If you are looking for a super easy super fruit to grow, you’ll want to consider growing an aronia berry bush. This little-known berry bush offers double pleasure. It is grown for its beauty as an ornamental. With deep green foliage as the backdrop for its pretty white flowers in the spring, and with the contrast of its deep purple berries nestled into its red-orange leaves in the fall, it offers year-round enjoyment. And its edible berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients.
Aronia berries, also called chokeberries, are bitter in flavor until they are ripe. Like a persimmon, the aronia berry will sweeten up after a freeze. Many gardeners enjoy the aronia as a berry for juicing, for baking, and for jellies. You will have to be the judge of whether their flavor is right for you. Even if the use of the berry isn’t of importance to you, you will enjoy a lovely bush and birds will feast on these berries during the cold of winter.
Aronia berry bushes (Aronia melanocarpa) are native to North America, and they are suitable to plant in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 3 to 8. The aronia plant was introduced to Russia and to Eastern Europe in the early 1900s where they gained popularity. There are thousands of acres of aronia growing in Europe today. Here in the U.S., aronia is growing in favor for its nutritional value.
What are Aronia Berries?
The aronia berry bush is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant. It has only few special requirements. Begin with a high quality bush from a reputable nursery or grower. There are several online growers that specialize in aronia bushes. Your plant should be about two years old for a successful transplant. You can expect berries around the third year.
Choose a sunny location for your aronia berry bush. While a partially shady location will work too, you will enjoy a higher yield of berries in fuller sun. This bush is not finicky about soil. You can plant your aronia berries in most soil conditions, from moist and boggy soil to dry and sandy soil. Although it isn’t picky, nutrients will increase its health, so add some compost to your soil as you plant this bush.
This resilient bush can withstand wet winters and dry summers. For the first couple years though, try to keep the moisture consistent. Water once or twice a week to provide an approximate inch of water a week to the plant. Once the plant is mature, it will require less water and will be more adaptable to whatever moisture Mother Nature provides.
Late in its dormant season, prune some of the older branches of your bush down to the ground to promote a new growth and a bushier form. Harvest your aronia berries late in the fall when they taste ripe. You can even wait until after a light freeze.
Speaking of freezing, fresh aronia berries can be flash frozen and stored in your freezer for up to a year. They are also a tangy burst of flavor when dried and added to a trail mix.
Pests and Problems
Aronia berry bushes are not prone to disease or to pests. They will rarely develop leaf spot or rust. Both of these are fungal type infections and are cosmetic in nature. They can be avoided if you water your aronia berry bush at the ground level rather than drenching the foliage with water. Plenty of elbow room will allow good airflow around the leaves, too, which will help prevent disease or damage.
Varieties to Try
- ‘Viking’ is a Russian cultivar that has recently been introduced back into the U.S. It is used commercially for its large, high-quality berries. It is a 6-8 foot tall bush that produces a large amount of berries.
- ‘Autumn Magic’ is an ornamental variety that grows to about 4 feet in height. It blooms out in white flowers in late spring and explodes into autumn colors of red and orange late into the fall season. Its berries are dark purple, offering a lovely contrast.
Here are some additional resources on aronia berries:
Aronia A New Crop for Iowa – Iowa State Unviersity
Black Chokeberry Aronia Melanocarpa – Fine Gardening
Aronia Farmer in Southern Europe says
If you want the best of your aronia bush, make sure it grows under much sunshine (hence avoid areas prove to shade). The more sunshine the more naturally accuring sugars will be in the berries. They will be less sour, and tastier.
Hello,my name is Altin am interesting to grow aronia on my country (Albania),can you plaese send me some more informacion about how to grow in what contions and how to use the fruit thank you.
Greg Burke says
I would love to buy some aronia berry plants. And I love this site
Where can I buy aronia plants or seed
kent scheer says
lincoln oaks nursery in No.Dakota has the best variety called McKenzie
Regina White says
rareseeds.com will be selling them this early spring 2021. I bought a set of 2 bareroots for $16. I received 3 plants and they are doing great in winter 2020.
Burnt Ridge Nursery has them https://www.burntridgenursery.com/Aronia-Berry-Bushes/products/37/
When is the best time to plant them.
konsuk schramm says
Can I grow in fl? If I can when should I?
todd penberthy says
did you find your answer? i want to grow near orlando, fla..
Don Brake says
I bought mine from Stark Bros.
Ev Senter says
I would like to grow Aronia berries, but I live in Hawaii, about at 400 feet elevation. It never freezes here. What variety, if any, of Aronia berry bush should I try, and what can I do to sweeten up the berries without cold or maybe even very cool nights?
NeEtta Gillespie says
Typically aroniaberry bushes don’t produce fruit for the first three years. You can buy frozen aroniaberries online at superberries.com. Truly a superfood.
steve bossie says
my viking and galicjanka arena started producing at year 2 . at year 3 i got 5lbs. fruit per bush. in zone 3b n. Maine. ev center, i believe you need a certain amount of cold days for them to produce fruit. with your elevation you may be able to grow them id google your question to learn more. they are very hardy plants. slightly acidic fertile soil and a good amount of moisture will make them produce well. even tho they don’t produce fruit they make a nice hedge with fiery red fall color.
I’m thinking about planting aroniaberry. When Did you bay “Galicjanka”? When can I plant it?
sal the turk says
I have been planting 5 2-3 footers every year for the last 5 years i have about 30 bushes by now from 2 feet to 6 feet ones last year i purchased some from Chicago area i caped them in the same pot they came in before i get the time to plant them they wore already full of fruit so i let them alone and collected about 1 pound fruit from each i usually wash and boil them good till they are melted in water just about an inch or 2 above the fruit after squeezing and staining them i put the juice in a bottle and let it foment like u do in vine making and grape vine is nothing compering this . SAL the TURK Hancock N,Y
Great!! Thank you.
Mary ann Blay says
I have tried this, but I live on a hill and that is where I planted them, so the moisture doesn’t really stay there for any length of time. They died and I was sad about that. Now I live in a wheelchair so my gardening days are over, but life goes on. As long as they can be purchased all is good.
Try growing them in a pot. Many people who are limited by housing space i.e. apartment living grow their plants in large pots on a balcony or porch. Don’t let your wheel chair limit your thinking. Gosh, my knees would love me rolling around in a chair!!! God Bless you!!
Don’t give up your gardening days, google garden tower project or green stalk tower. Both can be gardened in a wheel chair. Grow them on a patio or with lights grow them in the house. I have both. The pleasure gardening gives is to much to let go.
Pat Meissner says
Could this bush be planted indoors with a lot of light in a large container ??
Trish Becker says
I live on the mid atlantic coastline. I have a 3 year old chokeberry bush which is doing very well. The ripe berries are red. Are they edible?
I have read they are. Google it. Supposed to be very healthy fruit
I have a large pine tree on my side yard that has killed everything that had been growing. I’ve been told there’s an acid that comes from a pine tree causing other plants to die. Would the Aronia Berry plant be hardy enough to thrive in the soil that is about 50′ away from the pine tree?
I don’t know about the Aronia berry, but blueberries love acid. You might look for acid loving plants.
The acidity of pine trees is a bit of a wives tale. The green needles are acidic but once they brown they are not. The area that the trees grow in especially if not much else will grow there, as in a lot of pines blocking light and plants or an acidic wetter land area could be more acidic. Pines will drink alot so maybe the area is too dry? If it actually is acidic , you should test it, you could improve that soil to grow the more acid loving plants. Says these can grow in most soil conditions.
Please can aroniaberry be cultivated in Ghana pls help
Is this plant the same as a chokecherry??
Chokecherry and choke berry are two different species. Chokecherry is prunus virginiana, and choke berry is Aronia melanocarpa.
chokeCherry is toxic; chokeBerry is edible.
Chokecherry’s aren’t toxic. I make chokecherry jam every year!
I make chokecherry jam every year also. There not toxic! Make sure you know what your picking first!
Wendy Graff says
The choke cherry seed is toxic. Make sure you remove all the seeds. The berry itself is great for making jelly. My sister and I pick them from wild bushes in the country side around us. Every year.
Do deer and rabbits eat branches
I have read that they are considered a deer resistant plant. Then again, I’ve seen deer munch on a lot of deer resistant plants in my neck of the woods.
Deer absolutely love aronia berries. We had to build a high electric fence to keep them out. They nearly destroyed our bushes.
My brother and I each have two large Aronia bushes for numerous years.Last summer and happening again this summer, each bush produced an abundance of fruit. The fruit dried out and branches died before ripening. We are consistently watering as usual. Does anyone know what the cause is?
How to make chokeberry bushier?
Can I plant aronia berry in the Philippines?
No, they need colder climate and a winter cycle.
Peter Bolton says
We bought ours in the Marinka Garden Centre, Black Sea, Bulgaria
CAN I GROW IT IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
todd penberthy says
you ever find out? i am in central florida and want to grow …
Jennifer Lillehei says
No, it is for zones 3 to 8. You are in zones 10 or 11
Where can I order these bushes? Does anyone know of a reliable nursery?
I got my tissue cultured bushes from Hartmanns nursery in michigan. It’s a great nursery with really good prices imo. There are other places listed in comments above.
I live in nd and don’t have much space do you think I could grow mine in a pot outdoors?
Chokcherry berries are not toxic. We have been making chokecherry jelly for over 60 years and the jelly is the best. The pits are somewhat toxic but we grind them with the berries to make our jelly. I’m 85 years old and still kicking. Draw your own conclusions.
Yes cooking the seeds in jam or whatever destroys the toxin in them. Same toxin as cherry pits.
do you know if this aronia (viking) could be trained as a smal tree, and not as bush? by prunning in automn or early spring?
My 2 aronia bushes are super prolific this year. Bushes are so health y looking & have massive amounts of berries. I’ll be freezing most to use over the rest of the year until next year.
Sal the Turk says
I am at upstate New York zone 5 , About 6 years ago i had planted 2 Arena bushes , i had transfer them from a pot to ground where they are now , a year after at the age of 3 they gave some fruit now they are about 4 feet wide and 6 feed high , and every year i get about 6-8 pound of fruit from these 2 bush,
after i see that they are doing good , decided to plant another 15 of about 18″-to 24″ siblings
3 years ago , and now i have all together 17 the new planted ones last year was loaded with lower and somehow i got half of what i was expected , the soil hear is sort of clayiest i was told to feed them all with spike vitamin and let see , one thing thaw i had to build a chain link fence around them because the deer will eat them to death .
Emilie Gates says
Do I need more than one plant to produce fruit?
no, one plang is enough, it will develop as a bush fast
Penny Olson says
Replying to the person who commented on my first remark saying that they “are grown for beauty as an ornamental.” Didn’t find the whole reply, so just commenting on that part. Aronia berries are higher in antioxidants than blueberries, that are touted as the best by many sources. They are beautiful for sure but also provide an amazingly healthy fruit. Not as sweet as blueberries but that can be managed.
indeed, most probably is a problem with lack of light, not of soil acidity
I’ve heard that chokeberry bushes will spread with suckers. Does this become a problem? Can you dig up a sucker and start a new bush with it?
I planted an Autumn Magic Aronia berry bush last fall. Had several cups of berries from it. This spring it only blossomed in 2 small areas. My first question is: do they have a pattern from year to year, increasing continuously or possibly every other year? 2nd question: The plant has begun to show bright yellow leaves scattered throughout the bush. Doesn’t appear to be chlorosis the entire leaf is yellow (think fall foliage) and I don’t see bugs, mold or other signs of trouble. As a whole the plant looks healthy, a bit sparse but it’s young. Any help is appreciated.
Kimberly R M says
I’m looking for answers on this too. My shrub produced an amazing amount of fruit last year but this year it didn’t produce a single berry. The plant itself looks in fine shape otherwise.
I am in zone 6 in SW Missouri. I ordered Aroniaberries from Iowa DNR forest nursery. They are McKensie variety. I will be planting them in the next few days. Anyone from my zone have them already? Would like to know if the deer tear them up or any growing tips.