How to Grow Amelanchier alnifolia Plants in your Garden

The shrub Amelanchier alnifolia shrub — also known as the Western Serviceberry, Saskatoon, Shadbush, or Juneberry — is a member of the Rosaceae (Rose family).

It is natively found along the Pacific coast of North America from California to Alaska, extending throughout Canada to the northeastern provinces.

Alder-leaved serviceberry - saskatoon
Amelanchier alnifolia photograph by Malcolm Manners.

Amelanchier alnifolia is frequently grown as an ornamental shrub in North American gardens, flowering from April to June and fruiting from July to August.

This shrub has a long history in North America as a food source for Native Americans; the berries are eaten fresh, dried, or in sweet and savory foods as a sweetening and flavoring agent.

Amelanchier alnifolia berries
Amelanchier alnifolia has edible berries, photograph by GlacierNPS; CC.

The branches, twigs, and bark can be boiled into a medicinal tea to treat a variety of ailments.

Gardener's HQ Amelanchier Alnifolia Growing Guide

It is best to plant the Saskatoon in spring. If growing multiple plants, separate them at about one metre (3 feet) apart to optimize air flow quality and reduce the likelihood of disease.

They are cold-hardy and adapt well to various soil environments, but do prefer a well-drained soil.

When the plant is young, prune weak and diseased branches and stems with a pair of sharp pruning shears.

If planning to grow the Saskatoon for fruit production, be mindful that healthy stems produce prime fruit once the plant has aged two to four years old.

Saskatoons do not compete well with invasive weeds, so ensure that your planting area is free and clear of weeds before planting this shrub. It is also recommended to integrate a pest control system into your growing process.

Growing Amelanchier alnifolia can reward you with an attractive shrub and delicious berries with a variety of uses - with regular care, you should have a fully-mature fruit bearing plant within three to five years!

Amelanchier alnifolia plant picture
Amelanchier alnifolia plant botanical picture, sourced by the Biodiversity Heritage Library; CC.

Amelanchier alnifolia Growing and Care Guide

  • Scientific Name: Amelanchier alnifolia
  • Common Name: Alder-leaved serviceberry - saskatoon
  • Growing Zone: USA: 2 to 7; UK H7 (Hardy throughout all European regions).
  • Life Cycle / Plant Type: Shrub, Tree

Plant Details

  • Plant Height (Inches): 120 to 240
  • Plant Spread (Inches): 180 to 240
  • Time of Bloom: Spring
  • Flower Details: White
  • Leaf Foliage: Green
  • Fruit:
  • Growth Form: Upright / erect

Ideal Growing Conditions

  • Best Light Conditions: Partially shady to full sunlight
  • Rate of Growth: Average pace
  • Suitable Soil Types: Acidic, Clay, Loamy, Neutral, Sandy, Well drained.
  • Soil Moisture: Moist.

Caring Conditions

  • Care:
  • Level of Maintenance: Low
  • Propagation: Seed, immediately from fresh seeds, division of suckers
  • How to Prune:
  • Pests:
  • Diseases:

Further Information

  • Can Attract: Birds.
  • Tolerant of: lime.
  • Best Garden Use: In the control of erosion, En masse , Woodland garden.
  • Family: Rosaceae (Roses)
  • Genus Detail: Amelanchier
  • Closely Related Species: As a member of the Roses it is closely related to plants such as Barren strawberry, New Zealand Bur, and Rosa multiflora.

  • Miscellaneous: North American native, Blooms are very showy.
  • Further Reading and References: Here and Here

white Saskatoon flowers
Close up of Saskatoon flowers, these plants bloom from late spring through to early summer, photograph by Matt Lavin; CC.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Amelanchier alnifolia. You may also enjoy the following shrub growing guides: How to grow Pieris japonica and Japanese barberry.