Growing centennial crabapple in pot


I bought a centennial crab apple from raintree nursery. It will arrive in spring. Has anyone grown it? I am thinking of growing it in a pot on my front deck. I was wondering if anyone has grown it in a pot. If a pot is a bad idea, I will try to find a spot somewhere else.

what rootstock?

Mm106 according to raintree

Caveat: I don’t really know the answer for sure. This is extrapolation from what I do know, having grown Centennial for a few years in the ground both on G.41 (dwarfing) and MM.111 (semi-dwarfing) . . . .

If you had said any dwarfing rootstock, I might have thought, “OK, that should work.” Centennial tends to be somewhat dwarfing itself, I believe. So as an inherently dwarfish variety, Centennial on dwarfing rootstock might be OK in a large (e.g, 25 g) pot.

MM.106 is semi-dwarf, which would probably result in a tree that overgrows any pot. I think. But it might still be OK if the pot is large and the top is pruned well.

FWIW, I removed the tree on G.41 because it just couldn’t keep up with other 23 dwarf varieties on the same or similar roots. I’m keeping the tree on MM.111 despite the fact that it is the “runt of the litter” among my 15 semi-dwarfs because the fruit is (1) beautiful, (2) tasty, and (3) bite-sized. My granddaughters love it.


Thank you so much much for the detailed response! It is good to know centennial is tasty!

I have never grown a crab apple before, so I am excited for this one. I think I will plant it in the ground.

I had three Hewes Crabs from Raintree Nursery trees on EMLA 106, and they grew very quickly in large pots. The MM-106 is a recommended rootstock for Montana’s short season, cold climate, and I moved the growing potted trees into the shed to protect from freezing the first year. The second year, they were too large to bring inside, so I dug a trench and covered the pots in the trench with hay. After two seasons of growing in the pots, I transplanted them to my daughter’s property (in the ground) where the deer promptly removed most of the grafts I had added to the branches, and chewed them back (no fencing, even though I had warned them!). Anyway, two survived the deer feeding on the branches all summer, and they’re still alive to feed the deer again another year, I suppose, unless they finally put up some fencing around the poor trees. Those Hewes Crabs wanted to give me apples in just the second season, while still in the pots, but I picked off the blossoms. So, Yeah, EMLA 106 from Raintree was a great choice for me. I suspect the Centennial would be very similar in hardiness and vigorous growth on that rootstock, as compared to other rootstock. But what do I know?! I am just making it up each year, as I go.

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Centennial is reputed to be a genetic dwarf, if on its own roots.
Mine is on M26… planted around 1996. Has been 8-10 ft tall for as long as I can remember (though I KNOW it was just a whip when I planted it). Only pruning it ever gets is collecting scionwood for folks who ask for it.
I can certainly see it being manageable in a large pot on a dwarfing rootstock, though it wouldn’t likely last long with me in charge of caring for it. ;>)

M106… IDK. Only trees we had here on 106 are long gone, because they were either mis-labeled &/or not worth keeping (who needs Early Harvest if you already have Lodi… two early varieties with a 15-minute window of opportunity before they go mealy)

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Among crabs, Chestnut is also very tasty but not as pretty. Puget Spice is also very good, living up to its name. Both are very prolific. Except for some very astringent cider apples, those are the only crabs I’ve grown.