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Edibles

Say hello to the Redlove apple

Sandy Lim

Sandy Lim

March 28, 2017

There’s a new apple in the Aussie backyard. With their firm crimson skin and unique red flesh, these “revolutionary” beauties from Switzerland have already taken root across Europe, the UK and North America. And now, in 2017, they’re available for the first time throughout Australia.

Redlove apples on the tree. Photo used with permission from Lenswood Co-op.

 

Redloves are a relatively new series of hybrids, descended from a wild red-fleshed apple native to Kazakhstan. But fruit breeder Markus Kobelt, of Swiss nursery, Lubera, found these apples too sour to enjoy on their own, and set out on a 20-year journey of experimental cross-breeding to create

“the first good-tasting, red-fleshed apple”

That said, Lubera only consider the Redloves apples on the outside. The bright pink flesh, curious internal markings and unusual flavour suggest these might be “a new type of fruit just as distinguishable from the apple as nectarines and peaches”.

What’s inside certainly counts. Redloves are said to boast an abundance of anthocyanin and around 30% more antioxidants than the average apple. What’s more, they don’t turn brown when cut (probably due to all those antioxidants) and retain their colour when cooked. This makes them the perfect apple for those dressed-to-impress desserts.

Red on the outside, red on the inside. Photo used with permission from Redlove Apple Australia.

 

Redlove apples stay red when cooked. Photo used with permission from Redlove Apple Australia.

 

Redlove serving suggestions. Photo used with permission from Redlove Apple Australia.

 

Wow – a rich Redlove cocktail. Photo used with permission from Redlove Apple Australia.

 

WA’s Redlove supply is cultivated at Domus Nursery, a little wholesaler up in the Perth hills. They say their biggest challenge was in dealing with how vigorously their plants performed over the growing season. Where new plant releases tend to hit the eastern states first, Domus’ stock was ready for sale a month ahead of schedule. This meant an early February release in WA, earning Redloves the unofficial nickname of “the Valentine apple”.

Behind the scenes: Budded wood, ready to grow. Photo used with permission from Domus Nursery.

 

Domus’ success with this species in WA bodes well for other regions of the country. They expect gardeners in the tropical zones (Broome, Darwin, FNQ, etc.) will struggle, but planted in full sun with a regular water supply, Redloves should do just fine in areas further south and away from the coast. Domus’ main recommendation for home gardeners is to protect the plants from winds to prevent excessive transpiration.

On the growing front, these plants are scab-resistant with minimal pest- and disease-related issues. Redloves are a dwarf species, reaching only 2-3m in height, making them suitable for pots, balcony gardens and espalier. If potting, use an Australian premium standard potting mix plus a slow-release fertiliser in Spring. Domus recommend also pruning the growing tip to encourage branching.

Redlove flowers and foliage. Photo used with permission from Domus Nursery.

 

Intense pink flowers on the Redlove apple. Photo used with permission from Redlove Apple Australia.

 

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Kyoung Miller
Kyoung Miller
3 years ago

Would this Redlove Apple tree require minimum chill hours to fruit?
I live in the hinterland of Tweed Heads on a hill of 260 meters high.
Night temp drops between 5-15C degree in the winter time.
I wonder whether it would be worthwhile to grow a few trees in my garde.?

sandy (@sandysandy)
3 years ago
Reply to  Kyoung Miller

Hi Kyoung, the nursery has let me know that Redlove should be fine for growing in Tweed Heads. 🙂

Charisse
3 years ago

When is the best time to repot (espalier) and cut the growing tip of this dwarf tree? Gift received 14 May; it is almost 2 meters in height with one main trunk. Perth Hills area. Thank you.

sandy (@sandysandy)
3 years ago
Reply to  Charisse

Hey Charisse! Your tree should be going dormant now. The nursery suggests denuding all the leaves (any that fail to fall) and repotting in early spring. You can trim and train your redlove any time of year, but the new spring shoots will be softer and easier to work with.

Charisse
3 years ago

Thank you Sandy. Cheers !

Rahul
Rahul
3 years ago

Hi, regarding cross pollination required for fruit which variety is good with this apple?

sandy (@sandysandy)
3 years ago
Reply to  Rahul

Hi Rahul, from the nursery: “Redlove needs to cross pollinate with either Pink Lady or Granny Smith apple.”

Zorica
Zorica
3 years ago

Will Redlove pollinate the Granny Smith?

Cat
Cat
3 years ago
Reply to  Zorica

Yea or pink lady

Duncan
Duncan
3 years ago

Hi,

We’ve been given two redlove’s for christmas, will we need to get a pink lady/granny smith to ensure they fruit? Or just hope someone has one near by?

Cheers.

Patricia
Patricia
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan

Hiya Duncan,

We bought a Redlove last year, we don’t have any other apples in our garden but have 1 little apple on our tree so someone in the neighbour hood must have a pollinator . You could always give it a year to see if it fruits if it does bonus! you won’t have to buy a pink lady or Granny Smith someone has an apple tree near you.

Sandy
3 years ago
Reply to  Duncan

Hi Duncan — Patricia nailed it. The nursery says one of their customers got fruit off a solitary tree (could it have been Patricia?). A pink lady/granny smith would ensure pollination, but you could always chance it with just one tree.

Mary Theseira
Mary Theseira
1 year ago
Reply to  Sandy

I have a single redlove tree we purchased last year and it is full of fruit. We also have a ballerina apple tree but not at all close to the redlove. Could we use it as a specimen tree. (The redlove)

sandy (@sandysandy)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Theseira

Hi Mary, great to hear about the fruiting! It sounds like the Ballerina might have cross pollinated with your Redlove after all. 🙂 I passed on your question to our Redlove experts here in WA and they reckon you should be able to to use it — they let me know that Redloves are out in garden centres across Australia now, so you should be able to find more local advice about this from sellers closer to home.

helen
helen
2 years ago

I am from San Diego CA and I am interested to plant a red love apple tree.How do I purchase one??

GardenLove
GardenLove
1 year ago
Reply to  helen

Check Craigslist. There is a seller selling them.

Praveen Mehta
Praveen Mehta
1 year ago

What altitude RED LOVE APPLES SHOULD BE GROWN?

sandy
sandy
1 year ago
Reply to  Praveen Mehta

Great question, Praveen! The Redlove garden expert in my area suggests anywhere from sea level to as high as not getting permanent snow cover, but the garden centre you bought you Redlove from should be able to offer you more local advice.

Rahul
Rahul
1 year ago

Hi, My Redlove apple tree has growing branches from below graft stem of Redlove. I am wondering on which tree rootstock the Redlove has been grafted ? Will I get than other type of apple as well…
Thanks
Rahul

sandy
sandy
1 year ago
Reply to  Rahul

Hey, Rahul, thanks for the question. The Redlove expert in my area offers the following advice:

“Grafted plants should always have suckers removed from rootstocks immediately. Rootstocks have “inferior” fruit (ie. not the fruit you’re after) and will deprive the desirable grafted top scion (your Redlove Apple) of nutrients and resources if the suckers are left to grow from below the graft. Remove suckers buy pulling downwards to remove the shooting bud. Do not cut off as they will reshoot. Your local garden centre will be able to advise more.”

Elliot Lasiter
Elliot Lasiter
1 year ago

What are the chill hours needed for this apple? Thx

Lisa
Lisa
1 year ago

I have a redlove with 6 apples on it and just wondering how to know when they’re ripe?

Pranab Halder Partha
Pranab Halder Partha
6 months ago

How much chilling hours required the redlove tree?