The Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) (Four-in-One Combo Apple) Full Care Guide

The Four-in-One Combo Apple, otherwise known as the Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) or Tea Crabapple, Chinese Crabapple, Hupeh Crabapple, Malus theifera, Pyrus malus theifera, is a rather well known tree plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low 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 Four-in-One Combo Apple is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Four-in-One Combo Apple Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Four-in-One Combo Apple can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Four-in-One Combo Apple spreads on the floor when growing in the garden. It require frequent watering when potted.
  • Light: Keep your Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Four-in-One Combo Apple in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

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

Malus domestica flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Four-in-One Combo Apple belongs to the genus Malus and the species Hupehensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) (MAL-us doh-MES-ti-ka).

Other members from the Rosaceae family include Maule’s Quince, Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo’, Blenheim Apricot, Prunus Cerasifera ‘Krauter Vesuvius’, Thundercloud Cherry Plum, Cherry ‘Akebono’, Rhododendron Yakushimanum ‘Crete’, Climbing Rose ‘Golden Showers’, Rosa X ‘Joseph’S Coat’, Large-Flowered Climber, Spiraea Japonica ‘Conspiyet’ Plant Patent Applied For, Alchemilla Mollis ‘Thriller’, Fire Bush ‘Kasan’, First Snow Spirea, Fuji Apple, Ramanas Rose, Versailles Laurel, Prunus Salicina ‘Ozark Premier’, Juneberry, Armeria Pseudarmeria ‘Dreamland’ Plant Patent #30,601, Badja Peak Mint Bush, Chocolate Cosmos, Berri-Magic® Japanese Skimmia, Raspberry ‘Anne’, Brilliant Red Chokeberry, Cecile Brunner Climbing Rose, Bing Sweet Cherry, Forsythia X ‘Courtasol’, Prunus Serrulata ‘Kwanzan’, Red Delicious Apple, Taiwan Firethorn ‘Santa Cruz’, Yellow Banksian Rose, Crown of Rays Goldenrod, Bradford Callery Pear, Gingersnap™ Potentilla, Golden Delicious Apple, Wall Spray and Magnolia X ‘Daybreak’.

As with other Malus’s, the Four-in-One Combo Apple is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Four-in-One Combo Apple. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Four-in-One Combo Apple is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But, how big does the Four-in-One Combo Apple actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) can grow up to 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m) in 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m) and 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m) in 15′ – 20′ (4.5m – 6m). 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.


In terms of watering, the Four-in-One Combo 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 Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) spreads on the floor when growing in the garden. It require frequent watering when potted.

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

Malus domestica care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Four-in-One Combo 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 properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Four-in-One Combo Apple is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Four-in-One Combo Apple prefers to have soil with good drainage properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

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

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Four-in-One Combo 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 Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) in from dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Four-in-One Combo 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), the fall, and during the winter.


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

The Four-in-One Combo Apple produces some beautiful white, or pink and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Four-in-One Combo Apple have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

Malus domestica up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Four-in-One Combo Apple is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Four-in-One Combo Apple will look best in it.

Most Malus Domestica (‘Akane’, ‘Chehalis’, ‘Liberty’, ‘Spartan’, Grafted) owners agree that this tree will look great in most rustic, cottage mediterranean, and sustainable gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, city and courtyard, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Four-in-One Combo Apple’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, container, kitchen garden, or a urban garden.

Companion Plants

Four-in-One Combo Apple’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Allium, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Erigeron will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Four-in-One Combo 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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