The English hawthhorn tree (Crataegus laevigata) is native to Europe, India and northern parts of Africa, where it grows wild as a comparatively modest, low-branching and deciduous tree. The cultivar “Crimson Cloud” is an especially appealing variety of English hawthorn, named because of its abundant red blooms with white centres that cover the tree in spring. It is most appropriate for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4b via 8.
“Crimson Cloud” hawthorn, occasionally called “Superba,” rises in a moderate or medium pace, about 12 to 24 inches per year. Since the young tree grows, it typically grows a pyramidal shape, then the crown spreads out gradually and carries about an oval or irregular form. At maturity, the tree attains a height of approximately 20 to 25 feet and eventually spreads to approximately 15 to 25 feet. A mature “Crimson Cloud” has a moderately dense crown, with a few space between its branches, and overall is an exceptionally ornamental tree with a delicate branching pattern.
“Crimson Cloud” hawthorn has easy, 2-inch-long, dark green leaves which alternate along its origins. In spring, it produces blooms with white centres surrounded by one row of reddish petals. Since the name “hawthorn” implies, the tree’s branches are covered with sharp thorns which are approximately 1 inch long. In the fall, small fruits develop hawthorn trees and “Crimson Cloud” is famous because of its exceptionally lustrous, bright red fruits which are attractive to birds.
“Crimson Cloud” hawthorns are rather tolerant of most soils, but prefer heavy loam or clay. The tree flowers best in full sun but can tolerate some shade, and does well in many climates. It is not a fantastic choice for hot, humid areas where fungal diseases can become a problem. Hawthorn trees are generally susceptible to many diseases, such as hawthorn leaf blight, or Entomosporium, a fungus which can cause discoloration of leaves and, in severe cases, loss of foliage. This and other fungal diseases can be treated with routine applications of fungicidal sprays.
“Crimson Cloud” hawthorn makes an excellent specimen tree, planted in a location where its appealing blooms become a strong landscape accent. Since it is not a massive tree, it may also function well as a portion of a border screen and, even in case you plant a few trees in a row, then you can prune them in a tall hedge. The tree is also quite tolerant of urban conditions and does well as a specimen in a town landscape or as part of a boundary planting near a sidewalk or other paved area.