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Stark® Ruby Darling™ Apple

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Supplies are limited so make sure you don't miss out next time by having us automatically notify you when it becomes available again.


A Stark Bro's Exclusive!

It’s a keeper! A natural cross resulting in the best of Honeycrisp and Gala! Large cherry-red apples have an elegant shape. Extra-large cells deliver a distinctive crisp-crunch and refreshingly sweet juice. Cook them or eat them fresh... these apples do double-duty. Tree has an open, spreading growth habit and is a heavy-bearer. Keeps for 4-5 months in proper cold storage. Originates from Winchester, Illinois in 2000. Ripens in early October. Pollinator required: Choose another apple variety like Starkspur® Red Rome Beauty, Stark® Jon-A-Red® Jonathan or any Golden Delicious. May be covered by USPP #30,978 or other patents.


Bloom Color Pink, White
Bloom Time Mid
Fruit Color Red
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Ripens/Harvest Early October
Shade/Sun Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 6.0 - 7.0
Taste Sweet/sub Acid
Texture Crisp, Juicy
Years to Bear 2 - 5
Zone Range 5 - 7

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 5 - 7
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your tree matures, it will be approximately 12 - 15' tall x 12 - 15' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these trees 12 - 15' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety requires another one for adequate pollination.

Cross-pollination by a different variety is key to its growing and bearing success. Plant one of these varieties within 50' for best pollination.

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow apple trees in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Estimated Delivery Date

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.

Our Promise of Satisfaction

1 Year Warranty

Every order comes with our promise of satisfaction. If you aren't completely satisfied with your order, let us know within one year for a free one-time replacement or refund.


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Questions & Answers

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Browse 12 questions Browse 12 questions and 26 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
Heard they were good and wanted to try one
Donald M on Jan 13, 2020
Gala/Honeycrisp Cross!!!
Mike T on Feb 13, 2019
Heard they were good and wanted to try one
Donald M on Jan 13, 2020
Timing of ripeness compared to my other apples and I like the Honeycrisp style and long storage times
Christian A on Mar 15, 2019
Gala/Honeycrisp Cross!!!
Mike T on Feb 13, 2019
I chose this apple for its bright red color.
Anita P on Feb 4, 2019
Because of parents and description
JOE C on Jan 25, 2019
Honestly I chose this tree because it has the same name as my Grandmother... Lol My husband liked the fact that it has good disease resistance and had gala in it's background.
Sara M on Mar 14, 2018
If it's even better than Honeycrisp, it must be amazing. I liked the larger size of the apples, and the keeping capability.
FRANK F on Feb 28, 2018
What could be better than a Honeycrisp and a Gala combination. Nothing
James H on Nov 4, 2017
A cross between gala and honey crisp seems like the perfect combination of sweet and crunchy.
Guy W P on Sep 28, 2017
I could not decide between planting a Gala or a Honeycrisp, but have very limited space, so now I can have both!
NANCY S on Feb 9, 2017
We wanted Honeycrisp but they are not listed for zone 7 and Ruby Darling is! Love Honeycrisp & Gala... sounds great!
Nancy and Stena Z on Feb 8, 2017
Timing of ripeness compared to my other apples and I like the Honeycrisp style and long storage times
Christian A on Mar 15, 2019
I chose this apple for its bright red color.
Anita P on Feb 4, 2019
What are the chill hours?
Chels on Nov 29, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Chill hours is the minimum time a tree needs to be under 45 degrees F. Unless your in the deep South, it is easier to check the growth zone your in.
How do these trees do with fireblight?
Chels on Nov 26, 2019
BEST ANSWER: I had no dark black cankers or dead limbs but definitely did have brown curled leafs.
Are your 2 Honeycrisp cross apple trees, Stark Scarlet Crush Apple & Stark Ruby Darling, resistant to cedar apple rust?
Melody D on Jul 13, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. They are not disease resistant.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Will Scarlet crush cross-pollinate this variety?
Chels on Nov 29, 2019
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Yes these two can be used as pollinators for each other.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Do you recommend raised bed for semi dwarf fruit trees? What is spacing for raised beds? Native soul is sandy. What soil mixture do you recommend for the raised bed pard & should I remove native soil to some depth?
Seth J on Sep 14, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Raised beds are fine for fruit trees, and the spacing is the same as it would be if the trees were planted in the ground. Loamy soil is best and any amended soil should be at least 2 feet wide and deep.
Will this tree cross pollinate the Stark Ultra Red Jonathan? It looks like the Jonathan will pollinate it--but does that work both ways?
Molly on Aug 23, 2019
BEST ANSWER: It does. As long as the two different apple varieties have the same bloom time, they will pollinate one another (with a few obscure exceptions).
Will this tree do well in Zone 7B? I see it's marked as 5-7. Not sure if that includes 7B.
Melanie W on Feb 25, 2017
BEST ANSWER: If a tree is suited for your general zone, it is suited for either the A or B subzone.
Is this new variety resistant to fire blight?
Gene P. on Jan 25, 2017
BEST ANSWER: To date, it has shown resistance to apple scab, bitter pit and cedar apple rust. We don't yet have data regarding fire blight.
How will the two new honeycrisp varieties work for organic farmers?
Laura W on Jan 19, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question! We are very excited about these new Honeycrisp crosses. They are resistant to bitter pit and are much more adaptable to warmer climates, so they can be grown further south (Zones 5-7). If you are growing "regular" Honeycrisp organically, you should have no trouble doing the same with either Stark?? Ruby Darling??? or Stark?? Scarlet Crush???.
does the Stark Bros exclusive "Ruby Darling" come as an EZ Start Potted Tree?
Dorothy A S on Jan 2, 2017
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for asking about our newest apple! At the moment, Ruby Darling??? is only available as a dwarf or semi-dwarf bare-root tree.
Can I use an apple tree of the same variety as a pollinator?
Jamie M on Aug 5, 2020

Customer Reviews

4.5 / 5.0
2 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Ruby Red
Tree arrived in good condition last year and grew well it's first season.
May 7, 2018
over 3 years ago
Stark Ruby Darling Apple
Followed planting instructions, tree responding well to water and full sunlight after 2 weeks.
May 30, 2018
over 2 years ago