Content Detail

Red chokeberry is a tall, multi-stemmed native shrub with abundant white flowers, red glossy berries, and outstanding red fall color. Red chokeberry is a tough, dependable plant with three-season interest, useful for shady, wet sites.  It works well in a naturalized landscape or garden. 

  • Family (English) Rose
  • Family (botanic) Rosaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale North America
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early winter, mid spring, late spring, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Thicket-forming, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow

Size and Form: 

Red chokeberry grows 5 to 10 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide; an upright shrub with a suckering habit.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to the eastern United States; often found in wet areas.

Attracts birds & butterflies:

The fruit is eaten by a number of bird species, usually in mid to late winter.

Bark color and texture: 

Reddish brown bark when young, changing to grayish-brown with age.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture: 

The alternate, simple leaves are 2 1/2 inches long and oval in shape.  Leaves are dark green with finely toothed margins, with red to reddish purple fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

White, five-petaled flowers are arranged in small corymbs (clusters).

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Red chokeberry fruit is a fleshy, berry-like pome, bright red when ripe.

Plant care:

Red chokeberry grows best in moist soil,  but is tolerant of dry soils once established.  Full sun to part shade. Mulch to conserve moisture.  Place at the back of the border as it tends to be somewhat bare on the lower stems.  Prune in spring, after flowering. Prune out unwanted suckers to control size.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

No serious disease or insect problems.

Brilliant Red Chokeberry  (Aronia arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’):

6 to 8 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide; upright habit.  Glossy green leaves turn a brilliant scarlet in the fall.  Flowers are more abundant and the fruits are larger.

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