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How To Propagate Red Chokeberries: The Complete Guide

How To Propagate Red Chokeberries: The Complete Guide

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Paul Brown

Red chokeberries provide a beautiful, edible plant for your yard. However, there are many ways to propagate these plants, leaving you to wonder which is the best. Proper propagation will allow your red chokeberries to grow and mature within a couple of years.

To propagate red chokeberries, wait two years for the plant to mature, then choose between seeds or cuttings for your large gardening pot. Always opt for moist, well-draining soil, then place the plant in partial or full sunlight. Test the soil seasonally and switch it out every two years.

In this post, I’ll cover the perfect propagation process for your red chokeberry plants. I’ll also explain various ways to transplant your chokeberry bush into your yard. Keep reading to learn more. 

1. Wait for the Plant To Mature

Pruning or getting a cutting from a red chokeberry bush that’s too young will cause plenty of issues. For example, you’ll risk harming the plant.

Plus, opening various wounds can make the bush susceptible to numerous diseases. Therefore, you should wait until a red chokeberry bush is two years old before getting cuttings.

See How Fast Do Red Chokeberry Trees Grow?

If you’re unsure how old your red chokeberry bush is, you can wait until it starts to yield berries. Many of these bushes don’t produce fruit until the second or third year. If there aren’t any berries, there’s a good chance that the bush isn’t old enough to produce high-quality cuttings.

Note: If you get cuttings from an old red chokeberry bush, use a wound sealer to prevent diseases and bacterial growth.

2. Choose Between Cuttings or Seeds

According to Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners, there are four primary ways to propagate a red chokeberry bush (source):

  1. Cuttings are stems cut from their base. And they often have plenty of leaves. Remove all of the leaves and berries from the base of the stem, leaving two or three near the top. A red chokeberry cutting should be around five or six inches long.
  2. Suckers grow from the base of the plant. They’re often removed because they require a lot of water and nutrients from the soil. However, you can use these suckers to propagate new red chokeberry bushes. Gently pull them out of the soil and place them in a new pot.
  3. Seeds are the most common way to propagate any plant. Red chokeberry bush seeds should be placed about ¼-inch under the soil. They fall from the berries, so you’ll have more than enough seeds to choose from.
  4. Wood cuttings require more attention to detail, so they’re not as common as stem cuttings. Cut a branch near its base, trim all the leaves and stems off of it, then plant it in well-draining soil. Wood cuttings aren’t as successful as stem cuttings but can provide excellent structural support when they grow.

3. Pick the Right Gardening Pot

It’s always best to use a large gardening pot for your red chokeberry bush propagations. This is because the roots need plenty of room to stretch out.

Many people wait a few years before transplanting the bush to the yard. A sturdy chokeberry bush gardening pot should be about 15 to 20 gallons.

Try the Gardzen 20-Gallon Grow Bags (link to Amazon) to propagate and grow your red chokeberry bushes. These bags have sturdy handles to lift and move the bushes throughout your garden. They also come in a 10-pack, providing more than enough for multiple propagations.

4. Use Well-Draining Soil

Use well-draining soil to prevent root rot and many other plant diseases. If the soil doesn’t drain enough, your red chokeberry bushes will develop weakened roots.

These roots won’t be able to support the plant, which will damage the leaves and limit fruit production.

Fortunately, if you’re propagating into a gardening pot, you can use loose potting soil. It’s ready to go and contains all the nutrients your red chokeberry bushes need to thrive.

Make sure there’s porous fabric (such as the bags mentioned above) or one or more holes under the pot to drain the excess moisture.

5. Provide Optimal Sunlight

Limited sunlight exposure can ruin your red chokeberry propagations. Provide at least six hours of daily sunlight for your red chokeberry cuttings, bushes, seeds, etc. (source).

Keep in mind that scorching temperatures can have adverse effects on your plants. For example, the berries and leaves will dry out if it’s over 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside and your red chokeberry bush is directly under the sun for eight hours. You can use sunshades on those days.

6. Test the pH and Nutrients Seasonally

Testing your red chokeberry bush seeds or cuttings is crucial. Check the soil by submitting samples or using test meters. These plants can handle a wide pH range between 5.0 to 8.0 (sometimes 4.5 to 8.0, but it’s worth keeping the pH within the range above).

You can test the soil pH with a product like this (link to Amazon).

Also, all plants require carbon and nitrogen to grow properly. So, don’t forget to check if there are enough minerals, carbon, and nitrogen in the soil. You can add them by using mulch or homemade compost material.

7. Change the Soil Bi-Annually

Another excellent way to improve your red chokeberry propagations is to change the soil every other year (for those using gardening pots). If you plant your red chokeberry bushes in the ground, you should aerate the soil and add an inch of topsoil, organic compost, or fertilizer every two years.

Changing the soil serves the following purposes:

  • It automatically aerates the dirt, promoting drainage and oxygen retention.
  • Your red chokeberry bushes will have access to fresh nutrients.
  • Switching the soil removes unwanted bacteria and fungi, even if you don’t notice them.
  • It gives you a chance to inspect the roots and check for signs of deterioration.

Final Thoughts

Propagating a red chokeberry doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you prefer seeds, cuttings, or one of many other methods (suckers, wood cuttings, etc.), you can grow multiple chokeberry bushes from the main plant.

Make sure that you provide healthy soil, plenty of sunlight, and optimal hydration.

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