A guide to raising this delicious super fruit

If you purchase an item through links on this page, we may earn a commission. Our editorial content is not influenced by commissions. Read full disclosure.

Are you a lover of lesser-known fruits? Prefer to stick to native plants in your garden? Then you should grow chokeberry berries. These plants have gained popularity in recent years thanks to their new superfood status.

Thanks to their delicious taste and incredible medicinal benefits, aronia berries have been a staple of Native American and Eastern European diets for centuries. Over the past few years, more and more people have discovered these fabulous treats.

Here’s everything you need to know before growing aronia berries at home.


What are aronia berries?

Aronias, otherwise known as aronia, are part of the chokeberry kind of Rosaceae family. This makes it a relative of things like cane fruit and roses.

The most common types of aronia are black (A. melanocarp), red (A. arbutifolia) and purple chokeberry (A. X prunifolia).

Black and red chokeberry berries are more commonly found in garden landscapes than the purple type and they have been cultivated in Europe since the early 1900s. These berries are also grown commercially in eastern North America , where they grow natively.

Many Native American tribes used aronia berries to cure colds because the fruit has high levels of antioxidants. Typically, fruit is ready for harvest between mid-July and August.

You can grow aronia berries in USDA plant hardiness zones 3-8.

Often chokeberry berries are confused with chokeberry cherries because they look alike.

The easiest way to tell the difference is that aronia berries have seeds and aronia cherries as a single stone.

Both types of fruit are excellent for use in the kitchen, which is why some people choose to grow both fruits in their garden. Aronia berries are ideal for growing at home and harvesting to make delicious treats for friends and family.

Best aronia cultivars

In the United States, there are two common cultivars of chokeberry, ‘Viking’ and ‘Nero’, which are used commercially. But you can find many more options for the vegetable garden


‘Viking’ plants can grow up to six feet tall and have particularly large berries. This shrub starts out with dark green leaves that will turn dark purple/red in fall. You may also see pink flowers blooming in late spring.


‘Nero’ also produces large berries and has attractive dark green foliage. This aronia can grow slightly taller with a maximum height of eight feet when properly cared for.


For cultivars that were bred outside of America, you can find Rubina, which is a cross between Russian and Finnish plants. The berries of this shrub are medium-sized and dark purple in color. They taste bitter and are not as sweet as the ‘Viking’ or ‘Nero’ cultivars.


Aronia berries are beautiful to observe in autumn when their color changes from green to dark red, purple and black. Autumn Magic’ is especially ideal for gardeners looking to sprinkle a bit of joy into their outdoor space after summer.

This chokeberry cultivar has particularly bright red foliage in the fall. Like the others on this list, it is easy to maintain.


Originally from Sweden, this delicious variety of chokeberry is often used to make jam and other sweet treats. You will notice pretty white flowers blooming on this plant in the spring. Purple and black berries appear in autumn.

Iric Beauty

A. melanocarp ‘Morton’, also known as Iriqious Beauty, stands compact and stands less than a meter tall. It spreads quickly, without becoming invasive, and establishes new plants nearby via root suckers. The bright orange and red foliage in the fall really stands out.


Growing about 5 to 10 feet tall, depending on exposure and soil, this plant has a medium growth rate and tolerates a good amount of shade. The fruits are purple and quite large.

Here are a few other cultivars that aren’t common in the United States, but are worth checking out:

  • Kurkumacki
  • Arron
  • Galicjanka
  • Fertödi

Plant aronia berries

Aronia berries adapt to different types of soil and sun exposure. But the ideal location is a spot in full sun as this promotes flowering and healthy berry growth.

You can also grow aronia berries in full sun, but expect a smaller harvest.

Aronia berries need rich, well-drained, moist soil. This shrub can also grow naturally in low swamps, clay soils and wet areas. But again, it won’t grow as well in clay soil or too wet.

Try to aim for a pH between 5.8 and 6.5. Due to chokeberry’s shallow root system, the most critical aspect is the topsoil. Use high quality potting soil to cover the top layer after planting the roots in the ground.

When to plant aronia berries?

There are two times of the year when it is ideal to plant aronia berries. The first option is late October or early November, when the winter dormancy period is just beginning. This will allow the roots to take hold before spring.

Alternatively, you can plant aronia berries in early spring if you cover the ground with mulch to protect the roots from possible late frosts.

If you plan to plant more than one shrub at home, you need to make sure there is 30 to 40 inches of space between them.

Planting aronia berries in a pot

It is possible to plant aronia berries in pots. Although this method is not as popular, it is quite doable.

To start, you will need a container that can hold 20 gallons of soil. Fill with standard potting soil.

You should use the same type of soil and repot the shrub every two years in the spring. Additionally, you can add a new layer of mulch to retain moisture.

Caring for aronia berries

You need to water your shrubs carefully for the first two years of their life. Once well established, you can slow down the watering program. The soil should stay consistently moist for the first few years, then an inch or two may dry out.

Fertilizing should be done in mid-spring. Potted blueberries need a second round of fertilizer in late summer because they are limited due to their growing environment and depend on you for nutrients.

Apply a well-balanced, slow-release fertilizer to ground and potted plants. Something formulated for fruits and vegetables is ideal, like Osmocote’s Smart Release Fertilizer.

For maintenance, pruning can keep your shrub in check so it doesn’t get out of control. As a general rule, branches that are five to six years old will produce the best flowers and fruit, which means older branches can be pruned.

As long as your shrub has a collection of young branches, you will be able to reap rewards for many years!

Tear off the suckers that form as they will spread your plant throughout your garden.

Common pests and diseases

Fortunately, chokeberries do not suffer from many diseases and pests. However, some problems can arise when growing this plant at home.

winter moths

When winter butterflies (Operophtera brumata) are in their caterpillar phase, they eat the leaves and flowers of shrubs such as aronia. If your plants are losing their leaves, it could be these invasive moths.

You will need to use a multi-pronged approach. First, keep your plant well fed and watered to support it during the stress of leaf loss. Apply sticky strips to catch certain insects and spray the trees with horticultural oil or a product containing Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki.

wing drosophila

Another common pest of aronia shrubs is the spotted wing drosophila (fruit fly suzuki). This insect is a type of fruit fly that appears frequently in spring and summer. Signs of this infestation are rotting fruit and rotting leaves.

They only feed on damaged or rotting fruit, so get them off your plant quickly and you won’t have to worry about this pest anymore.

fire blight

Fire blight is a bacterial disease that targets ornamental plants such as aronia berries. Caused by bacteria Erwinia amylovora, the name comes from the fact that it gives the impression that the plants have been burned by fire. The bacterium is spread by insects and water.

Look for an amber-yellow liquid that oozes from the plant’s cankers, especially in the spring. Next comes the burnt look, followed by falling leaves and dying shoots. Some plants, especially younger ones, will die.

If you see any of these signs on your shrubs, you need to prune the infected areas. Then treat with a copper fungicide.

Powdery mildew

This fungal disease will leave white dust all over your plant if infected. You should watch out for any minor signs of disease and make sure the climate is not too hot as this fungal disease loves heat.

Head over to our guide to powdery mildew to find out how to identify and treat this disease.

Harvest and use your aronia berries

After months of caring for your aronia berries, you will be able to harvest. Usually, the harvest takes place in August and lasts about three weeks depending on your region. Remember to be quick when picking your berries, as the local birds may swoop in first and take some!

To harvest, simply cut the berries with secateurs. Raw berries can be bitter, which is why many people decide to use them to make jam and jelly and mix fruits with sugar.

Was this article helpful?

Yes No ×

We appreciate your helpful feedback!

Your response will be used to improve our content. The more feedback you give us, the better our pages will be.

Follow us on social networks:

Facebook pinterest

Leave a Comment