Aronia arbutifolia red chokeberry is a wonderful shrub native to the Eastern United States. It is easy to grow and adds value to a landscape both as a wildlife friendly food source and as an ornamental plant. Chokeberry is a deciduous shrub with a lovely, multi stemmed vase shape which is is a great choice for naturalized hedges and borders.
In spring, small clusters of five petal white flowers appear. Buds are a soft pink and stamens red to pink, giving the blooms a delicate look. The flowers are very attractive to early spring pollinators and the plant will be alive with small, buzzing creatures.
In summer, elliptic to oblong, slightly serrated leaves are a dark to medium green. The color can be a wonderful backdrop when planted behind perennials or other plants you wish to highlight. The multi stemmed form of red chokeberry creates a great area for ground feeding birds such as towhee, thrush, thrashers and northern flickers to forage under.
In fall come the berries. They develop over the summer, changing from a pale yellow green to eventual bright red. The fruit adds interest to a winter garden with their bright color and will attract birds to a garden. Berries will persist though winter and go through a few freezes before being eaten by birds. While I have not found them to be a bird favorite they have provided my habitat with a good late winter food source.
Also in fall red chokeberry puts on a dazzling display of colorful foliage. Leaves change from yellows to orange to bright red. During this time the fall color really makes the plant shine. When grown in mass, red chokeberry can be a show stopping area of any fall landscape.
Aronia arbutifolia red chokeberry is an easy to grow, low maintenance shrub. It can be grown in sun or part shade but will produce more berries when planted in full sun. It is tolerant of wet or dry conditions and will stand boggy areas without minding having ‘wet feet’, making it perfect for creek edges or ponds. In a wet soil setting it will sucker and form a thicket and help with erosion issues. Aronia arbutifolia requires little to no pruning and is best as an informal plant. Usually growing 6′ – 10′ in height, red chokeberry will make a small bird and pollinator habitat in a wildlife garden.
Aronia arbutifolia red chokeberry should not be difficult to find in the nursery trade and well worth the hunt. I have been able to locate it in smaller nurseries or a local native plant society can be a good resource for locating it. For a low maintenance, wildlife friendly shrub that will add beauty to your yard for years, Aronia arbutifolia red chokeberry is tops.
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