Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a somewhat wide range of soils, but prefers moist, well-drained loams.
Amelanchier alnifolia (the species) is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree which may grow to 18' tall. Var. pumila is a naturally occurring dwarf alpine variety that is native to open shrubby and coniferous forest areas in mountainous areas of the West. Although var. pumila may over time grow to 12' tall in the wild, it typically reaches an open, dwarf-rounded, 3' by 3' shape in cultivation over 5 years. Features showy, 5-petaled, white flowers (to 3/4" diameter) in compact clusters which appear in early spring (April) before the leaves. Flowers give way to small, round, edible berries which ripen to dark purplish-black in June and resemble blueberries in size, color and taste. Berries may be eaten fresh off the plant or used in jams, jellies and pies. Finely-toothed, oval-rounded leaves are pale to dark green. Foliage turns variable shades of yellow in autumn. Alnifolia means leaves (folia) of the genus Alnus (alni) in reference to the similarity of the leaves of this species to common alder (Alnus glutinosa). Pumila means dwarf in botanical Latin. The species is commonly called Saskatoon serviceberry or western serviceberry, and some species cultivars have been grown commercially for fruit production.
No serious insect or disease problems. Rust, leaf spot, fire blight, powdery mildew and canker are occasional disease problems.
Attractive dwarf shrub for shrub borders, open woodland gardens or rock gardens. Good plant for bird gardens (birds love the berries).