Native Plant Trust

Aronia arbutifolia

red chokeberry

This attractive, multi-stemmed shrub blends into the landscape when not in flower or fruit. It begins its display with small white flowers and deep red anthers, followed by plentiful red fruits in fall and deep red foliage. This is a great plant for moist to average soils. More sunlight produces more flowers and a deeper red fall color.

Click on these links to read in detail:  General Description | Benefits | Ecology | References

Height: 5-12 ft
Spread: 4-8 ft
Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Bloom Color: White

Characteristics & Attributes

Cultivation Status
Part Shade
Soil Moisture
(84) Atlantic Coastal Pine Barrens
(59) Northeastern Coastal Zone
(83) Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands
(58) Northeastern Highlands
Ornamental Interest
Fall Foliage
Summer Fruit
Spring Bloom
Attracts Wildlife
Host Plant
Attracts Songbirds
Attracts Bees
Urban Environment
Compaction Tolerant
Salt Tolerant
Drought Tolerant
Additional Attributes
Low Maintenance
Erosion Control/Soil Stabilization
Landscape Use
Rain Garden
Attractive Fall Foliage and/or Ornamental Fruit
Red Fruit
Red to Purple Fall Foliage

North American Distribution

General Description

Bloom Description: Flowers appear in late May to early June and are small and white with deep red to maroon anthers. The flowers appear in masses making a spectacular show.

Growth Habit & Shape: A multi-stemmed shrub with small dark twigs and exfoliating bark. Aronia can spread by root suckers, forming colonies of plants.

Soil Preferences: Thrives in wetlands or occasionally flooded areas, but is nicely adaptable to average garden soil.

Root Description: Aronia has a fibrous root system and spreads by suckers, forming colonies.

Garden Uses: This is a wonderful shrub for a wildlife border. The flowering and fruiting characterisitics make it a nice specimen, and its growth habit lends itself well to filling gaps in shrub borders.

Best Management & Maintenance: Red chokeberry sometimes gets leggy, and can be pruned by cutting it to the ground periodically and allowing fresh growth to come up from the base. The best pruning method is to remove 1/3 of the largest branches over a 3 year period to keep the plant robust. In a hedgerow, the plant needs little attention. Plant in a sunny spot for best ornamental value.

Common Problems: Biotic: no serious disease or pest problems, but the plant may get leaf spot or fruit and twig blight if excessively stressed.


Ornamental Value: The flowers are small but beautiful in mass, and the fruits are visually exquisite and attract birds in winter. The fall foliage is a brilliant red that rivals Euonymus alatus.

Wildlife Benefits: Flowers are visited by numerous pollinators, and berries provide food for birds and mammals in late winter. Protect from deer browse!

Other Practical/Environmental Benefits: Bank and soil stabilization, erosion control

Use in place of: Berberis thunbergii, Euonymus alatus


Swamps, wet thickets, peatland pocosins, bogs, fens, wet pine flatwoods, margins of freshwater wetlands

Response to Disturbance: This suckering shrub can regrow after being entirely cut back, and will also endure occasional periods of drought.

Native State Distributions:
Canada: N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.
USA: AL, AR, CT, DE, D.C., FL, GA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV.

Wetland indicator status: FACW


Return to Top

red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia from Native Plant Trust
red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia from Native Plant Trust
red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia from Native Plant Trust
red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia from Native Plant Trust
red chokeberry - Aronia arbutifolia from Native Plant Trust