Grow a Black Chokeberry Shrub for Berry-Loving Birds

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Looking to add fall interest to your yard? Learn why black chokeberry is a perfect choice, both for you and for your backyard birds.

Black Chokeberry Shrub Wildlife Benefits

black chokeberryistock.com/Zoya_Avenirovna
Sketches from the autumn yellow leaves.

A lovely and low-maintenance year-round shrub, black chokeberry develops bluish black fruit that songbirds eat in fall and winter. Birds like cedar waxwings, chickadees, eastern bluebirds, gray catbirds and tufted titmice might eat black chokeberry’s late-season crop. But the shrub offers additional benefits for berry-loving birds, including dense thickets that provide shelter and nesting sites. Butterflies are attracted to the spring flowers, and some coral hairstreaks use the shrub as a host plant.

Check out more trees and shrubs with berries for birds, including firethorn, winterberry and more.

Are Black Chokeberries Edible?

Aronia jam next to fresh berriesgojak/Getty Images
Chokeberry jam and fresh berries

Humans can also eat the black chokeberries. They’re high in antioxidants, but you’ll require sweeteners to make them palatable. Nonetheless, they’re a popular food crop for jam, jelly and wine.

Interested in growing more berries for you? Try these berry plants you can grow in pots.

How to Grow a Black Chokeberry Shrub

black chokeberryVia Merchant
Black chokeberry shrubs are tolerant of a variety of growing conditions.

Adaptable chokeberry shrubs tolerate full sun to shade, and wet to dry soil once established. In fact, chokeberry is an ideal pick for wet areas in your yard. The shrub brings gorgeous color in autumn, and it welcomes spring with white flowers. In summer, it boasts glossy green leaves.

Scientific name: Aronia melanocarpa
Attracts: Birds, bees and butterflies
Zones: 3 to 9
Light needs: Full sun or part shade
Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wide
Grown for: White spring blooms and black fall fruit
Foliage: Leaves turn purple or red in autumn

Learn how to grow a native American beautyberry bush.

Cultivars to Try

Low Scape Mound ChokeberryVia Proven Winners
Low Scape Mound Chokeberry with spring flowers

Viking blooms earlier than other chokeberries. Autumn Magic is known for fragrant flowers. Low Scape Hedger and Low Scape Mound offer shorter, narrower options to expand your design possibilities.

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Next, learn how to attract birds with a mountain ash tree.

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Emily Hannemann
Emily Hannemann is an associate digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in magazine writing from the University of Missouri - Columbia. When she’s not writing and editing, you’ll find her swimming, running, or hiking. She knows blue jays are controversial, but she loves them anyway.