Yard & Garden Report


| Share

Aronia: Awesome and awful

Aronia is easy to grow but tastes bitter when eaten raw. It's a fruit crop with great potential.

Aronia in autumnAronia is one of the most promising fruits for gardeners in the Midwest. It is productive and very easy to grow.

Aronia is a beautiful shrub with white blossoms in spring, glossy green foliage in summer, and orange-red color in fall. It is often used in native landscapes.

Aronia is virtually pest free, which makes it popular among organic growers. Rarely do insects bother it.

Birds usually threaten fruit crops, but they leave Aronia alone. No netting or scarecrows are needed!

The production of Aronia is reliable. It blooms in June, escaping damage from late spring frosts. It doesn’t need bees for pollination.

Aronia is awesome. Then why doesn’t everyone grow it?

It tastes awful. The raw fruits have a dry, sharp flavor. Aronia is also called “chokeberry.” That’s not a very appetizing name.

Europeans love Aronia for its nutrition (high in anti-oxidants), and they use it to make juices, syrups and preserves. Processing breaks down the bitterness of the raw fruits and Aronia products are delicious.

Varieties include ‘Nero’, a 4-foot shrub from Russia. ‘Viking’ grows 6 feet tall and was bred in Scandinavia. These are widely available from nurseries and catalogs.

‘McKenzie’ grows 6–10 feet tall and is widely used as a windbreak.  It was released in North Dakota and is available from local nurseries and soil conservation districts.

Our research plots in Carrington have found Aronia to be precocious and productive. Two-year-old stands of ‘Nero’ and ‘Viking’ average 7.8 pounds of fruit per plant. These stands produce 13.6 pounds per plant after six years. Give it a try!


Aronia in bloomAronia fruits


Written by Tom Kalb, Extension Horticulturist, North Dakota State University. Published in the NDSU Yard & Garden Report, August 4, 2014. Photos were made available under Creative Commons licenses specified by the photographers: outdoorPDK, rachelgreenbelt and Tatters


Wiederholt, K. 2014. Northern Hardy Fruit Project - Yearly Production Records. North Dakota State University: Fargo.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.