Zestar!® Apple Flower
Zestar!® Apple Flower Zestar!® Apple
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Zestar!® Apple

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Early-to-Ripen & Sweet-Tart Flavor: The Zestar!® Apple!

  • Red Apples with Yellow & Green Highlights
  • Creamy Yellow-White Flesh
  • Zesty, Tart, & Sweet Apples
  • Crisp Apple with Crunchy Texture
  • Lots of Juice!
  • Early-Season Ripening
  • Easy Care & Low Maintenance
  • Cold Hardy Apple
  • Pollinators Galore!
  • Deep-Pink Buds Burst Open into White Blossoms
  • Dolgo, McIntosh, Pink Pearl & Yellow Transparent Pollinator Partners
  • Requires ~800 Chill Hours
  • Full Sun
  • Fresh Eating or Cooked

With the Zestar!® Apple (Malus x 'Minnewashta'), you do not have to choose between a cooking apple or a fresh-eating apple. This cold-hardy tree offers a large crop of sweet-tart taste and early season harvest!

The Zestar!® Apple ripens between August and early September and comes alive with deep-red bushed apples with honey-yellow highlights. Often with some yellow speckles over the skin, and the side of the apple receiving the most sun has the best red blush!

With hints of brown sugar flavor, crisp texture, and a zesty bite, the Zestar!® Apple is a great go-to apple tree for the home orchard. This stunning apple is as crisp as it is beautiful (unlike many other early-season apples). Great for baking and fresh eating, as well as adding to your savory cooked dishes.

Nice round apples with ample amounts of juice! You will love trying out all the different ways you can prepare your Zestar!® Apples.

Luckily for those wanting to try out as many apple recipes as possible, the Zestar!® Apple has a long shelf life, often staying crisp for over a month unrefrigerated and two months refrigerated and still retain its fantastic flavor and crunch.

How to Use Zestar!® Apple In The Landscape

The spring bloom display and handsome foliage make these fantastic ornamental trees for dual purpose and edible landscaping!

Plant near your garden to help attract beneficial insects and have butterflies and hummingbirds arrive in droves for the early spring nectar resource!

Use a variety of McIntosh, Yellow Transparent, Pink Pearl, Dolgo Crab to pollinate your Zestar!®. You can even snuggle up your two apple trees to save space.

This fun tree also makes a great addition to the backyard where your kids can collect apples and rest beneath the shade on sunny days.

As versatile in the home garden as the Apple orchard, these fruit trees mingle beautifully among orchards of their pollinator apple varieties.

Good-sized trees, Zestar!® trees will have an incredible impact on your landscape and can be pruned smaller if needed. The brilliant display of blooms each spring and the red gems dangling from the branches each fall, and are gorgeous landscape features!

#ProPlantTips For Care

Provide Zestar!® Apple plenty of sunshine, full sun all day for the most blooms and resulting fruit! Cold hardy down to zone 3 and up to growing zone 7.

Fertile, organically rich soil that is also well-drained, consistent watering throughout the growing season is best to protect your investment.

A thick layer of mulch over the roots keeps them insulated from both heat and cold, while also retaining consistent soil moisture.

Prune your Zestar!® Apple in late winter to remove dead limbs, disease and to keep the canopy open to ward off fungus and pests, while allowing more air circulation and sun into the interior.

Featuring some resistance to Fireblight and Cedar Apple Rust and Mildews, these are best known for their incredible cold hardiness.

The Zestar!® is one zesty, peppy, fun apple tree to grow and enjoy for years! Please your local bees, neighbors, and kids with great-tasting apples that are as striking as they are tasty!

Order yours from Nature Hills today before this fantastic variety is gone!


Recommended Pollinators: Dolgo, McIntosh, Pink Pearl & Yellow Transparent

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep.

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 14.95
20 - 49.99 17.95
50 - 69.99 19.95
70 - 99.99 24.95
100 - 129.99 29.95
130 - 130+ Approx 25%

Click here to see our full rates

Long-Storing, Early Ripening Fresh Eating and Cooking Apple

The Zestar® apple is another heavy hitter of the introductions coming out of the University of Minnesota under the direction of David Bedford and his team. Bedford and his team have focused on varieties that taste good, are adapted to the colder northern climates with early production, and deliver a firm, crisp texture. Their successes have been tremendous.

David Bedford grew up in North Carolina but always dreamed of living in the northern climates. After receiving his master's degree from Colorado State University, Bedford took a job at the University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Center in 1979. The assignment was timely, as Bedford's first notable decision in 1980 was to save seedling selections slated to be destroyed. This decision would later result in the Honeycrisp apple. Good save!

Zestar® originated from a cross of State Fair x MN 1691, done in 1972. As with all plant breeding, it has undergone intense observation and wasn't introduced until 1999. The outstanding flavor and texture of this early ripening variety was immediately recognized. The flavor is described as Sweet Tart with a brown sugar overtone.

Adapted to all typical apple growing regions the Zestar® can also be grown in colder climates in Zones 3b, 4a and b climates, giving it a huge boost of additional appeal.

The standout quality comes in the Zestar's® storage. Unlike most early apples, Zestar® stores for a considerably long time, up to 2 months when picked at peak ripeness. The excellent fresh eating quality and its firmness, along with extended storage season and being a great cooking apple add to its valuable commercial qualities.

Zestar® is only one of David Bedford and his team's introductions. Other exciting selections continue to be introduced from the impactful University of Minnesota's Horticultural Research Program. Since 1878 varieties such as Haralson, Fireside, Sweet 16 and State Fair have delighted the apple loving world. Today's introductions such as Honeycrisp, Sweet Tango®, SnowSweet® and Zestar®, continues this long productive history.


Zestar!® Apple Is Suited to Grow in Zones 3-7
Growing Zones 3-7
More Information
Botanical Name Malus x Minnewashta'
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 20 - 25 feet
Mature Spread 12 - 15 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Type Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Fall Color Yellow
Harvest Time Early Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Fruiting Time 3-5 Years
When To Prune Late Winter
Fragrant Yes