Shrub native to Northern Asia and North America, long bred for its richly flavoured berries used in fruit juices and jams, or eaten raw. Important bee plant. Now known to be one of the richest sources of antioxidants, even superior to blueberries, sea buckthorn or gojiberries. Planted commercially in North America, Russia, Poland, Germany, the Baltic States and Scotland (mainly for juice production). Yields are among the highest of any berry: three times that of blueberries and ten times that of goji berries.
Aronia juice is starting to appear in health food shops in Ireland, where it often sells for outrageous prices.
Easy to grow with good yields from the second or third year. An established bush can produce 10-15kg of berries per annum, with production continuing for thirty years or more.
When used as hedging, plant in single rows or staggered double rows, 1-1.5m between plants (0.7-1.2m with Hugin).
For better yields plant as stand-alone bushes 1.4-2.4m apart with 3-5 m between rows (the wider spacing if vehicle access is needed).
The picking season extends 4-6 weeks (longer if a number of different cultivars are grown), from late August.
Aronia is very frost hardy (won’t be killed off by a repeat of December 2010), tolerant of most soils. However, it is not suitable for very exposed maritime situations or waterlogged ground.