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Aronia - Growing Guide
Chokeberries are related to Sorbus and Pyrus and make attractive deciduous suckering shrubs. The flowers are white and appear in the spring but perhaps the best feature of this genus is its brilliant autumn colours and red or black fruits. They originate from woodland and swamps in North America and were first introduced into the UK at the start of the 18th century.
Aronia are extremely tough hardy plants that fit in well to a shrub border or can be grown as larger shrubs in a woodland context. They are often grown in the car parks of supermarkets which proves their resilience.
A. arbutifolia, the red chokeberry, has a bushy erect habit and grows 5-10ft in height eventually. The undersides of the leaves are covered in a grey hairy indumentum but are dark green above. The berries are red and the flowers are borne in corymbs 2½in wide. A. arbutifolia ‘Brilliant’ has superb bright red leaves in autumn.
A. melanocarpa, the Black chokeberry, also has an upright habit but grows to a slightly smaller size of around 6ft in maturity. The leaves turn a glossy dark purple in autumn and the corymbs of flowers which resemble those of the hawthorn are rather smaller than those of the red chokeberry.
A. prunifolia is a cross between the two species and the fruits are purple-black. Its habit and characteristics are intermediate between the two species.