Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) produces fantastic fruit and it is easy to grow. This berry bush provides a second pleasure: It is an ornamental beauty with beautiful colours throughout seasons. White flowers in the spring, dark green leaves thorugh seasons that transform into blackish purple berries with dark red leaves in the fall.
Quick Growing Guide
Botanical Name: Aronia melanocarpa
Botanical Family: Rosaceae
En français: Aronia noir, Geules noires, Aronie à fruit noir
Water: Moderate to high water consumption.
Various jams and jellies are made with chokeberry fruit. Autumn sees the leaves become crimson and orange. Since it is regarded as a tiny shrub, it is a popular option for gardens with limited area.
It provides year-round enjoyment with its rich green foliage serving as a backdrop for its lovely white flowers in the spring and with the contrast of its deep purple berries snuggled into its red-orange leaves in the fall. Additionally, the plant’s edible berries are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants.
In a space that is three times as big and deep as the container, the plant is. You should loosen the dirt. Add compost or other organic materials to the soil to improve it. Gently tease out the roots of plants that are confined to pots.
The plant should be inserted into a hole that is the same size as its root ball, with the top of the root ball level with the dirt around it. Soil should be inserted into the hole, gently tamped down to remove air pockets, and then properly watered. As they grow, plants require regular watering. Plants should be placed 4 to 6 feet apart. Mulch helps plants retain moisture and manage weeds.
In nature, find chokeberry in peat bogs, swamps, wet woods; on dry sandy or rocky ridges; occasionally in pine woods.
Although chokeberry bushes are quite versatile, they won’t grow well in soil that is too dry or high in lime. Chokeberries grow best in full to partial sun, where the soil is humus-rich, fairly dense to slightly sandy, and slightly acidic. These conditions also favor good water retention. The pH level should range from 5.8 to 6.5.
The condition of the topsoil is crucial for chokeberries because of their shallow, compact root structure. Add high-quality potting soil, such as our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, to a soil that is either too light and sandy or too heavy and clayey in order to improve it. Our compost’s high organic matter content enhances the structure of your soil and boosts its ability to hold water, while its high potassium concentration is ideal for chokeberry cultivation.
Till plants are established, keep the soil equally moist. Plants benefit from mulch. Although they can tolerate drought and high moisture levels, mature plants thrive with modest watering. Provide regular watering and boost irrigation during periods of excessive heat or protracted dryness to maximize fruit yield.
The chokeberry plant needs little to no fertilizer for healthy growth. If desired, spread a thin layer of compost around the base of the plants and apply a balanced slow-release fertilizer in the spring.
Pruning Aronia Melanocarpa
Aronia plants respond nicely to pruning. Prune after flowering in spring.
Most blooms and fruits form on branches that are 5 to 6 years old; older branches bear far less. So, trim back 7 to 8-year-old branches in the winter along with weak, thin new branches. A chokeberry shrub should have an equal distribution of 1 to 6 years old branches. The bush will continue to bear an abundance of fruit in this manner every year. To encourage new growth and a bushier form, cut a few of your bush’s elder branches down to the ground in the final stages of its dormant season.
Plants tend to sucker and be leggy at the bottom.
Pest and Problems
Chokeberries have strong bushes that rarely contract illnesses. Chokeberry shrubs can still be affected by the dangerous fire blight (Erwinia amylovora) and powdery mildew (Erysiphaceae).
Sometimes seen as pests include apple fruit moths (Argyresthia conjugella) and winter moths (Operophtera). Bird damage and an infestation of the spotted wing drosophilia (Drosophila suzukii) pose the largest dangers to the chokeberry’s fruit yield.
Harvest Chokeberry Berries
Aronia berries should be harvested in the late fall when they are mature in flavor. Even after a minor freeze, you can wait. The harvest period starts in early to mid-August and lasts for around three weeks, depending on the variety.
However, you must act quickly when harvesting because birds can quickly consume entire bushes! Using secateurs, remove the full bunches of Aronia fruits, wash them, and then remove the chokeberries from the stems. It is advisable to use gloves because the juice stains so badly. Since few people like bitter-sweet fruits raw, fresh berries are typically cooked or prepared in some other way.
Deer grazing is more likely to happen to younger plants. Before they get established, fence off the area with barriers of your choosing. The quantity of food competition and the time of year have an impact on overall resistance. Later in the season, browsing is less of an issue when there are many other food sources for deer.
Chokeberry berries are used in jams or jellies. Leaves turn red and orange in autumn. As it is seen as a smaller shrub, it is a popular choice for gardens that do not have a lot of space.