The Complete Guide for Brilliant Red Chokeberry (Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’) Care


The Brilliant Red Chokeberry, otherwise known as the Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ or Black Chokeberry, Aronia arbutifolia var. nigra, Aronia nigra, Photinia melanocarpa, Pyrus arbutifolia var. nigra, Pyrus melanocarpa, Sorbus melanocarpa, is a somewhat well known shrub plant native to the Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and slow growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Brilliant Red Chokeberry Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

In order to take proper care of your Brilliant Red Chokeberry you’ll need to keep in mind the following guidelines:

  • Water: The Brilliant Red Chokeberry wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ in an environment where it can receive partial shade to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Brilliant Red Chokeberry in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Brilliant Red Chokeberry will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' plants

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry belongs to the Rosaceae family, the genus Aronia and the species Melanocarpa, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ (ar-ROH-nee-uh ar-bew-tih-FOH-lee-uh brill-YEN-tiss-ih-muh).

As with other Aronia’s, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Brilliant Red Chokeberry is a plant native to the Eastern North America and NC. This is why the Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Northeast, and the Southeast of the United States.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Brilliant Red Chokeberry is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 3 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a and the ideal climate zone is between 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 17, A1, A2.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, how big does the Brilliant Red Chokeberry actually get? What should you expect in terms of size? Let’s dive right in…

The Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ can grow up to 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) in 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) and 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm) in 3′ – 6′ (90cm – 180cm). 

These dimensions make the Brilliant Red Chokeberry a relatively medium shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 36″ – 72″ (90cm – 180cm) free so the Brilliant Red Chokeberry can spread to its best extent.

Water

In terms of watering, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' care

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Brilliant Red Chokeberry in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Brilliant Red Chokeberry is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, occasionally dry, and occasionally wet properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Brilliant Red Chokeberry requires soil with loam (silt), sand, clay, high organic matter, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry requires partial shade to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a deciduous plant, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.

Flowers

You can expect your Brilliant Red Chokeberry to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this shrub is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Brilliant Red Chokeberry produces some beautiful white, or pink and white flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Brilliant Red Chokeberry have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima' up close

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Brilliant Red Chokeberry is well known for being able to attract butterflies, birds and hummingbirds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for salt, drought, dry soil, wet soil and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Brilliant Red Chokeberry will look best in it.

Most Aronia Arbutifolia ‘Brilliantissima’ owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of prairie and meadow, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Brilliant Red Chokeberry’s best location within your garden is in ponds and streams, beds and borders, hedges and screens, and in small gardens, others use it for landscaping in a firescaping/fire wise, border, wildlife garden, erosion control, mass planting, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Brilliant Red Chokeberry’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Symphoricarpos, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Cercis will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Brilliant Red Chokeberry in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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