Amelanchier trees have it all: masses of spring blossom, autumn colour, and even edible fruits, which are also attractive to birds. Most are compact in habit and are therefore perfect trees for small gardens. They have a number of common names, including snowy mespilus, juneberry and serviceberry.
The growing season starts early for these beautiful ornamental trees: in early spring they bloom on bare branches, their star-shaped blossom giving light to the garden when little else is in flower. These are followed by coppery leaves which mature to a fresh green before developing vivid shades of orange and red in autumn. Edible black berries further enhance the display, which are well loved by wildlife.
How to grow amelachier
Amelanchiers are easy to grow and provide a fantastic season of colour and interest, along with wildlife value. Fully hardy, these North American natives are well suited to growing in the British climate, and they’re low-maintenance too – there’s usually very little need to prune beyond removing dead or damaged growth in late winter. Grow amelanchier in moist, well-drained, neutral to acidic soil in full sun to partial shade. A sunnier spot and an acidic soil will result in the best autumn colour.
How to plant amelanchier
Watch, as Monty Don explains how to get the best results from planting amelanchier trees at the right depth, plus the benefits of adding Biochar to the planting hole.
Best amelanchiers to grow
All amelanchiers have gorgeous spring bloom and attractive foliage that develops fiery hues in autumn. However some have more of a shrub-like or slender habit, while others have more pendulous blossom and deeper autumn colours.
Amelanchier canadensis has more of a shrub-like form than other species, with slightly more upright blossoms. Height x Spread: 8m x 4m
One of the most sought-after amelanchiers, Amelachier lamarckii has fully pendulous flowers and a spreading, multi-stemmed habit. The bronze-tinged young foliage matures to a glossy green, and then develops shades of orange and red before falling in autumn. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit. H x S: 10m x 6m
Amelanchier laevis ‘Snowflakes’
Larger than average white blooms appear in spring, and pink-tinged foliage turns fresh green, and then shades of yellow, orange and red before falling in autumn. Does well in pots. H x S: 6m x 6m
Amelanchier grandiflora ‘Ballerina’
‘Ballerina’ bears masses of blooms, and has an elegant, multi-stemmed habit, making it a perfect winter specimen tree. Autumn colour is red-purple. H x S: 4m x 4m
Amelanchier arborea ‘Robin Hill’
With the growth habit of a standard tree, ‘Robin Hill’ has a compact, erect canopy, compared to the shrub-like habits of many other amelanchiers. What’s more, it has pale pink buds and young flowers, which mature to white, making it particularly attractive. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit. H x S: 6m x 4m
Amelanchier alnifolia ‘Obelisk’
Also known as alder-leaved serviceberry, this variety has serrated leaves with prominent veining. Starting out as vibrant green, the foliage makes a fantastic display of warm autumnal colours before the leaves drop once the low temperatures arrive. White star-shaped flowers with green centres.
H x S: 6m x 1.5m
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Robin Hill’
This erect, small tree bears clusters of pink buds open to pale pink flowers, which mature to white before falling, while coppery leaves mature to green, and then develop red hues again in autumn. H x S: 8m x 4m