Zone: 3 to 8
Soil: sand to loam
Light: Full sun to part sun
Bloom colour: White
Bloom period: Mid to late spring
Height: Up to 8 feet
Attracts: A variety of bees and beetles.
Notes: Black chokeberry is a medium sized shrub that is native to the eastern half of North America including Ontario. Like many other shrubs, it is covered in white blooms for a few weeks in spring followed by a period of bland greenery with the appearance of distinctive dark pendulous berries a the end of the summer. Then afterwards, comes the beautiful red foliage in the fall. The white blossoms become more striking when you take a closer look because they contain many hot pink stamens.
The nectaries of this plant are rich. The flowers will be swamped with mining bees and there are also a number of interesting beetles that may show up as well. Quite a few birds and maybe the odd human will eat the berries if they can get to them before the chipmunks. The berries do ripen fairly quickly and will fall to the ground where they can be eaten and dispersed. Overall, this plant has a high wildlife value and will bring plenty of interest to anyone who wants to observe spring bees in action.
The plant likes moisture, but will tolerate some drought so it is quite adaptable in the garden as long as the soil is reasonably well drained. The plant may sucker, but I have not found this to be a huge problem. Black Chokeberry can be integrated into a perennial bed quite easilty because it is an upright shrub and will not overwhelm surrounding forbs. It would go very well in a corner of a small garden where it can be surrounded by plants which flower when the shrub goes to greenery.
There is a similar species, Aronia arbutifolia, which it is taller and has red berries. It does not tolerate drought as well as Black Chokeberry. Black chokeberry is easy to grow and offers a range of aestetic and wildlife benefits. If you have a smaller garden with no room for trees then consider this fantastic shrub as an alternative.