Sambucus Nigra, Elderberry, Black Elder - Plant
Although these plants are deciduous, which means they re going to lose their leaves during the winter, they make such a statement during the summer months that they really are worth having in the garden.
Elders have deeply veined, serrated foliage and produce large flat clusters of flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by small black berries which provide food for many species of birds.
The berries can be harvested and used for making elderberry wine or jam.
Sambucus plants are better known for their herbal uses than for their ornamental value, but the Black Lace Elder is well worth growing in your landscape.
Common name: Elderberry - European Elder, Black elderberry, American black elderberry, Blue elderberry, Europea
Bloom time: May to June
Height: 8.00 to 20.00 feet
Difficulty level: Medium.
Planting & Care
Grow in medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils, but prefers moist, humus ones.
Plants spread by root suckers to form colonies. Prune suckers as they appear unless naturalizing is desired. Plants also spread freely by self-seeding in optimum conditions.
A large number of late winter pruning options include (a) pruning out dead or weakened stems, (b) shortening one year stems or (c) cutting back to the ground to rejuvenate. Unpruned plants can rapidly become unattractive and weedy in appearance.
Although plants are self-pollinating, fruit yields can be increased by planting more than one cultivar together.
Sunlight: Full sun but will tolerate partial shade.
Soil: Does well in virtually any soil including heavy clay or light soils.
Water: Keep the soil moist.
Temprature: Hardy to -30 degrees F.
Fertilizer: Seedlings and adult trees are Nitrogen lovers--give chicken manure or copious amounts of compost for best results.
- Plants can spread somewhat aggressively in optimum conditions.
- Some susceptibility to canker, powdery mildew, leaf spot, borers, spider mites and aphids.
- Branches are susceptible to damage from high winds or from heavy snow/ice in winter.
- The syrup, tincture or glyceride of these berries is excellent for treating the common cold and for overall increase in immunity.
- The fresh green leaves may be infused in olive oil to make an emollient embrocation for treating sunburn, rough skin, age spots, and/or diaper rash.
- The common variety makes an excellent hedge or can be added to a cottage garden to add height.
For medicinal use, please consult appropriate doctor / physician before use.