How to Make Pink Lady Apples Pink

Do you grow Pink Lady apples? Ever wondered why sometimes they’re a gorgeous dark pink colour…

Beautiful dark pink Pink Lady apples
Beautiful dark pink Pink Lady apples

… and sometimes they’re pale? These two examples are both from the same trees at our farm (in different years). So, what’s the difference?

Pink lady apples that are pale in colour
Pink lady apples that are pale in colour

There are a few factors that determine the final colour, and the main one is the weather, but maybe not what you think!

Hot weather can bleach the colour out of the apples, and in fact we need cool nights and mornings for the apples to turn a lovely dark pink.

However they also need a certain amount of regular sunlight hitting the apple, so if you have a dense leaf cover on your trees, the apples that grow in the shade under the leaves are also likely to be pale.

Apples growing in the shade won't colour up as well
Apples growing in the shade won’t colour up as well

This is one of the reasons why you might choose to do a bit of summer pruning on your apple trees, to reduce the density of the canopy and allow sunlight to penetrate the whole tree. But having said that, this is mainly a strategy used on commercial orchards to get better colour in apples, because they’re under pressure to provide uniform looking “perfect” apples.

Pink lady apples packed and ready to go to market
Pink lady apples packed and ready to go to market

Most home-growers don’t care so much how their apples look as long as they taste great, and so are less likely to prune for cosmetic reasons alone.

Typical home grown pink lady apples with spots, blemishes, and uneven colour
Typical home grown pink lady apples with spots, blemishes, and uneven colour

The last thing that may affect the colour of your fruit is the cultivar (or specific variety), as there are a few different variations of Pink Lady that have a different colour profile.

For example, Rosy Glow is a much darker pink colour compared to the more traditional Cripps Pink (the apple most commonly known as Pink Lady), for example, but they are still sold as ‘Pink Lady’.

A bin full of beautiful Pink Lady apples
A bin full of beautiful Pink Lady apples

Do you have apple trees? They’re one of the most common fruit trees found in backyards, so we’ve gathered all our apple-specific growing tips into a single online course called Grow Awesome Apples.

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