January Plant of the Month: Crataegus viridis – ‘Winter King’ — Winter King Green Hawthorne
With its bright red fruit persisting prolifically on stately silvery branches well into winter, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ is guaranteed to provide visual appeal at a most needed time: the month of January. This cultivar of Crataegus viridis is particularly known for its large 1⁄4” – 1⁄2” fruit, consistently larger than that of the regular species. And unlike most other hawthorns, it remains relatively free of pests and diseases such as scab and rust.
Its maximum visual appeal occurs in wintertime, but it has four-season appeal.
A member of the Rosaceae family, showy white five-pedaled blossoms appear in mid May. Glossy, green leaves, oval to elliptical-shaped with toothed margins, provide consistent attractive summer foliage.
Fall foliage is underrated with colors ranging from yellow to scarlet, even purple. After leaf drop exfoliating bark is revealed: copper gray in color on mature specimens, silver and green bark (viridis means green) on younger specimens.
Typically maturing at a height of 20-25’, with a similar spread, with a vase-like shape, Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’ is an excellent choice as a specimen tree for small properties, within a lawn setting, or as an accent plant if planted against an evergreen backdrop.
This plant tolerates tough urban conditions and varied soil types. For best results, plant in loamy soils in full sun. Hardy zones 4-7.