The Complete Guide for Red Delicious Apple (Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’) Care

The Red Delicious Apple, otherwise known as the Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ or Apple ‘Red Delicious’, Red Delicious Apple, Malus ‘Red Delicious’, is a rather well known tree plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its high maintenance and moderate growth, this tree will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Red Delicious Apple is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Red Delicious Apple Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Red Delicious Apple are the following:

  • Water: The Red Delicious Apple needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Red Delicious Apple in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Red Delicious Apple will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Red Delicious Apple fruits

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Red Delicious Apple belongs to the Rosaceae family, the genus Malus and the species Domestica, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’.

Other common Rosaceae species include Taiwan Firethorn ‘Santa Cruz’, Double Yellow banksia Rose, Solidago ‘Crown Of Rays’, Callery Pear ‘Bradford’, Sour Cherry ‘Meteor’, Golden Delicious Apple, Cotinus Coggygria ‘Lilla’, Malus ‘Braeburn’, Malus Domestica, Flowering Quince, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’, Potentilla Fruticosa ‘Gold Star’, Burbank Japanese Plum, Prunus Cerasifera ‘Thundercloud’, Yoshino Cherry Akebono, Floribunda rose ‘Golden Beauty’, Climbing Rose ‘Golden Showers’, Rosa X ‘Joseph’S Coat’, Rosa X ‘New Dawn’, Bridal Wreath Spirea ‘Pink Ice’, Alchemilla Mollis ‘Thriller’, Egyptian Thorn ‘Kasan’, Spiraea X Cinerea ‘Grefsheim’, Fuji Apple, Rosa Rugosa, Prunus Laurocerasus, Prunus Salicina ‘Ozark Premier’, Alyssum Serpyllifolium, Armeria Pseudarmeria ‘Dreamland’ Plant Patent #30601, Prostanthera Cuneata ‘Badja Peak’, Chocolate Cosmos, Berri-Magic® Japanese Skimmia, Yellow Raspberries, Aronia nigra, Cecile Brunner Climbing Rose, Bing Sweet Cherry, Gold Tide® Forsythia and Carthaginian Apple.

As with other Malus’s, the Red Delicious Apple is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Red Delicious Apple is a plant native to the USA.

You might be wondering why your Red Delicious Apple’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ will be most used to regions where the plant hardiness level falls between 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 7.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Red Delicious Apple is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Red Delicious Apple? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ can grow up to 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m) in 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m) and 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m) in 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m). 


In terms of watering, the Red Delicious Apple is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Red Delicious Apple plant


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Red Delicious Apple in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Red Delicious Apple then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Red Delicious Apple needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Red Delicious Apple prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Red Delicious Apple requires soil with high organic matter, and loam (silt), which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Red Delicious Apple requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this tree will do well as long as you keep it in full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ in full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Red Delicious Apple will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Red Delicious Apple to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this tree is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Red Delicious Apple produces some beautiful white, or white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Red Delicious Apple have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

The Red Delicious Apple is well known for being able to attract butterflies, birds and hummingbirds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Red Delicious Apple flower


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Red Delicious Apple? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Malus X Domestica ‘Red Delicious’ owners agree that this tree will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage styles. 


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Red Delicious Apple, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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