The Rubinette apple is one of the tastiest apple varieties of all, but as a descendant of two commercial varieties, it requires intensive care and is prone to disease and is therefore not actually recommended for the home garden. If you’ve already fallen in love with the taste, you don’t have to worry, but you should know what to expect.

Care instructions

Malus domestica ‘Rubinette’ is a successful “chance breeding” without unusual demands: Plant in good, nutritious soil in a sunny location. Keep the soil continuously moist until it grows, later it only needs additional watering if it is extremely dry. Ripe compost / manure can be mixed in as fertilizer when planting, after which, in a garden with normal soil composition and care, organic fertilizer is only required after years.

Rubinette has quite decided (= inevitable for the gardener to be followed) demands on his trimming:

  • Rubinette grows strongly upright and somewhat sparsely
  • But it only branches out a little
  • The young tree must be decidedly cut into shape
  • This is used for the attractive growth shape and good branching
  • The older tree also needs regular fruit and care prunings
  • And a kind of “extended micro-cut” during the fruit ripening period
  • Micro cut because the nail scissors would be enough
  • Extended because every fruit set is treated / considered
  • Purpose and aim: consistent thinning of the fruit set
  • Suppresses the tendency of the variety to alternate
  • And is necessary to harvest sufficient fruit sizes

Like its ancestor ‘Golden delicious’, ‘Rubinette’ is prone to disease, especially for scabs and also for cancer and monilia; which has the following consequences for you:

  • Buy a young apple tree from a specialist store, where it will be checked for signs of disease
  • Certain documents are recommended for Rubinette, find out if they have been used
  • Even after planting, keep an eye on the apple tree for disease in the susceptible area
  • Obtain information on the emergency measures to be taken when in doubt

The following fact becomes noticeable in the sometimes very high demands / sensitivities of the variety: Rubinette is a descendant of two varieties grown for commercial apple growing, a very successful and overall rather unproblematic offspring, but the offspring of a commercial variety. Why commercial varieties no longer necessarily correspond to what a hobby gardener expects when he wants to buy an apple tree can be read in the section “Commercial varieties and real apples” in the article “Gala apples – care instructions, taste and calories”.

Fruit and harvest

Rubinette apple has the typical characteristics of its ancestor ‘Cox orange’: a lot of aroma, small size, firm flesh with a lot of juice, rough skin.

As far as the harvest is concerned: apples do not simply ripen, but first “ripe for picking” and then “ready for consumption”. For most apple varieties, the point in time at which they are ripe for picking does not coincide with the point at which they are ripe for consumption – the apples ripen after they have been picked.

Exceptions are the so-called table apples, which can be eaten and processed in full quality immediately after being picked (after these table apples, today every fruit intended for hand consumption is unspecifically called “table fruit”).

The Rubinette apple is one of those rather rare “real dessert apples”, ripe apples are ready to eat right away. ‘Rubinette’ become ripe from (mid) / end of September, but gradually (“inferred maturity”).

In warm summers, rubinettes ripen before they are fully colored and then almost always harvested too late. Remedy: Check ripeness (loose stem?) Or plant one of the slightly red cheeks around ‘Rubinette Rosso’.

Everything you need to know from A – Z

  • Parentage: free flowering (random seedling) of Golden Delicious x Cox Orange
  • Apple aroma: very intense
  • Apple type: autumn apple, storage apple
  • Fertilization: self-sterile, pollen donor
  • Special features: is generally considered to be particularly aromatic and tasty
  • Soil: rich in nutrients, up to medium altitudes
  • Pressure sensitivity: low
  • Harvest time, picking maturity: late September to early October
  • Harvest time in the Altes Land near Hamburg: beginning of October
  • Pulp: slightly tart, firm, crisp, very juicy
  • Fruit shape: round to tall
  • Fruit size: small to medium
  • Ripe for consumption: 10-11-12-1
  • Frequently used red (redder) types: Rubinette Rosso, Early Rubinette
  • Main color: orange-red to red, in stripes over the green-yellow background
  • Market launch: 1982
  • Acidity: very high, in balance with the sugar content
  • Region of origin of the apple variety: Rafz, Switzerland
  • Tolerance for apple allergy sufferers: Rubinette should tolerate around 3/4 (non-binding information)
  • Use: table apple, baking, cooking, muesli, salad
  • Consumption time from the point of consumption: October to February depending on the harvest
  • Vitamin content: high
  • Year of breeding, breeder: 1966, Walter Hauenstein-Röschli from the Hauenstein Rafz tree nursery, Switzerland
  • Sugar content: very high at around 16%

Rubinette in rating

When it comes to the Rubinette apple, it is worth looking at several reviews, because different views are represented on this variety and its suitability for the home garden:

1. The Bavarian State Institute for Viticulture and Horticulture compared the Rubinette apple with other apple varieties for its publication “Apple – newer and proven varieties for commercial cultivation” in 2013. With the following result: The Cox descendant ‘Rubinette’ carries small, very aromatic apples, which can be marketed as No. 1 in terms of taste. The apple is particularly recommended for direct marketing, e.g. B. with other special varieties such as ‘Pinova’, ‘Topaz’ and ‘Pilot’.

Due to its susceptibility to scab, cancer and monilia and the absolutely necessary consequent thinning, Rubinette apple is classified as a problematic variety and not recommended for the home garden. However, the beautiful flowering is emphasized, as with the crabapple, and the shelf life is until February. The color mutants ‘Rubinette Rosso’ and Co. are recommended, the mutant ‘Early Rubinette’ is classified as “not required” because it actually does not ripen much earlier than Rubinette itself.

2. The Association of Servants for Fruit Growing, Horticulture and Regional Care eV maintains the information page, on which Rubinette has the following positive properties: Excellent taste, high regular yields, good frost resistance and insensitivity to specks (a Metabolic disorder).

However, the variety has to be thinned out because otherwise the fruits would remain too small, need additional watering to achieve good fruit sizes and, because of the extreme sensitivity to scab, is unfortunately unsuitable for the home garden.

3. The aid infodienst Nutrition, Agriculture, Consumer Protection e. V. replies to a question about apple varieties that are suitable for their own cultivation in the home garden with regard to the Rubinette apple: In principle, for home gardens and orchards, it is not advisable to choose varieties that are often found in stores (‘Golden Delicious’,’ Gala ‘,’ Jonagold ‘,’ Elstar ‘,’ Braeburn ‘), because these varieties require professional care (fertilization, pruning, plant protection), which can usually only be guaranteed in commercial cultivation. Obviously, the Rubinette apple also falls under these varieties for aid because it does not go into any further detail on the variety.

For home gardens, easy-care, disease-resistant varieties are initially recommended, of which there is a whole range today. The names of these resistant varieties can usually be recognized by the syllable “Re” at the beginning (Rewena, Reanda, Retina and other “Re varieties”). Otherwise older varieties, sometimes quite demanding in terms of location conditions and therefore regionally recommended, but reserved for lovers and hobby gardeners who already have experience with different pome fruit varieties. The answer contains further recommendations for further narrowing down the selection and links to information sources, see

4. The breeder himself, Hauenstein AG, Nurseries, CH-8197 Rafz, first presents the Rubinette apple and the best offspring from it on its promotion platform in the list of new products:

  • 1982: Rubinette: aroma and ingredients unsurpassed so far, direct marketers call the apple the workhorse for other varieties
  • 1999: Rubinette ROSSO with a strong upswing from 2001, because apples with better coloring were the trend back then
  • 2013: Rubinette ROSSINA, the most attractive rubinette in bright red with a washed-out shell; is in line with the trend without having to compromise on the other properties.

The original Rubinette apple is of course also devoted to a separate page, on which the following details are revealed in addition to the facts already mentioned on the origin, breeding, descent, properties of the tree and fruit:

  • garnished well
  • also carries on annual wood
  • Growth habit very similar to ‘Golden Delicious’ with medium-sized, lush green leaves
  • Clearly distinguishable from Golden Delicious by the serrated edge of the leaf
  • Flowering time and fertilization medium late
  • Befruchter: James Grieve, Primerouge, Arlet, Idared, Maigold, Glockenapfel, Cox Orange, Gala, Golden Delicious
  • Little sensitive to flower frost
  • The ideal picking time when the base color brightens to a yellowish tinge
  • Storage: In natural storage until the end of January, cold storage at 2-4 ° C until the end of February
  • Excellent aroma is retained until the end of the storage period, no storage diseases
  • Attachment technology: Base: M9 is recommended, in special cases also M26
  • Mounting shapes: A slim spindle shape is recommended
  • Special feature: small, rusty fruits in the first years of standing, fruit size increases significantly from the third year of standing
  • Distribution: Today cultivated in over 20 countries, European countries and USA, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand
  • Consumer value: One of the most popular apple varieties among consumers, always in the top ranks in taste tests
  • Overall “an apple for experts and connoisseurs”

5. Notwithstanding these assessments by professionals, who tend to advise home gardeners not to plant a Rubinette apple, young Rubinette apple trees are also sold without dealers expressing any trace of such concerns. On the contrary, Rubinette is used as an “apple with low demands on the location, high and regular yield” (even without thinning, which is not mentioned?) Or as “strong, healthy plants” … “on substrates that are specially designed for the home garden are excellently suited ”.

Before you think about who is to be believed in such cases, it is worth taking a look at reviews that are not determined by marketing or sales motives:

6. JardinSuisse, the entrepreneurial association of gardeners in Switzerland, says about the breeding success of the Rafz Confederate that Malus domestica ‘Rubinette’ is suitable for permeable, nutrient-rich soils in the cottage garden and as a bee pasture and in the variant ‘Rubinette’ R (‘Rafzubin’ PBR) can be offered scab-resistant.

7. Experience reports from home gardeners who deliberately chose the Rubinette for its taste already sound somewhat desperate because only a few scab-infested tiny crusts could be harvested in the third year of standing … Usually an experienced apple grower is ready to answer and advises patience: The variety is very sensitive and needs care, but it is still a good choice and good years of yield can still be expected. With a little care, the “Zicke” Rubinette is perfectly suitable for the home garden and its taste is quite great. The following tips should help the Rubinette apple up:

  • Expose the tree slice and sprinkle with chaff or plant flowers instead of letting the apple grow straight out of the lawn
  • White trunk with white lime + rock flour, herbs, some latex (or a ready-made organic product)
  • Delays flowering a little and disinfects to prevent disease
  • Cut back a lot every spring, a tree that is kept airy always dry well and is therefore not attacked by scabs as quickly
  • The crown should be built on a maximum of 3 or 4 leading branches
  • A maximum of 4 side branches should be allowed to form per guide branch, better even only 3
  • Under the tree should be “cleaned” more often to prevent fungus, no fruits or leaves should rot on the moist soil
  • Protect against “crawling from below” with an “earwig pot” (flower pot with straw, hay, wood wool) close to the trunk or with glue rings
  • Protection against birds (ledges, scarecrows, nets) is also strongly recommended
  • Refine rubinettes on wrong substrates
  • Scab spraying with biological agents (nettle, birch leaf, horsetail manure, liverwort) in spring
  • With an increase of 20 to 30 cm per year, the supply is okay

As for scab infestation in young people: It is not too long ago that “normal fruit” was sold in the trade instead of “tuned uniform fruit”. Often with small scab stains, nobody should be upset and definitely not a reason not to eat and process the apple normally. That has not changed to this day, apples with scab stains are even increasingly sought because they stand for “guaranteed not to have been treated with pesticides”. And a small, strange, scabbed rubinette is, in contrast to some commercial apples, still a real taste experience …

The Rubinette apple is not easy, but tempting, but you should have some fruit growing experience before planting this apple variety. The care instructions are comprehensive, but manageable; the effort should be rewarded with fabulous taste experiences.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *