Cox's Orange Pippin
- Picking season: Mid
- Country of origin: United Kingdom
Generally regarded as the finest of all apples, Cox's Orange Pippin sets the benchmark for flavour to which all others aspire. The aromatic complexity and depth of flavours are remarkable. In our personal experience pear, melon, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and mango are all readily evident in a good example.
Cox's Orange Pippin is a mid/late season variety, at its best if picked when fully ripe, or picked slightly under-ripe and left in storage for a month or so - it is not a long-keeper though.
Although primarily considered a variety for eating fresh, Cox is an excellent apple for juice / cider blends as well. It is also a versatile culinary apple, with an inherently sweet flavour when baked, and is a common ingredient in English apple preserves, chutneys, and mincemeat.
Cox's Orange Pippin apple trees for sale
11-year maiden bare-root
Medium size (2.5m-3m after 10 years)
21-year maiden bare-root
Large size (3m-4m after 10 years)
31-year maiden bare-root
Full size size (4.5m-6m after 10 years)
How to grow
Cox's Orange Pippin generally performs better in the drier parts of the UK - the South-east, East Midlands, East Yorkshire and as far north as Edinburgh. It has a reputation for being a bit fussy to grow, but in practice if you are in an area with low rainfall and reasonable sunshine hours you should be successful.
A specific issue with Cox is "Cox spot", a rust-like physiological disorder inherent to this variety, which can be mild or non-existent in some seasons and quite severe (causing early leaf fall) in others. The cause is unknown and there is no treatment, but fortunately although it is unsightly it does not seem to affect the fruit.
Growers in wetter areas might want to consider Fiesta or Sunset, which are closely related and have similar flavour but tolerate higher rainfall much better.
Cox's Orange Pippin is somewhat unusual because it is available in both self-fertile and self-sterile forms - most of ours are the self-fertile form. In general we recommend that you try to have a nearby pollination partner as this will improve cropping.
Cox's Orange Pippin was raised by Richard Cox, in Buckinghamshire, England, in the early 19th century. The parentage is unknown but it is possibly a seedling of Ribston Pippin. Over time it became apparent that some Cox trees had a good degree of self-fertility but it was not until the 1970s that a standardised self-fertile form was established by the Long Ashton research station near Bristol. This is now the recommended form.
Almost since it was first discovered, Cox's Orange Pippin has featured in the development of new apple varieties, as breeders sought to marry its excellent aromatic flavours with other varieties which might be heavier cropping or have more versatile climate characteristics. Many of these have become excellent varieties in their own right. Cox enthusiasts are likely to find Rubinette and Queen Cox of particular interest, as these two varieties arguably both match Cox for their outstanding flavours, and maybe even exceed it.
Cox's Orange Pippin characteristics
- Picking period (southern UK):mid-September
- Picking season:Mid
- Food uses:Culinary, Juice
- Vigour:Weak growing
- Fruit bearing:Spur-bearer
- Canker:Very susceptible
- Fireblight:Some susceptibility
- Mildew:Some susceptibility
- Scab:Very susceptible
- Climate suitability:Warm climates
- Cold hardiness (USDA):(5) -20F / -29C
- Summer average maximum temperatures:Cool ( 20C - 24C / 68F - 75F)
- Frost resistance of blossom:Susceptible
- Country of origin:United Kingdom
- Period of origin:1800 - 1849
- Fruit colour:Orange flush
- Awards:RHS Award of Garden Merit