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All about apples, pears, plums, and cherries - and orchards where they are grown

Sundowner® apple


Sundowner® is the lesser-known sibling of Pink Lady®.  On this website we tend to use the term "sibling" when talking about apple varieties with common parents.  However unlike human children, apple siblings are nearly always raised in separate places by different growers, maybe decades or even centuries apart.  However Pink Lady® and Sundowner® really are siblings - not only do they share the same parentage - Golden Delicious and Lady Williams - but they were developed at the same time by the same fruit breeder, John Cripps of Western Australia.  Pink Lady® and Sundowner® are trademarks - the actual variety names are Cripps Pink and Cripps Red respectively.

Sundowner® is very much a warm-climate apple.  That means it needs long hot summers to ripen, but it also has a low-chill requirement so it can tolerate winters where temperatures are rarely below freezing.  (Apples originated in mountainous central Asia and need a period of very cold weather each winter as part of their annual growing cycle).

Sundowner® does not have the distinctive pink blush of Pink Lady®, being a more conventional "bi-coloured" red apple.  The flavour is less delicate than Pink Lady®, and slightly more distinctive - in this respect it is probably the better apple.

Although primarily an apple for eating fresh, Sundowner® can be used in the kitchen - it keeps its shape when cooked. For an example see this recipe for Rustic Apple Tart.

Sundowner apple identification images

All images copyright Orange Pippin unless otherwise stated.

  • Cripps Red

USDA identification images for Sundowner

The identification paintings in the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection span the years 1886 to 1942.

    Citation: U.S. Department of Agriculture Pomological Watercolor Collection. Rare and Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, MD 20705.

    Parents and other ancestors of this variety

    Siblings of this variety (same parentage)

    Visitor reviews

    • 18 Sep 2023 
      My favourite Eatint apple
    • 30 Apr 2022 
      This variety has a interesting complex flavour that is very appealing. Crisp white flesh. Pick fresh from tree as leaves deteriorate and the cold sets in. Fairly vigorous growing tree.
    • 17 Aug 2017  VICTORIA, Australia
      I just purchased my first sundowner apple, probably only because they were on special at the supermarket. WOW!! Crisp, juicy, sweet, flavoursome with a crisp clean finish. I am hooked. Now that is what I have been looking for in an apple.
    • 09 Nov 2016  NV, United States
      Gave up on it. Only produced one apple for each of the last three years and they never ripened. Something is wrong about the zones, pollination or chill hours for Las Vegas NV area.
    • 14 Jul 2016  NSW, Australia
      My favourite Apple variety. Mostly only found in Woolies in my part of the world, sometimes/rarely Aldi I don't understand why. Pink Lady is too acid for my taste. Fuji is also a favourite but 2nd to Sundowner.
    • 12 Apr 2016  SOUTH AUSTRALIA, Australia
      Best Apple available in Oz. I eat 6kg of apples a week, Sundowner bought straight from the grower are the perfect combination of crunch, sweetness and acidity. The perfect apple.
    • 06 Aug 2015  VICTORIA, Australia
      I have been enjoying Sundowners every day this season for the first time and I love the sharper balance of sweetness and acidity. They also cook really well. A past Pink Lady fan, I am going to look for this variety every year.
    • 25 Jul 2015  NSW, Australia
      Love Sundowners! They are very similar to Pink Lady apples, which are probably my second favourite (no surprise given they are from the same parentage) but I think Sundowners are better. A perfect balance of sweetness and acidity which leaves me wanting to eat the core (or just going and getting another one out of the fridge!)
    • 14 Jul 2013  TX, United States
      Just had one labeled Joya from a Waitrose in London. S. African origin. Juicy and sweet, not as tart a Cripp's Pink. Browns readily.
    • 14 Apr 2012  CAPE REGION, South Africa
      this one really needs a period of cold storage first before it is at its best taste which is rarely straight off the tree. The trademark is being changed from Sundowner(R) to JOYA(R)
    • 16 Nov 2011  NSW, Australia
      I'm eating one right now, it's super delicious. I can feel the juices dripping down my chin. Munch, munch.
    • 09 Mar 2011  CALIFORNIA, United States
      I beleive I have a Sundowner apple tree that I bought from an Asian man years ago. The fruit is really tasty, and ripens in December-January. I need to spray it heavily, though, to avoid coddling moth infestation when it is flowering. Can you suggest a good spray that is organic? My gardening book suggest malithion and that is what I have been spraying. Thanks!Cathy Miller
    • 12 Dec 2010  ARIZONA / YAVAPAI COUNTY, United States
      New to Sundowner apples, which we bought at our local farm market yesterday. SUPERB fresh eating apple! Crisp, juicy, tart-sweet, incredible. (But the sellers had the genetic history all wrong...thought they were a cross between Pink Ladies & Fujis.) Baked a simple rustic apple tart last night with two leaving the skins on the thin slices. Will say they bake beautifully, retaining their shape...and don't turn to mush. Also, THANKS for this site! I've been doing a series of apple articles on www.FigsWithBri.com (my food blog) and come to Orange Pippin often for background info. I'm a wanna-be home orchardist in an apple growing county.
    • 28 Aug 2010  DEVON, United Kingdom
      Hi, Missing Sundowner this year Tesco dont have them where can I buy them?, roll on november then Kansi appear Cheers Alan
    • 26 Apr 2010  CALIFORNIA, United States
      I get Sundowners at our local farmers market. They are wonderfully crisp, slightly tart and keep better than any apple I've ever eaten. after 2-3 weeks at room temperature the Sundowner still retains a good deal of crispness. I wish I could find bare root Sundowners so I could grow them
    • 14 Oct 2009  IRELAND, Ireland
      I love Sundowners. I wish you could get them organic in Irish supermarkets though.
    • 16 Mar 2009  NOWRA,AUSTRALIA,NSW, Australia
      They rule, its the best apple iv'e ever had...

    Tree register

    United States


    Spring blossom records for this variety

    2017 season

    • March  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

    2016 season

    • March  2016  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

    2014 season

    • 15th March  2014  - tree owned by Stefanie in Oceanside, United States

    Record your blossom dates in our Fruit Tree Register - more >>.

    Harvest records for this variety

    2017 season

    • November  2017  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States

    2016 season

    • November  2016  - tree owned by Phil in Laguna Niguel, United States


    • Species: Malus domestica - Apple
    • Parentage: Golden Delicious and Lady Williams
    • Originates from: Western Australia, Australia
    • Introduced: 1970s
    • Developed by: John Cripps


    • Country of origin: Australia
    • Period of origin: 1950 - 1999
    • Fruit colour: Pink
    • Flower colour: White
    • Leaf colour: Green
    • Annual cycle: Deciduous


    • Picking season: Very late
    • Keeping (of fruit): 3 months or more
    • Flavour quality: Very good
    • Flavour style (apples): Sweeter
    • Cooking result: Keeps shape
    • Discoloration of fruit: Oxidising
    • Cropping: Good
    • Fruit persistence: Normal ripening
    • Food uses: Eating fresh
    • Food uses: Culinary
    • Picking period: mid-October
    • Wildlife: RHS Plants for Pollinators


    • Gardening skill: Average
    • Flowering group: 3
    • Pollinating others: Average
    • Ploidy: Diploid
    • Vigour: Average vigour
    • Precocity: Precocious
    • Bearing regularity: Biennial tendency
    • Fruit bearing: Spur-bearer
    • Self-fertility: Not self-fertile


    • Cold hardiness (USDA): Zone 5 (-29C)
    • Chill requirement: Low-chill
    • Climate suitability: Warm climates
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Warm (25-30C / 76-85F)
    • Summer average maximum temperatures: Hot (>30C / 86F)

    Other qualities

    • Powdery mildew: Some resistance
    • Scab (Apple and Pear): Some susceptibility
    • Fire blight: Some susceptibility
    • Woolly aphid: Some susceptibility

    Where to buy trees

    The following tree nurseries offer Sundowner apple trees for sale:

    Where to buy fresh fruit

    The following orchards grow Sundowner:

    United States


    • Apples for the 21st Century
      Author: Manhart

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