Spring 2024 - end of seasonWe have finished taking orders for this season. You will be able to pre-order for next season from June onwards and shipping begins again in Spring 2025.
Orange Pippin Trees USA logoSpecialist fruit trees for your orchard or back-yard

Lady apple tree

Lady (Api)
Lady is listed in the RHS Plants for Pollinators
  • Picking season: Late
  • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile
  • Pollination group: 3

Lady Apple, or Api, is a small apple with a strong pleasant aroma and rich aromatic flavor.

Throughout its history Lady Apple has been associated as much with decoration and adornment as with the normal eating and cooking uses of apples. There are records of it being used to freshen or mask unpleasant odours, and even as a pattern for refined ladies to powder their noses. Victorian author Robert Hogg quotes a contemporary calling it "Une pomme des damoiselles et de bonne compagnie" - an apple for ladies and good company.

The tree is a heavy cropper and branches laden with apples can be used as wreaths.

Lady apple trees for sale

You can pre-order for spring 2025

  • Semi-dwarf 1-year bare-root tree $37.95
    Mature height: 8ft-12ft after 10 years
    Semi-dwarf rootstock
    Out of stock

How to grow

Lady Apple is a small tree, but it bears heavily. The combination of weak vigor and heavy-cropping is a recipe for biennial bearing - fruiting only in alternate years. If you notice this tendency developing try to thin the fruitlets heavily in the "on" year to reduce the crop, which will prevent the tree exhausting itself and ensure a crop the following year.

Advice on fruit tree pollination.

History

Although often known as Lady Apple in North America, this variety originated in France, where it is called Api, and where several related varieties are also known.

It is clear that Api is a very old apple. Some authorities have speculated that Api is a variety known in Roman times as Appius or Appia. However both the Victorian pomologist Robert Hogg and Joan Morgan in her New Book of Apples question this.

More certain records suggest that Api is a seedling variety originating from the Forest of Api in Bretagne in western France some time before the early 17th century. It soon became popular in France, England, and the United States - and according to Hogg large quantities were imported from the United States back to England in Victorian times under the name Lady Apple.

 

Lady characteristics

  • Gardening skillAverage
  • Self-fertilityNot self-fertile
  • Pollination group3
  • Pollinating othersAverage
  • Picking seasonLate
  • UsesEating freshJuiceHard cider
  • Keeping (of fruit)1-2 months
  • General resistanceAverage
  • ScabSome susceptibility
  • Cold hardiness (USDA)Zone 4 (-34C)
  • Summer maximum temperaturesCool ( 20-24C / 68-75F)Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
  • Country of originFrance
  • Period of origin1600 - 1649
  • Fruit colorOrange / Red