutral Meig On Jul 13, 2007, Meig from Far Northwest 'burbs, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I don't see why this cultivar is supposed to be so fantastic. It is pretty in the spring but I think "Profusion" is much more beautiful.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Walnut Creek, California
South Windsor, Connecticut
Rathdrum, Idaho
Bradley, Illinois
Spring Grove, Illinois
Dawson, Iowa
Fort Dodge, Iowa
Urbandale, Iowa
Andover, Kansas
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Alfred, Maine
Gobles, Michigan
Mattawan, Michigan
Stephenson, Michigan
Tecumseh, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Whitmore Lake, Michigan
Kearney, Nebraska
Clyde, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Enid, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (2 reports)
Albany, Oregon
Chiloquin, Oregon
Tremonton, Utah
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Ames Lake, Washington
Stanwood, Washington

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