Native Plant of the Week: Red Chokeberry

Updated: Mar 8

Family: Rosaceae


Name: Aronia arbutifolia - Red Chokeberry


Bloom Time: March - May


Flowers: White with red anthers


Fruit: Red


Soil Condition: average-wet, well drained


Light: Sun to Partial Shade


Height: 6-10' tall by 4-8' wide


Native Range: Eastern North America including Long Island


Zone: 4 to 9

Aronia arbutifolia is a fantastic four season, multi-stemmed shrub. In the spring it is loaded with white flowers and early pollinators before the glossy, dark green foliage emerges. This is followed by bright orange-red foliage in the fall and edible red berries (sweeter than Black Chokeberry but still tart) persisting through January. When young the exfoliating bark is a lovely reddish brown color turning to grayish-brown with age. Best in the back of the garden as it tends to be a bit leggy looking. Great alternative to invasive Euonymous alatus (Burning Bush) and Berberis thunbergii (Barberry). They are not deer resistant, so young plants need protection.


Maintenance: Remember Red Chokeberry blooms on old wood or shoots that come off old wood so prune in spring immediately after flowering as this will produce a 'bushier' look. Prune out suckers to control size.


Benefits: self pollinating, pollen and nectar source, host to several hairstreak butterflies and several moths, important food source for overwintering songbirds when food is scarce, drought tolerant once established and clay soil tolerant


Companion Plants: Symphoricarpos orbiculatus - Coralberry, Solidago odora - Sweet Goldenrod, Solidago nemoralis - Gray Goldenrod, Callicarpa americana - American Beautyberry, Symphyotrichum oblongifolium - Aromatic Aster, Symphyotrichum macrophylla - Big Leaf Aster, Liatris spicata - Blazing Star


pics: KMS Native Plants LLC

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References:

1. https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=ARAR7

2. https://plantfinder.nativeplanttrust.org/plant/Aronia-arbutifolia

3. https://vnps.org/red-chokeberry-shines-in-all-seasons/

#NativePlants #PollinatorPlants #IndigenousPlants #Gardeningwithnativeplants

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