A native of thickets in wet areas such as bogs and swamps from Nova Scotia to Florida and west to Michigan, Missouri, and Texas, red chokeberry is a fine plant for problem areas with wet soil. It is leggy but suckers freely and can form a substantial clump that looks well at a woodland’s edge or along the edges of a steam or pond. It also tolerates drought but does not do well in dry, shallow, alkaline soil. In spring it offers clusters of attractive white flowers and dark green foliage; in fall it is noted for its striking red foliage and berries. The berries are edible but so astringent that they are not eaten by most wildlife and so persist into winter.
Type: Deciduous shrub
Outstanding Feature: Red berries; fall coloration
Form: Upright when young; arching and vase-shaped in maturity
Growth Rate: Slow to medium
Bloom: Clusters of white flowers in mid spring
Size: 6-10’ H x 3-5’ W
Light: Full sun to partial shade but produces more fruit in full sun.
Soil: Prefers average, well-drained, slightly acid but tolerates both wet and dry soils.
Hardiness: Zones 4-9
Care: Low maintenance; pruning is not usually necessary
Pests and Diseases: None of significance but susceptible to leaf spots and twig/fruit blight.
Propagation: Seed, collected in autumn and stratified for 3 months at 41o F.; leaf cutting; suckers
Outstanding Selection: ‘Brilliantissima’/’Brilliant’(more compact, more abundant larger berries, better fall coloration than species).