Red Chokeberry

Red Chokeberry – Photinia pyrifolia

Red chokeberry is a native shrub that is commonly found in the Eastern United States. Suitable for Hardiness Zones 4 through 9, red chokeberry grows from six to ten feet high and from three to five feet wide. The plant is easily propagated from seeds, cuttings, or divisions, and has multiseasonal appeal for lawns and gardens.

In landscaping applications, red chokeberry is an ornamental plant that produces small, delicate blossoms in early spring. During summer, the plant has dark green leaves that turn deep red, purple or orange in the autumn. In September, the plant produces its namesake red berries. The glossy berries grow in colorful clusters that last until mid-winter. The shrub is also suitable for creating borders for water features, such as ponds, as the plant tolerates wet, boggy conditions well.

Red chokeberries is also suitable for erosion control along embankments and other erosion-prone areas. Red chokeberry is also an excellent option for borders, either alone in a mass planting or as single addition to mixed shrubs. This versatile thrives in well-drained, moist soil. While red chokeberry tolerates partial shade well, locations with full sun are ideal for growing shrubs that produce vivid fall foliage and abundant winter berries.

Red chokeberry is resistant to drought, pests and disease, and can withstand both salt exposure and pollution. During summer, the glossy leaves are dark green with a grey underside that feels fuzzy to the touch. The leaves grow in an alternate pattern along the slender, brown branches and are obovate shaped with finely serrated margins.

The red chokeberry bush has a slender stems that are thinner at the base. The clusters of white or pink flowers have five petals and are about 1/3 inch in diameter, while the red berries are about 1/4 inch in diameter. When allowed to remain on the plants, the berries attract a variety of birds during late winter when food is scarce.