Aronia arbutifolia Red Chokeberry for Birds and Pollinators

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.

Aronia arbutifolia flowers

Aronia arbutifolia Red Chokeberry flowers

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.

 

Aronia arbutifolia summer leaves

Aronia arbutifolia summer leaves

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.

 

Aronia arbutifolia berries

Aronia arbutifolia berries

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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Comments

  1. Sue Sweeney says

    I have never seen wild Aronia (Photinia, now I guess) in Southern CT. The state herbarium doesn’t have a sample for our area. The NRCS map shows it for our county but that doesn’t mean much – could be the extreme north end. My guess is that it doesn’t grow in warmer areas near the sea coast. Anyone else have similar experience?

    • says

      Hi Sue, I have a client in Rye who has a few Aronia in her garden, located right next to the Long Island Sound. They are thriving and happily feeding the local birds.

  2. says

    Great informative post! I checked and it is listed for my county, so I am going to investigate buying and putting some at my place. Wet feet describes my place to a tee!

    While looking it up, seems the accepted scientific name down here in FL is Photinia pyrifolia, which popped up when I put Aronia arbutifolia in the database search box. They list Aronia arbutifolia as a “synonym”. I think I’ll never get use to the scientific names. They even recently changed the accepted name of a plant that I have used for years! Their progress seems to be my confusion ;)

    Thanks for the info Karyl, I see more bird food in my yard because of this article.
    Loret T. Setters recently posted..Wainin’ Wabbits?

  3. says

    This is one of the native shrubs that is on my ‘wish list’. I have a client who has several in her garden and they are so lovely and do seem to tolerate wet feet without any issues. I’m not sure why they are not used more often, probably because they are still a bit difficult to find, at least here in southwestern CT.

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