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ARONIA arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

Image of Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

James Burghardt

Family

Rosaceae

Botanical Name

ARONIA arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'

Plant Common Name

Brilliant Red Chokeberry, Red Chokeberry

General Description

Unexcelled red fall foliage, masses of small, plump red berries and glossy green leaves make the chokeberry 'Brilliantissima' whole-heartedly embraced by gardeners. A mounding, deciduous shrub native to the eastern United States, it typically forms a thicket by sending out underground stems (rhizomes) into nearby soil that rise and emerge to make new plants. Individual plants are narrow and upright, with a cluster of small, thin, dark brown branches that flare out into a leafy, rounded canopy. The simple, oblong-oval leaves are a nice glossy dark green with tiny teeth on the edges.

By late spring, the branches are decorated with copious numbers of small, five-petaled white flowers that are relished by honeybees. Pollinated flowers become bright red berries by fall that are eye-catching once the bright red leaves drop. The dense populations of plump, small fruit linger well into winter, since birds tend to favor other (better-flavored) fruits before visiting red chokeberry.

Plant brilliant red chokeberry in well-drained, acidic soils that are rich in organic matter for the robust growth that will lead to a robust thicket. It is quite adaptable to other soils and has drought tolerance. Full sun sites are best and lead to the boldest, retina-burning, intense red autumn foliage and best flowering and fruiting. Use brilliant red chokeberry in the mixed border, in wildlife gardens, as a stabilizing planting on a hillside, or alongside streams or lakes. Cut the berried branches for a pretty cutflower accent around Christmastime. This shrub is becoming more popular as an alternative to the pesky, invasive burning bush shrub (Euonymus alatus) that is so loved for its red fall foliage.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 4

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    4 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-8' / 1.8m - 2.4m

  • Width

    5"-7" / 12.7cm - 17.8cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring

  • Native To

    North America, United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, South-Central United States, Texas

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Feature Plant, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    No