Black Chokeberry

Aronia Melanocarpia is often known by the common name, black chokeberry. It is used as an attractive ornamental plant for gardens. These plants have delicate white blossoms in spring, black berries, and foliage that provides beautiful autumn colour. They are extremely hardy and resistant and will thrive in many places. Since they are naturally an understory or woodland edge plant, they grow well underneath trees. Though most people are not aware of this, aronia berries are also edible. Though they are extremely bitter and not pleasant when eaten off the bush, they can be useful for making jams, wines, juices and other consumables and science suggests that they have many health benefits.

Growing Aronia Melanocarpia

Aronia Melanocarpia, or black chokeberry, is a good shrub to grow in a partially shaded corner. It is very resilient and will thrive just about anywhere, though it would prefer not to be in a shallow soil over chalk. These are easy plants to grow and can provide year-round interest in your garden. It is slow-growing but suckers prolifically and forms a spreading shrub. It can be excellent for forming layers in an informal, wild or cottage garden, especially where more delicate plants do not thrive so successfully.

Buy a small aronia melanocarpia plant and after planting, it will require little or no maintenance, other than possibly to curtail its spread. If you wish to grow the plant from seed then it is best to sow them as soon as they ripen on the bush either in the ground or in a cold frame. Seeds must go through a period of cold in order to grow. Seedlings should be kept in a cold frame for their first winter and then planted out in the spring.

The bushy shrub will be fully mature in around 2-5 years. Though it is deciduous, you may find that in a sheltered spot, the plant can hold onto many of its leaves year round. Native to North America, these plants thrive easily in most climates and are hardy down to at least -10 degrees Celsius.

Once you have one plant you will never need to buy another. The plant can easily be propagated as it throws up many suckers each spring, each of which can be uprooted and replanted easily.

While suckering may disrupt a very ordered and precise garden, this versatile shrub is perfect for informal and low-maintenance spaces, forest gardens and permaculture-based layered garden designs.

Flowers bloom in July and August and seeds ripen from October to December. Berries are best when fully ripe and should be picked after they have been through a few frosts.

Why Grow Aronia Melanocarpia in the garden?

Aronia Melanocarpia is the perfect multi-purpose shrub. It is pretty throughout the year, with its white blossom, black berries and reddish foliage in autumn. It is also excellent for attracting bees to the garden, thereby benefiting the garden as a whole.

What is more, this versatile plant also provides the berries for use in jams. Aronia berries are high in pectin and can help jams made with low-pectin fruits to set properly. While very tart, they can be delicious in combination with other more commonly used fruits and grow well alongside them.

Quick Facts

Latin Name
Aronia Melanocarpia