Best Aronia cultivar

yeshwant91(Z7a NYC)April 3, 2008

Those of you that have grown different varieties, which one is best for fruit? I've read that there is no difference between Nero and Viking and then again that one is taller, has bigger berries, better fall color, etc.

So looking for someone who actually has grown them for comment.

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hemnancy(z8 PNW)

I can only speak for Viking. Mine are 7-8' tall, produce at least 50 quarts a year on 2 bushes. The berries are blueberry sized. What I really like about Aronia is that the berries are in discreet clusters that hang from a single stem, and all berries in the clusters and even all fruit on the bush ripens simultaneously, making them a dream to harvest compared to all the other bush fruits I grow. I haven't seen Nero bushes or fruit.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:29PM
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yeshwant91(Z7a NYC)

Any Nero gorwers out there?

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 9:13AM
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I have 10 of the old fashion native Aronia bushes and they produced about two to three clusters of berries with about 15 berries in each cluster. My bushes were sold to me as two year old plants this spring. I paid $3.50 a plant. I could not see the 14.50 they wanted for the Nero or Viking varieties. I wanted to see how they did in my climate, here in Ok. Winters in the -single numbers to the summers in the + tripe numbers. Here in Aug. the leaves have a lot of them turning yellow , but they are going to make it with out any moisture except what is sent from above. I know you you did not want to know about our native, but when they mature in a couple of years we can compare them to the improved Euro. ones if you would like.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 8:00PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I've got one Nero bush. It's been in the ground 4 years and is 3.5 or 4 feet tall. It's plagued by lacebugs each year, none of the other various plants in the garden have this problem. By the fall, the leaves have so much damage that there is no real color show. I'm replacing it this fall with a bush cherry ("Joel") and replanting it in a different, more exposed spot. I haven't measured how much fruit it makes, but it's a good yield for a little bush. Not very tasty though...I put them in smoothies.


    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 12:10AM
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I wish I could give you my aronia berries and save you the trouble of planting them. I have the Viking variety, and the bushes are covered with berries right now. Last season I processed these foul-tasting things in the steamer/juicer, but never again. I don't care how healthy they are. Nobody likes the juice.

Don Yellman, Great Falls, VA

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 4:12AM
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Don, I had a similar experience to you last year. Juice was nasty, no matter what I did. I decided to try again this year, and it was a night and day difference -- juice, while still astringent, was much more "edible," being similar to unadulterated cranberry juice, very good when diluted. It makes a very good mixed drink when diluted with somethink like 7-Up and/or other juices.

I attribute the entire difference to the weather -- last year was warm and extremely dry, and the berries were very small, hard. This year, exact opposite, cold and moist, berries were very lush, juicy, and plump. So, I think growing conditions make a big difference.

I posted about my Aronia harvesting on IDigMyGarden forum, with some pictures of the process.

Here is a link that might be useful: Aronia Harvest and Processing on IDigMyGarden Forum

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 7:55AM
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What denninmi says dovetails with the comment distribution about aronia. Uniformly negative from the warmer zones, but appreciative where it is colder. Obviously, one can improve the quality by just watering the plants during the last two months. which varieties do you have, denninmi?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:31AM
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I very much appreciate you pictures and description of your process. I'll want to refer back to it when my aronia are ready for business.

I was able to try fruit from the seedlings at the Home Orchard Society arboretum last year and found them very pleasant to eat fresh. They had at least 3 bushes and at least one of them had berries with very little astringency (at least that I could still taste after having some astringent ones).

I went back to those same bushes this year and they were aweful. They were smaller, drier and all of them were much more astringent. My perception of whether aronia are a useful fruit would be completely different if this year were my first experience.

I chalked the change up to the weather too, but I figured it was due to the fact that this year they just weren't fully ripe yet.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:01AM
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Glib, my aronia bush is the 'Viking' variety. I bought it from Raintree. I only have the one bush now, but I'm kind of psyched to get some more next year, so I'll probably order some other ones.

SE Michigan

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 9:56PM
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Have one Viking, 4 years in ground, 6' high, well branched, made 28 clusters of >= 10 berries each, boiled them in many changes of water to yield 2 quarts juice. Aronia isn't to drink straight; keep frozen and thaw in bits to add to other seasonal drinks, gives red color and astringent tannins, useful for complementing sweetness and acidity. Have seen Nero (NYC skywalk); they are short but bear amazingly. Occasional individual berries mummify, suspect cedar-hawthorn rust, just remove and dispose.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2013 at 3:39PM
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Update: my Viking, now 5 years in ground, has set 250 clusters of >=10 berries each => becoming enormously productive. Has been a wet spring/summer so far in central NJ; again, several aronia berries have rusted (see photo: normal cluster at top, infected berries, bottom; these are not sized up yet on 04 JUN), but aronia seems much less susceptible to it than serviceberry, there is moderate damage to serviceberries this year.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Update: Mid-way into fruit development, with a rather wet spring-summer, my Viking aronia is developing copious numbers of rusted *leaves*; the berries are still only rarely affected but I've rubbed dozens of developing fungus horn clusters from the undersides of the leaves. Suspect an infected cedar in the neighborhood!
Discouraging to find: several shopping malls around the area have planted both cedars and serviceberries. Of course they're both infested with rust. Have left word with mall management to castigate landscapers -- what were they thinking?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2014 at 10:51AM
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