There has been a lot of research and breeding going on with the Aronia shrub, commonly known as the Chokeberry! Tart and juicy with loads of health benefits, the Chokeberry bush fruit is a highly sought-after superfruit!
Black Chokeberry, also known as Aronia berries (Melanocarpa), these flowering deciduous shrubs are native to the upper Midwest and northeast states and into Canada. There has been a lot of research and breeding going on with the Aronia plants! While the name Chokeberry does not sound so attractive - or tasty - it’s one of the reasons some like to call them Black Appleberries.
The clusters of gleaming white spring flowers which are beloved by bees and butterflies, can be found nestled among the green leaves. Then by late summer through early autumn, those leaves transform into almost every fall color you can imagine! But before the leaves transition, your entire shrub becomes filled in shiny near-black purplish-blue or shiny red berry clusters! They resemble Blueberries in size and are similar in color.
After enough sweetener (these berries have some serious pucker-power!), the juice and fruit are quite tasty!
Most folks use these deep dark berries for their health benefits because they help to eliminate inflammation in the body and are heart-healthy, anti-cancer, and immune system boosters! The Black Chokeberries have more antioxidants than the Red. But the antioxidant levels they contain are more than 340% higher than blueberries! Holy cow!
These fruits are so easy to grow on super hardy bushes that produce many pounds of fruit each year. The beauty of Aronia berries is they all ripen at the same time! The berries are born in clusters. They start to develop soon after the flowers fade and typically ripen in mid-late August. You will want to pick them before they begin to shrivel for the best flavor. They must be pulled or cut from the bushes when you harvest them, making them a nice clean shrub that won’t mess up your pavement or patio!
Once harvested, fill your sink with water, pluck the fruits from the clusters, and put them in the water. Any fruits that float may have a bug feeding on them and should be discarded. The good fruits should be placed on a paper towel to dry.
Then bagged and frozen to use in muffins, cookies, or pies, or use them to make jams, jellies, or sauces throughout the year. Freezing is said to remove some of the astringency and make them more palatable.
Aronia berries are somewhat astringent and taste somewhat like a dry red wine. They are more palatable when you know the health benefits because you know they are great for you… but you may want to use the fruits in smoothies, for baking, or for juice or juice blends! They also create tasty syrup and healthful supplements!
Pick and freeze the clean, dry fruits and use them as you like throughout the year!
Chokeberries grow well in full sunlight, but these adaptable shrubs are moderately tolerant of partial shade! You will get the best flower and fruiting display when you plant in full sun!
Aronia are self-pollinating shrubs, but planting an extra shrub or two to boost pollination and enjoy a much larger yield. You’ll also create a bird-friendly haven that allows you and your feathered friends to enjoy your fill of Aronia berries!
They prefer moist, well-drained soils. Aronia bushes will do well in a soil pH of 5.6 - 7.5, and they are tolerant to drought, soil compaction, and salt.
Provide regular moisture for young plants until they are established. All plants appreciate a 3-4 inch thick layer of arborist mulch over the roots to hold in moisture, enrich the soil, and insulate the roots.
Remember that this shrub's flowers and fruit are born on last year’s wood so the best method of pruning for this shrub is with renewal pruning them every 3-5 years. (Renewal pruning removes just a few of the oldest, fattest stems down to the ground in late winter or early spring - leaving the younger thinner, and more productive stems in place to make the flowers and fruit.)
Trimming the branch tips at any time will reduce the flowers and fruit so be aware of that. Renewal pruning allows the plant to take on its natural form and be most productive. Chokeberries are not plants that like to be trimmed into a formal hedge or sheared plants, in fact, they look better as a naturally tidy informal hedge!
Grown for their superfruit bounty, Aronia bushes are also well-known for their full fluffy appearance, lovely white flowers for pollinators, their native hardiness, and their fall color too!
The red-fruited Chokeberry bushes include Red Chokeberry Bushes, and Upright Red 'Erecta' is a form with more vertical growth. Both have beautiful white flower clusters and also feature clusters of bright red Aronia berries that persist into the winter! As always, these shrubs end the growing season in a flourish of beautiful orange and red fall color!
Red Chokeberry grows to 10 feet in height, with pinkish-white spring flowers that precede vibrant red berries in late summer/early fall. With glossy green foliage turns bright red in fall. For a slightly smaller form, try the Upright Red Chokeberry bush instead!
The black-fruited varieties are prized not only for their great landscape value but more recently everyone has discovered the amazing health benefits of the fruit! The black-fruited Chokeberry bushes that are available include the native Melanocarpa!
Black Chokeberry Bushes have an upright, rounded shape! This is pollinator-friendly, frost-hardy to zone 3, and very easy care! Use in rain gardens, borders, or edible landscapes. The Autumn Magic Black Chokeberry gives you four seasons of beauty! Fragrant white blooms in spring, glossy foliage, purplish-black berries all summer, fiery red and purple leaves in autumn, and multi-stemmed trunk for an effective snow fence in the winter.
Pollinator-friendly blooms, gorgeous foliage, and fall color, plus incredible berries for your health and for the birds! The incredible Chokeberry bush is amazingly versatile and easy to grow! Get your edible landscaping plants at Nature Hills and enjoy your new favorite fruiting shrubs delivered to your doorstep!