Crabapple vs. Dogwood: Differences and Similarities

Crabapple and dogwood are two beautiful trees. They are famous for making an aesthetic addition to landscapes. If you are looking for decorative plants Crabapple and dogwood can be great choice. If you can’t decide between these two, this article is for you.

Here is all you need to know about crabapple vs. dogwood

Crabapple: at a Glance

Crabapples are ornamental trees with white, pink, or red colored flowers. The fruit is edible for humans but usually serves as food for wildlife and birds. The bark of Crabapple is textured, and the size of the tree is small.

Crabapple produces small fruits that are not preferably eaten raw. However, their sour taste makes them a great choice for cider. Crabapple trees usually have a life span of 30 to 70 years.

One of the differentiating traits of the crabapple is its bark. The bark is textured, which helps it stand out among other varieties. The color of the flowers can be white, pink, or red.

Though you can use the fruit in several ways, the plant is primarily used for decorative purposes. Also, the plant’s fruits serve as delicious food for birds and animals.

If you plan to grow crabapple in your garden, keep in mind that the plant can get messy. The fruits can stain the surfaces when they drop, so you must clean them regularly.

Dogwood: at a Glance

The dogwood plant also has white, pink, or red flowers and is primarily used for decorative purposes. Though the plant also possesses berries, they are not a great attraction as they mostly become the food of wild animals and birds.

You can see the flowers in full bloom during late spring. So, when spring is about to end and the flowers are fading, dogwood can provide your garden with the much-needed splash of colors. Compared to crabapple trees, they have a longer life span, about 80 years.

The decorative purposes of the dogwood are not only fulfilled by its colorful flowers, but also by its bark and foliage. The overall tree is beautiful. The most reason why people plant dogwood tree is its decorative nature which helps enhance the landscape.

How to Distinguish Crabapple from Dogwood?

Crabapple plant has a pleasant fragrance, while dogwood has a not-so-pleasant odor. The dogwood tree is larger in size compared to the small crabapple tree that can be grown in small gardens.

As far as the appearance and the physical traits of the plants are concerned, the crabapple tree is famous for its fragrance, and colorful fruits. On the other hand, the dogwood tree is known for its amazingly beautiful flower and foliage.

Another difference you should keep in mind while deciding between these two plants is their size. While crabapple is a small tree and grows well in small gardens, dogwood is a large tree and doesn’t grow well in confined spaces.

What are the Similarities Between Crabapple and Dogwood?

The range of flower colors, beautiful foliage, flowers, the demand for moist and slightly acidic soil for optimum growth, and decorative traits are some similarities between crabapple and dogwood plants.

Flower Color: The color of the flower is the same for both plants. Though both the plants, crabapple, and dogwood, produce flowers of different colors, the range of the colors is pretty same; pink, white, and red.

Beautiful Fall Foliage: Both the plants, crabapple, and dogwood, are known for the beautiful fall foliage they produce. The fall colors of these plants add to the beauty of the palace where they are grown. If you are looking for options to enhance the beauty of the landscape, both these plants are great choices.

Destiny of the Fruit: The destiny of the fruit is the same for crabapple and dogwood. Wild animals and birds eat the fruit. Though the fruit of crabapple is edible for humans, people don’t eat it raw because of its sour taste.

Soil Requirements: Both trees require slightly acidic and moist soil for optimum growth. If you are not sure about the pH of your soil, I advise opting for a pH test prior to planting these trees.

Even if the pH of your soil is on the higher side you can make it acidic by using soil acidifiers. You can buy Down to Earth All Natural Acid Mix Fertilizer by clicking on this link here.

What are the Differences Between Crabapple and Dogwood?

The major differences between the crabapple and dogwood trees include the sunlight requirement and size. Crabapple trees are smaller in size and require direct sunlight, while dogwood is a larger and shade-loving plant,

Sunlight Requirements: Both plants vary in their sunlight requirements. On one side crabapple plants are sun-loving plants, dogwood is a shade-loving plant.

Crabapple requires at least 6 hours of direct daily sunlight. On the other hand, dogwood thrives in partial shade, which means a maximum of 3 hours of sunlight will be enough. Also, make sure you are not planting the dogwood tree in direct sunlight.

Size of the Plant: The size of the plant is also a major difference between these two trees. Crabapple is smaller in size and can easily grow in your small garden. However, dogwood grows to become a large tree, and a confined space can restrict its growth.

Crabapple: Pros and Cons


  • Attractive appearance
  • Perfect addition to the landscape
  • Efficient growth rate
  • Attracts pollinators
  • Pleasant fragrance
  • Withstand harsher conditions


  • Crabapple fruit stains the surface when they fall
  • Can develop secondary suckers
  • Regular pruning and maintenance are required

Dogwood: Pros and Cons


  • Beautiful flowers and foliage
  • Effortless growth
  • Don’t take much space
  • Don’t need much maintenance


  • Poisonous blossoms
  • Unpleasant odor
  • Need maintenance
  • Sensitive to transplant

Crabapple vs. Dogwood. Which Tree is Better to Plant?

Dogwood plant is a great option as it fulfills the decorative purpose and doesn’t result in stains or mess, as created by the crabapple plant.

Though both, crabapple and dogwood, have their own positive and negative characteristics, what suits you the best depends on what you are looking for. For example, if you want a decorative plant with edible fruit and can take care of your garden, crabapple is a great option for you.

However, dogwood is a great option if you are not particularly concerned with fruit and looking for a low-maintenance plant.

As far as appearance is concerned, both trees are strikingly beautiful. So, you don’t need to worry about which tree will look better.

What Trees are Similar to Crabapple and Dogwood?

Redbud, Crape myrtle, Saucer magnolia, Fringe tree, golden chain tree, Carolina silver ball, Hawthorne, Japanese maple, Serviceberry, Mountain stewartia, Snowbell, Japanese tree lilac, Chaste tree, and Powderpuff are some great options if you are looking for beautiful plants similar to crabapple and dogwood.


What plant you choose greatly depends on your personal preferences and the size of your garden. If you have limited space, crabapple is your only option, as dogwood requires more space.

The soil and nutrient requirements of both these plants are almost similar. Other than that, both need pruning and maintenance. However, crabapple might require you to clean the area more often as its fruit leaves stains on the surface when they fall.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you tell the difference between a crab tree and an apple tree?

The main difference between the crabapple and the apple tree is the size of the fruit. The size of the crabapple fruit is smaller than the apple tree’s fruit. The crabapple fruit is as small as half the size of an apple tree’s fruit.

What plants are similar to crabapple?

Usually, people confuse crabapple with wild plums and Hawthorne. Plants from both families produce edible fruits, so the confusion doesn’t lead to any severe outcomes.

Does dogwood attract insects?

Yes, dogwood attracts pollinators and is considered beneficial for other plants in its vicinity. The flowers blooming during the spring seasons produce nectar that attracts bees and other pollinators.

Is dogwood low maintenance?

Though the dogwood plant needs pruning and some basic maintenance, it can thrive with little attention if all the optimum conditions are fulfilled. As long as you are fulfilling the plant’s nutrient, water, and sunlight requirements, you can expect it to grow efficiently.