The Q&A Archives: Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima') & Beauty Berry (Calicarpa)

Question: Regarding hardiness of two shrubs: Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'), which I just purchased and Beauty Berry, which I haven't purchased as yet - is hardiness possible in our area, the northernmost section of 6A I believe it is (Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423). I found nothing related in your Q & A section. Thanks

Answer: Your zip code places you in zone 6A, the coldest part of zone 6, yes. (Depending on your microclimate, it might actually be as cold as zone 5.) There are plant details in the plant listing at the Monrovia web site, it is searchable, too. The complete url is very long, you may need to cut and paste it into your browser to make it work correctly. If not, click on the Plant Catalog tab near the top left at the Monrovia web site.

Aronia arbutifolia "Brilliantissima" is very cold hardy, it is considered hardy to zone 4 so that is fine. Both the Callicarpa bodinieri and also C. dichotoma cultivars listed in the Monrovia plant catalog are rated hardy to zone 5 so should also be fine for you. Callicarpa is usually grown as a cutback shrub in colder areas including yours, meaning it may die back to the ground each winter. Trim it back hard in the spring, it will regrow and should bloom and fruit. You may also need to plant several of the callicarpa to enhance fruiting. Since you are planting in the fall, make sure to water if needed to keep the soil lightly damp until it freezes and also mulch heavily in about November. Enjoy!

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