Plant of the Week: Low Scape® Mound Aronia

Get the low down!
Let's say you want a small plant. Something that is good for mass plantings. You'd like it to look good in spring when shoppers are in the garden center, so some flowers on its compact habit would be nice. And you want something adaptable: cold, warm, wet, dry, sun, part-shade - everything. Fall color would be nice, too. Your customers are interested in native plants, so if we can manage that and good deer resistance it would be great.

Done. We are happy to present Low Scape® Mound Aronia melanocarpa. It meets all of these criteria, and looks great doing it.

Low Scape® Mound grows 1-2' tall and 2' wide. If you want something a little taller, check out Low Scape® Hedger. It's the perfect size for (you guessed it) hedges. Although Low Scape® Mound Aronia will produce black fruit in summer, Low Scape® Hedger doesn't really fruit. These are ornamental selections: if you are looking for fruit production, 'Viking' is your plant.

Both are hardy to USDA Zone 3 and will grow in full sun or partial shade. 

The case for an ornamental Aronia:

Aronia melanocarpa, or black chokeberry, is a really useful and interesting plant. It's attractive, too.

That last bit is important. For a long time it seemed that A. melanocarpa breeding was focused on fruit production. A worthy goal, to be sure. Aronia is a valuable fruit crop option for cold climates. There are some Midwestern farmers who are getting in on the next big thing and growing Aronia for making jelly and wine. Birds like it, too, which helps its case as a good plant for naturalizing.

But it has some really strong ornamental qualities, too. Spring flowers, summer fruit and fall color give it multi-season appeal. As interest grows in using native species for landscapes, it's great to have some new options. Am I the only person out there who is sick and tired of 'Gro-Low' Sumac? (OK, it's fine, but really, let's move on.)

For an elegant argument in favor of Aronia, check out this article from the Arnold Arboretum. It's full of practical observations about the plant as well as a play-by-play of Aronia nomenclature drama. Not my thing, but the taxonomists among you will appreciate it. It certainly beats watching the Detroit Lions.


No comments:

Post a Comment