Chokeberries (Aronia)

Published On: July 20th, 2023

Chokeberries (Aronia sp.) are North American native shrubs that offer multiple seasons of interest and can fill many roles as landscape plants.

Wildlife Value

Both Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) and Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) are valuable plants for our native songbirds and beneficial insects. The showy flat-topped clusters of flowers in spring are white with prominent pink colored stamens and attract many pollinators. The abundant fruit is a winter food source for native birds. The plants are also larval host for over 2 dozen beneficial native insects.

Rain Gardens

Chokeberries are native to bogs, wet meadows and stream sides so are perfectly suited for placement in rain gardens or challenging low-lying areas that are too wet for other shrubs.

Screening & Hedging

The taller varieties of Chokeberry are fast growing and tend to colonize so can quickly form a visual barrier in naturalized areas. For more formal spaces, newer introductions such as Low Scape Mound® make attractive low (12”-24”) edging plants.

Low Scape Mound® Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM165’ USPP 28,789)

  • Tidy mound of glossy green foliage
  • Dainty white flowers in spring
  • Brilliant red fall color
  • Dwarf habit
  • 12-24” height/18-24” spread
  • Excellent low hedging plant
  • Hardiness Zone : 3

LOW SCAPE HEDGER® CHOKEBERRY (Aronia melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM166’ pp#28831)

  • Narrow columnar form, excellent for hedging in smaller spaces
  • Dainty white flowers in spring
  • Glossy green foliage turns red, orange, and yellow in fall
  • Non fruiting
  • 3’-5’ height / 2’-3’ spread
  • Hardiness Zone : 3

IROQUOIS BEAUTY™ CHOKEBERRY (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Morton’)

  • Showy white flowers in May followed by dark purple/black berries that are enjoyed by birds
  • Deep red fall color
  • Multi stemmed, compact habit
  • 3’ height / 3-4’ spread
  • Hardiness Zone : 3

VIKING CHOKEBERRY (Aronia melanocarpa ‘Viking’)

  • Showy white flowers in May followed by edible fruit. ‘Viking’ was developed in Europe as an orchard crop!
  • Attracts pollinators & songbirds
  • Fiery red fall color
  • Multi-stemmed upright habit
  • 4-6’ height / 5-6’ spread
  • Hardiness Zone : 3

BRILLIANT RED CHOKEBERRY (Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’)

  • White flowers in May followed by abundant 1/4″ red berries that are retained for a long time
  • Brilliant scarlet fall color
  • Upright, rounded form
  • 6-9’ height / 5-6’ spread
  • Hardiness Zone : 4

Aronia in a nutshell

  • Mature height: 2’ to 6’, depending on variety
  • Mature spread: 2’ to 6’, depending on variety. Colonizing habit.
  • Growth form: Ranges from dense mounding habit to tall, upright form. Colonizes slowly. Easy to control by removing suckers.
  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 4, some to Zone 3
  • Flowers: Abundant clusters of small white flowers. Quite showy in full bloom.
  • Foliage Color: Glossy green foliage remains attractive all season, changing to vibrant red color in autumn.
  • Light requirement: Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Water Requirements: Thrives in wet soil, but does not require it. Adaptable to a range of soil conditions.
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Maintenance: Aronia is a very hardy plant and is not prone to insect or disease issues. As a colonizer, some maintenance will be required in removing suckering shoots to control spread. Pruning should be minimal but, if desired, these plants can be pruned after flowering (be aware that pruning after flowering will eliminate fruit for that season).
  • Especially valuable for:
    • Multiple seasons of interest
    • Adaptability & durability
    • Wildlife value (pollinators & songbirds)

By Zannah Crowe

Some photos shown courtesy of Proven Winners –