7 Top Elderberry Varieties to Grow in Your Backyard

Though they are not widely known, elderberries are one of the most versatile and productive plants in the garden world.

A mass of black elderberries hanging on a branch.

Native to many parts of the United States, they have offered shade, protection, beautiful flowers, and a tasty berry to their keepers and the local wildlife for generations. In short, they require very little care and give back so much!

Whether you choose to grow them as a hedge, a place for butterflies to visit, or for food and medicinal recipes, you won’t be disappointed by the benefits they offer. And this plant is hearty enough for even first-time growers to master.

If you live in a growing zone that is pleasing to this shrub, I highly recommend giving elderberries a chance.

Choose the perfect elderberry bush for your yard from our list of Top 7 varieties | GardenersPath.com

You can certainly propagate existing plants – especially if you are fortunate to have them growing wild in your region. But many gardeners choose to buy proven varieties from nurseries and garden centers.

The Best Elderberry Tree and Shrub Varieties

We’ve identified seven of our favorite cultivars for the home gardener to include:

  1. Adams
  2. Black Beauty
  3. Black Lace
  4. Blue
  5. European Red
  6. Lemon Lace
  7. York

1. Adams

This native cultivar of Sambucus canadensis goes by the common name “Adams.” It is one of the most common elderberries grown in North America and is similar to those found growing wild.

Adams Elderberry

The signature white flowers, and large clusters of dark purple fruits, make it easily identifiable as a beautiful yard accent.

At full height, this beautiful bush can reach between 6 and 10 feet tall. It will thrive in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9.

Find this plant for sale as a 4” potted shrub available from Amazon.

2. Black Beauty

A new import from Europe, this variety has very dark leaves, pinkish blooms, and a unique lemon scent.

It is best suited for US growing zones 4-7 and prefers moist or even wet growing conditions.

Black Beauty
Black Beauty

A smaller elderberry breed, this plant will grow to no more than 6 feet at maturity, but responds well to pruning.

Like other elderberries, it produces luscious fruits that have become popular for making delicious wines. Buy two to ensure proper cross-pollination.

You can find this plant for sale as a potted shrub from Nature Hills Nursery.

3. Black Lace

This unique version of the common Sambucus plant has dark leaves that appear lacey throughout the growing season. When the flowers come on, you’ll be delighted to find that they are pink!

This plant also produces the same versatile berry as other more common varietals.

Black Lace Elderberry
Black Lace Elderberry

Many gardeners find that the plant’s need for moisture makes it a perfect rain garden addition.

A bit smaller than other bushes, these plants will grow to just 8 feet tall at full height. It’s easy to prune, so feel free to trim it to the height that works best with your landscape design plans.

The Black Lace variety thrives in US Hardiness Zones 4-7. It is available as a shrub from Nature Hills.

4. Blue

This plant is native to the western United States, Mexico, and the West Coast.

With large, powdery-blue berries, it can sometimes be confused for a form of blueberry. The fruits on this stunning bush are known for having a rich flavor.

Blue Elderberry

This blue variety differs from others in that it grows best from seed. It thrives in warmer regions, and therefore is best suited for growing zones 3 through 10. At maturity, it can reach a height of 10-30 feet, with a spread of 18 feet under ideal growing conditions.

Seeds for this unique plant are available from Amazon.

5. European Red

This imported beauty has amazing cherry-red fruits in the fall, and light green, feathery foliage makes it a beautiful yard accent.

Owners of the plant are usually stunned by how birds and pollinators are attracted to the large, showy flowers. Butterflies are almost always nearby!

Red Elderberry Seeds

Propagate in the spring for a full-grown, eye-catching bush within two to three years. It has the potential to reach up to 20 feet tall in growing zones 3-8. Please note that some experts caution against eating varieties with red berries, and many favor black varieties since red ones tend to be pungent and bitter, with many seeds.

You can expect this variety to reach a mature height of 10-20 feet.

Purchase seeds to start this plant from Amazon.

6. Lemon Lace

Also known as Lemony Lace, this is a very hardy and showy plant that has feathery, light-colored leaves. S. racemose produces red fruits in the fall, after the white flower bunches have died away.

Lemony Lace Elderberry
Lemony Lace Elderberry

Amazingly deer-, cold-, and wind-resistant, it does well in full sun and is a prized plant in the northern United States. It’s versatile enough, however, to thrive in partial shade in southern states as well.

A smaller cultivar, this type typically attains a height and spread of 3-5 feet at maturity.

Plant in zones 3-7 and enjoy this adaptable plant with its uniquely beautiful chartreuse color. Please note that some experts cautions against eating S. racemose cultivars, i.e. those with red berries.

Lemony Lace shrubs are available from Nature Hills.

7. York

Another old-style elderberry, this one is reported to have the largest berries and the highest fruit yield.

This resilient breed is also cold tolerant, making it a perfect choice for zones 3-9. Many growers use it as a natural fencing solution, since bushes can grow up to 12 feet tall.

York Elderberry
York Elderberry

Fall brings about a beautiful color change in this plant. Foliage becomes bright red before dropping off for the winter.

York is a cultivar of the American canadenesis, and is available as a shrub from Nature Hills Nursery.

York and Adams elderberry with white flowers and dark purple fruit, on a shrub with green leaves.

Elderberry Collection, 2 Bare Root Plants

Though most varieties of elderberry are self-fruiting, you can encourage higher yields by planting another cultivar of the same species nearby. York and Adams make excellent companions, and you can purchase bare root plants paired conveniently in the Elderberry Collection that is available from Burpee.

Which Plant is Best?

With so many options to choose from, it may be difficult to decide on a favorite. Luckily, most elderberries grow well together, giving you the choice to try multiple breeds for a rainbow of florals.

Check out our list of the best elderberry varieties to plant in your yard: https://gardenerspath.com/plants/fruit/best-elderberry-varieties/

If it is your first time growing, you will likely do well with an established bush in a pot.

Remember that every breed thrives in moisture and works well in butterfly ecosystems. You can’t go wrong with the benefits that these varieties provide!

Which elderberry species or cultivar do you have experience growing? Do you prefer to choose by foliage, flower, or berry? Please leave your pick of the best in the comments!

And since we know that you’re an elderberry fan, be sure to check out our some of our other guides such as:


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different types of elderberries.

Product photos via Hirt’s Gardens, Nature Hills Nursery, Arvice Seeds, and rusli8. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.

About Linsey Knerl

Born and raised in a small Nebraska town, Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mother of six who enjoys blogging and working hard on her 3 1/2-acre Nebraska homestead. When she’s not working on her next fantasy novel, you will find her in her kitchen, perfecting the Danish recipes of her grandmother with those special ingredients you can only find in a backyard garden.

4.8 4 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
159 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hannah Keir
Hannah Keir (@guest_1136)
2 years ago

I grew up in northeastern Pennsylvania on wild elderberries. I now live in southeastern Arizona, a completely different growing zone, and I miss them! I want to cultivate a medicinal garden, and I would be so happy to find a variety that can grow in zone 8-9. Any suggestions?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Hannah Keir
2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Hannah. There are several types that will do well in your zone, including the Adams, Blue, and York cultivars. Good luck this season- let us know how adding them to your Arizona medicinal garden goes!

daniel
daniel (@guest_2066)
Reply to  Hannah Keir
2 years ago

Hi, I also grew up in Penna. and on wild elderberries, to me its the best pie I have ever had… and like you we moved to the desert close to Golden Valley and Bullhead City. We have been trying to grow elderberries here… the first two years the sun and heat was and is brutal on the plant – no matter how much I watered, it wasn’t enough to develop fruit/berries. We have weeks of 100+ degree heat and the sun is also very damaging to the plants. This year we went to the extreme and built a shade… Read more »

Cissy Vaughn
Cissy Vaughn (@guest_2842)
Reply to  daniel
1 year ago

Hi, Daniel— Wow, please post your Elderberry Pie Recipe– I haven’t been as intrigued by anything in quite a while! Thanks!!

Emma
Emma (@guest_3812)
Reply to  daniel
1 year ago

Question- I live in Las Vegas Nevada, I want to grow elderberries and wonder if they will do well in this NEVADA heat followed by cold in the winter? What is the best variety to grow and is it better to plant them in shade or mostly sun?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Emma
1 year ago

Hi Emma, Well, let’s see… Las Vegas spans zones 9a to 8b, so you may be able to grow types that are tolerant of this climate, such as the ‘Adams’ or ‘York’ varieties – but it isn’t going to be easy. The winter will be manageable, since all cultivars that I know of are cold hardy, as long as proper irrigation is provided. It’s the daytime heat of the summer that will be your main concern. Salty and easily compacted soil are issues common to your area as well. Of course, taking on challenges and growing delicious produce as a… Read more »

Shelly Holley
Shelly Holley (@guest_5071)
Reply to  daniel
1 year ago

Do you share your recipe for elderberry pie?

Jacob Fox
Jacob Fox (@guest_5585)
Reply to  daniel
8 months ago

They grow Mexican elderberry trees in Tucson AZ without shade. The trees defoliate in summer, (the dormant season for them) but keep their leaves the rest of the time and produce elderberries. Not sure how similar/different they are to more traditional elders in terms of medicinal qualities or how hardy they are, but they are related.

karen
karen (@guest_6717)
Reply to  Hannah Keir
4 months ago

western pa we used to pick them and make elderberry jelly

moranda sanders
moranda sanders (@guest_1216)
2 years ago

I want to grow elderberries to make syrups, jams, jellies and wines. I am located in Louisiana. Which plant would be best for these recipes?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  moranda sanders
2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Moranda! In Louisiana, you are likely located in USDA Hardiness Zone 8 or 9. The Adams and Blue varieties should do well, but the York is our favorite for canning and winemaking, since it offers prolific yields. Good luck, and happy gardening!

Eileen
Eileen (@guest_1265)
2 years ago

I live in CT – what type do you recommend me getting? Or what 2 different types for cross pollination? Thanks so much.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Eileen
2 years ago

Hi Eileen. You’ll definitely help to ensure bigger harvests if you plant a few different types near each other. This is a great idea! Even though CT isn’t particularly large, you do have some variation in climate across the state, with growing zones stretching from 5b in the north to 7a in the south. Any elderberry cultivar should act as a good pollinator for other types. York and Adams do well together, and should produce nicely in your zone if given the right growing conditions. Planting cultivars with different maturation dates will also help to provide an ongoing harvest- and… Read more »

Jaimee
Jaimee (@guest_1270)
2 years ago

I live in Long Island, NY on the north shore and am dreaming about starting a medicinal garden in my backyard as well as purchasing a farm either upstate NY, western MA or PA to grow elderberries on a larger scale. Any advice on what varieties would do well in these areas? Thank you!

Wanda
Wanda (@guest_1284)
Reply to  Jaimee
2 years ago

OK, so I live in Upstate SC and want to plant elderberry bushes. I have read about several of them. However, all of them except the “Common Elderberry” say they are a 2 year plant. Therefore I take it you could plant the Common Elderberry and any other variety and only have to re-plant one of them every other year. Do I have this correct? Which plants do you suggest for Spartanburg, SC?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Wanda
2 years ago

Hi Wanda. Thanks for your question. Spartanburg is located in USDA Hardiness Zone 7b, or Zone 7a if you reside a bit outside the city and further to the north. And lucky for you, all of the varieties that we recommend in this article do well in this growing zone, as long as they have the right growing conditions! I’m not sure where you got the information about two-year or biennial plants. Elderberries are perennials that typically start producing fruit within 1-3 years of planting, and they will continue to produce for many years, given the right conditions. They are… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Jaimee
2 years ago

Hi Jaimee. Wow, this sounds fantastic! On the north shore of Long Island you’re in zone 7a, and all of the varieties that we recommend in this guide should do well there. I’d need more detail to know more specifically what growing zone you would be in depending on where your farming plans might take you- the USDA offers an excellent interactive hardiness zone map that you can search by zip code, and I recommend checking that out. To give you a rough idea, for update NY you’re probably looking at zones 3b-6a, depending on how far upstate you go.… Read more »

Frank Holmes
Frank Holmes (@guest_1321)
2 years ago

I read that the Red Elderberry that grows in the
lower Cascades here in Oregon is poisonous?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Frank Holmes
2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Frank! First and foremost, it’s important to proceed with caution when you’re considering eating any new or previously unknown foraged foods. The roots, bark, and leaves of the red elderberry are definitely poisonous, but the jury’s still out on the fruit itself – indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest harvested, processed, and ate these berries for countless generations, but on the other hand, some studies suggest that the seeds may contain toxic compounds. This is important, since the red variety is packed with seeds! Whether or not they’re actually poisonous, they’re not very palatable, and are… Read more »

Carol
Carol (@guest_1341)
2 years ago

My lemony lace elderberry came with a warning label not to eat the berries, which is not a problem as the birds are quick to get them anyway. Also, the deer nibble on the new growth in spring and summer. That being said, it is the prettiest addition to my garden, it practically glows.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Carol
2 years ago

Thanks for the feedback, Carol! We double checked, and you’re right- unlike the black lace (an S. nigra cultivar) which has black berries, the lemony lace cultivar is a cross between ‘Sutherland Gold’ and ‘Dropmore Fernleaf,’ both varieties of S. racemosa- or red elderberry. Though it’s up for debate whether or not these berries should be eaten (see our earlier reply to a question about the wild variety that grows in the Cascades), it’s always better to err on the side of caution if you are uncertain- and the birds do love them! As for enjoying the foliage, kudos to… Read more »

Cynthia Young - Allen
Cynthia Young - Allen (@guest_8449)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 months ago

I have two Green Lace Elders, would they be okay to help with pollination for another higher yield type of Elder out here in SW Washington State?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Cynthia Young - Allen
2 months ago

In SW Washington you’re in Zone 8, and many varieties should do well there. I’m not familiar with the name ‘Green Lace’ – perhaps this could be the ‘Lemony Lace’ variety? This cultivar of S. racemosa doesn’t require another type for cross-pollination, and the red elderberries that this species produces don’t share the same qualities as black berry-producing types in terms of edible use – these are considered to be the most toxic of the Sambucus species. ‘Black Lace’ and ‘Sutherland Gold’ are other S. racemosa cultivars that might serve as good pollinators for the type that you’re growing. If… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 months ago

Just realized I may have misinterpreted your question, Cynthia- if you’re asking whether this type can help to pollinate other higher-yielding varieties, this would depend on the species and bloom time.

ruby
ruby (@guest_1410)
2 years ago

Hi!

I love this article. I have been researching elderberries because I am trying to figure out if we can grow them in a narrow area (SE section) of our yard. I read it spreads by suckers. Can we control the spreading since the area we are planning to plant is really narrow? The area is 10 ft wide with a pathway so we can access the air conditioning unit that is situated there. We are in Raleigh, NC.

Thanks!
Ruby

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  ruby
2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Ruby! Elderberries do spread by suckers, though some varieties spread more readily than others, and this also depends on whether they have an ideal growing environment or not. Like any plant that spreads this way (such as lilacs), you’ll want to dig out the unwanted suckers once a year or so, and stay on top of this to prevent unwanted spread. Suckers that you dig up can be used to start new plants in another area of your garden, or you can share with a gardening friend! An area 10 feet wide may be a tight… Read more »

Matthew
Matthew (@guest_1449)
2 years ago

I’m considering trying to make cuttings of elderberries near me to plant as a hedge row on an often wet side of my driveway. Is there a particular variety to look for or buy for that kind of purpose, or will Adams & York do as well as any other? I mention them because I know they can be found in the area (Central Maine, Zone 4b). Cheers!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Matthew
2 years ago

Hi Matthew. Thanks for your question! York and Adams make a great pairing, but York might not be the best choice for a hedge since it doesn’t grow as tall as other varieties. If height is what you’re after, European varieties (S. nigra) tend to grow the tallest in comparison to the American (S. canadensis) cultivars. Try ‘Beauty’ or ‘Black Lace’ if height is what you’re after. Otherwise, if you’re okay with maxing out around 6 or 12 feet, the average top heights at maturity for York and Adams respectively, these should do well in your area. Keep in mind… Read more »

Libby Hamilton
Libby Hamilton (@guest_1464)
2 years ago

I live in SE Kansas. What would be the best variety? We used elderberry syrup this year for the first time and would like to grow our own.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Libby Hamilton
2 years ago

Hi Libby! It looks like you’re in growing zone 6a, so any of our recommended varieties will do well, given that your planting location provides the right conditions. Be sure to grow at least two plants to get the best harvest. Good luck, and enjoy the homemade syrup once your berries come in!

Sheron
Sheron (@guest_1480)
2 years ago

Hello, I live in Farmington, N.M., which I believe is zone 6 a. I’m looking for a bush or tree that will provide food and protection for birds. There are hawks in the area and I would like to offer birds a sanctuary here. I need something that grows at least 6 ft.and the foliage is dense. We are pretty dry here but I could supplement the area through irrigation. The trees are shaded in the morning but would have full sun in the afternoon. Do you think elderberries would be a good fit for my requirements? I was thinking… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sheron
2 years ago

Hi Sheron, thanks for your question. Many varieties will do well in your zone, and the S. negra species is known for its height in comparison to the American variety. But S. canadensis types like the Adams can also grow to fit your height requirements. If you’re able to plant another cultivar in addition to the Adams, you should do well with ensuring good cross-pollination. The birds will be thrilled! But keep in mind that they do prefer cool and moist but well-draining locations with some shade over anything hot and dry. With a good irrigation plan, this could work.… Read more »

Peggy Wyman
Peggy Wyman (@guest_1489)
2 years ago

I live in Idaho Falls, Idaho (Zone 5). I just planted 2 American Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) today. I have another elderberry that never produces fruit, but does flower. It’s probably 4-6 years old and I don’t know the variety. What varieties do you recommend for cross pollination? How close do they need to be together? I want to be able to eat all the fruit without worry (meaning not the red ones!)

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Peggy Wyman
2 years ago

Hi Peggy. Thanks for your question! S. negra is well-regarded for its fruit, as is S. canadensis. It’s the S. racemose varieties that you want to avoid if you’re not a fan of the red fruit. Usually planting any two cultivars of the same species within 60 feet of each other should suffice for good cross-pollination, with at least two plants. All types are known to be partially self-fruiting, so it’s surprising that you’ve never seen any fruit at all on the plant that you have. Could be an issue with the fertility of the soil. Can you describe anything… Read more »

Peggy Wyman
Peggy Wyman (@guest_1497)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 years ago

Thanks for your reply. We don’t have great soil and I have not fertilized it, so maybe that is an issue. It is probably at least 5 years old. It gets quite a bit of sun, but is in shade in the morning. The plant itself looks healthy. Hopefully my new plants will produce, but they are all the same variety, so I’ll probably buy one more variety. I will look for S negra.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Peggy Wyman
2 years ago

Hi Peggy! Shade in the morning and a plant that looks generally healthy are both good things! The Horticulture Dept. at Cornell recommends fertilizing every spring with ammonium nitrate, and checking your soil’s pH before you start isn’t a bad idea- 5.5-6.6 is recommended for these to thrive. Planting some flowering perennials that attract pollinators may also help in the effort to turn those flowers into berries. If you haven’t already, check out our post on growing elderberry for more tips beyond the varietal advice offered here.

DimarieC
DimarieC (@guest_5435)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
10 months ago

Shouldn’t they be different varieties/types for cross pollination?
Also, I wonder if Black Lace and Black Beauty would be good cross pollinators for each other?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  DimarieC
8 months ago

Yes, ‘Black Lace’ and ‘Black Beauty’ are compatible pollinators! Any varieties of the same species that bloom at the same time will work well together for cross-pollination.

Francis Keays
Francis Keays (@guest_1500)
2 years ago

I live in Kuna, ID and saw that I am in 6b zone. But communities that are around me are in 7a. Is there much of a difference and what edible plant would do best here? We have very hot summers and cold winters. I am not looking for height, just pleasant eating, baking and making syrup,

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Francis Keays
2 years ago

Hi Francis, thanks for your question. Many gardeners have noticed that their growing zones have shifted over the past decade or so, and local microclimates have an effect on our gardens that the general USDA Hardiness Zone map does not always indicate. Which can make it difficult to figure out what you should plant! There’s not much of a difference between the zones in your case, but keep the conditions in your own garden – in terms of available light, qualities of the soil, etc. – in mind. With appropriate growing conditions, Adams and York are both cold tolerant, with… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy (@guest_1501)
2 years ago

We live in Prescott, Arizona (Zone 7). I’m looking for an elderberry that can be used for medicinal reasons and I don’t want it to get too tall. Can you recommend one for me? Also, can I have just one shrub or are two needed for cross pollination? Thank you!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Tracy
2 years ago

Hi Tracy! They’re self-fruitful to some extent, but you can expect bigger harvests with at least two plants grown in close proximity. Stick to American varieties of S. canadensis (rather than European S. nigra) if you’re looking for a shorter stature. But keep in mind, many of these will still reach 10 feet or more. With the right conditions, Adams or Johns should do well. Nova is another nice cultivar that has less of a horizontal spread. Just be sure that it’s watered adequately, especially during those long Arizona dry spells! Shade is going to be key if you want… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy (@guest_1800)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 years ago

I’m back and now have the space to grow Hawthorns that can get large. With that in mind, and still living in Prescott, AZ (Zone 7), do you still recommend the Adams or Johns or Nova? I also want to make sure the berries are medicinal. Thank you.

Tracy
Tracy (@guest_1801)
Reply to  Tracy
2 years ago

I mean Elderberries! I want both actually but since this is about Elderberry plants, I’ll stick with that!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Tracy
2 years ago

Yes, these are still recommended! If you’re OK with height, S. nigra varieties can be planted as well. Any cultivar that produces an edible berry could be used medicinally, though we can’t provide any specific recommendations on that front (and recommend consulting with a medical professional).

Thanks for your mention of hawthorn- this is on our list to cover in an upcoming article. 🙂

Tracy
Tracy (@guest_1838)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 years ago

Allison, I found a place that sells the Adams and Johns! They tell me that the pH of the soil needs to be between 5.5 and 6.5. Our soil is 7.2. Do you think that will be a problem? Their suggestion is to add soil sulfur which I don’t mind doing when we plant them but am hoping this won’t have to be an ongoing thing. Thanks!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Tracy
2 years ago

A soil test was a great idea! In addition to the pH, what type of soil do you have? Spring is a great time to amend the soil with sulfur, so that’s a plus. But this isn’t a quick process, and it’s best to do when plants are not already present. The Michigan State University Extension has some great information on this, but here’s a quick summary for you: It isn’t the sulfur itself that does the job, but rather, bacteria in the soil converts it into something that the plants can use (converting the sulfur to sulfuric acid, and… Read more »

Tracy
Tracy (@guest_1858)
Reply to  Allison Sidhu
2 years ago

Our soil texture is Sandy Clay Loam. I’d like to plant the elderberries next Spring so I wonder if it would hurt to amend the soil now with soil sulfur so that it can get a head start. Thanks for your advice!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Tracy
2 years ago

Amending now is a great idea. Sandy soils need less sulfur whereas clay usually requires more, but this combination composition will likely be somewhere in the middle. Good luck!

Melissa Evans
Melissa Evans (@guest_1510)
2 years ago

I live in Central Nebraska – Zone 5. Last year I planted a black lace elderberry and it’s doing great. What kind should I plant with it to get the most (and best tasting) fruit production for canning?

Kelly
Kelly (@guest_1552)
2 years ago

I live in Southwestern Ontario and am looking into which variety of elderberry would be best for pies. In particular, I am looking for one that the berries would be ready in September as we are often away quite a lot in August and don’t want the berries to go to waste.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Kelly
2 years ago

Thanks for your question, Kelly. S. canadensis (the American type) is preferred by many for use in pies, since the fruit is generally a touch sweeter than what’s produced by the S. nigra cultivars. But it’s going to be difficult to predict the exact week when your fruit is ready to harvest, since this depends a lot on the weather and your local growing conditions. Make sure they’re watered well while you’re away in August, and cover them with bird netting to prevent too much of your crop from getting eaten up before you get back home. In growing zone… Read more »

Patricia Marquis
Patricia Marquis (@guest_2457)
2 years ago

Hi, I planted 2 elderberry Adams and 2 wilder S. elderberry bushes, 5 feet from each other. Do you think they have enough space? I live in Maine. If you can describe the wilder S. variety and characteristics would be great. Will they cross pollinate well in the right soil/spot? Also I found several bushes similar to the elderberry on the side on my road. They have many black berries in the same fashion my elderberries do but leaves are not serrated. I won’t do anything with them but I was curious to know if elderberries ALWAYS have serrated leaves.… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Patricia Marquis
2 years ago

Thanks for your message, Patricia! There are many elderberry lookalikes, and when you’re aiming to identify a wild plant, you need to keep the full habit in mind- berries, leaves, flowers, etc. Several types of dogwood are sometimes confused for elderberry since they have similar growth habits in shrub form, but their simple leaves are a dead giveaway. As far as we know, all varieties of elderberry have “compound,” feathery, or toothed (rather than “simple” or smooth) leaves, which are serrated on the edges as you described. Pokeberry, another lookalike, also has smooth leaves but the berries grow along the… Read more »

Sarah G.
Sarah G. (@guest_2463)
2 years ago

I live in mid-Michigan and just stumbled across a plant that looks a lot like the Adams or York black elderberry plant! Our property is 5 acres of old farmland and we’re always finding new surprises as we clean it up! I’m not 100% sure if it is, but once I determine it is, are they safe to use for medicinal or homeopathic purposes? I know it has really great health benefits, and I take black elderberry during the winter months here to help stay healthy so I’m mostly interested in using it for homeopathic healing. An awesome benefit would… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sarah G.
2 years ago

Thanks for your message Sarah. How wonderful that you found some wild elderberry plants on your property! As you likely already know, whenever you plan to consume a wild plant, you need to be able to positively identify it with certainty first. Having said that, we’re not medical experts so we cannot advise as to what might be appropriate for medicinal use. Sambucus nigra cultivars are commonly found in elderberry syrups and tinctures, and it’s delicious in preserves and desserts!

Regina
Regina (@guest_2637)
1 year ago

I want to plant 2 types of elderberry. I live in Michigan- can you help me out with what would be best? I want to use the berries for medicinal use.
Thank you,

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Regina
1 year ago

Hi Regina,

Michigan growing zones range between 4a and 6b, depending on where you’re located, so most varieties will do well if they’re given adequate space, shade, and watering in well-draining soil. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is what’s most commonly used medicinally. ‘Black Lace’ is one of my favorites, or try cold-tolerant ‘York.’ And be sure to plant in pairs with two different cultivars of the same species for the best harvest.

Amanda
Amanda (@guest_3677)
1 year ago

Hi- I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and am wondering if you have a recommendation for me for a good Eld. plant to make syrup. I’m wanting to steer away from the higher toxicity plants. We have space so can get any size and either have more shaded or sunny areas. Thanks!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Amanda
1 year ago

Any of the common black varieties are great for edible use such as making into syrup, and they prefer partial shade. Most cultivars will do well in zones 5-6, given the right growing conditions including good drainage and adequate watering, with enough space provided between plants. Check out our guide to growing elderberries for more info, and be sure to plant at least two for the best harvest. Good luck!

Gretta
Gretta (@guest_3803)
1 year ago

I am wanting to plant a few of these on our property but wondering if, like many berry producing plants, I should locate them away from the driveway. I love the idea of having berries for the birds and wildlife but would prefer not to increase the likelihood of messes on the vehicles and driveway area.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Gretta
1 year ago

Great question, Gretta. Elderberry isn’t nearly as messy as something like mulberry, but it may be hard to diligently harvest all of the fruit as soon as it ripens (and before it hits the driveway) once the plants mature. You might be able to get away with a driveway border that doesn’t affect your vehicles if you prune the plants, though!

Deborah
Deborah (@guest_4023)
1 year ago

I live in south central Kansas and would be planting in full sun. As we are prone to droughts, which plants would you recommend? I’m interested in the medicinal aspects of growing elderberries. Thanks for your help.

daniel
daniel (@guest_4040)
1 year ago

I grew up in western pa, we would pick the elderberries along side the railroad tracks.. mother made the best elderberry pies… we live in golden valley az, a hot dry desert area. I bought yorks, st johns, and adams… I found out I needed to build a shaded green house to get the long hot sun from cooking the plants… we have had this now for three years now, last year we harvested enough berries to make 6 large pies… I was in heaven… I had not had elderberry pie for close to 50 years… the thing I have… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  daniel
1 year ago

Those pies must have been so satisfying- congrats on figuring out how to adapt to your new climate and successfully grow plants that mean so much to you!

Faye Sharabi
Faye Sharabi (@guest_4099)
1 year ago

I want to plant eldeberry in eastern south dakota. I have a lot of space and I want to plant mostly for the berry. I wont be able to plant until late June. Please advise to which is best.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Faye Sharabi
1 year ago

Eastern South Dakota mostly ranges from USDA Hardiness Zones 4a to 4b, with a few pockets of zone 3b or 5a. Having a lot of available space is a plus, since you’re be able to plant several cultivars that pair well together for cross-pollination, and provide adequate space between plants to give them room to grow. For berries, ‘Adams’ is one of my favorite cultivars, and it pairs well with ‘York.’ Both should do nicely in your area, given the proper growing conditions.

Check out our article on growing elderberry for more tips!

Carol Ann Campbell
Carol Ann Campbell (@guest_4258)
1 year ago

Hi I live in Fredericksburg, Va zone 7 and want to get an elderberry plant. Which do you suggest…space is a problem for me. Looking for one that would be the smallest but possibly provide good fruit. Thank you.

1nikanor1977@gmail.com
1nikanor1977@gmail.com (@guest_4377)
1 year ago

I am in Colorado, Denver area and I just bought Black Beauty. At the nursery I was told to plant next to cultivator bush to produce berries. I’ve searched google without certain success. Would you help me with that? Can I plant black currant and elderberry together to pollinate Each other? Thank you in advance for your advice!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  1nikanor1977@gmail.com
1 year ago

Black currant and elderberry will not pollinate each other, since they’re different species. For a good harvest in USDA Hardiness Zone 5b, plant another S. nigra cultivar, like ‘Black Lace,’ within 60 feet of the other bush. For more tips on growing elderberry, check out our guide here.

Kat macdavid
Kat macdavid (@guest_4555)
1 year ago

Hello, I would like to grow elderberries for medicinal syrups. I live In southern California and I’m not sure what type I should try to grow. I appreciate any feedback.
Thank you,
Kat

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Kat macdavid
1 year ago

Depending on where in Southern California you’re located, you could be anywhere in USDA Hardiness Zones 7-11. Elderberry can be difficult to grow in hot, dry climates because these plants prefer cool, moist conditions. You will need to provide your shrubs with shade, and plenty of water. ‘Adams’ and ‘York’ can do well through Zone 9, and they may be able to thrive in warmer regions as well, given a bit of extra TLC and attentive care.

Danielle M
Danielle M (@guest_4638)
1 year ago

I am going to buy an elderberry bush and have read that the American elderberry is poisonous. Is that true or not? Where is a good place to find recipes for elderberries?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Danielle M
1 year ago

While the raw seeds, stems, and leaves of all types of elderberry are poisonous, most varieties of both American and European elderberry are edible when the fruit is cooked. Blue and purple berries as well as flowers are edible. These berries have large seeds, but cooking them destroys the glycosides that they contain and makes them safe to eat.

As for recipes, we don’t have any currently on our sister site, Foodal. But we are working on adding some as soon as we can! Perhaps some other readers can share their favorite recipes.

Danielle M
Danielle M (@guest_4650)
Reply to  Danielle M
1 year ago

Had that same thought to were can I find recipes for my elderberries. I looked on Pinterest and oh my, I found a lot.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Danielle M
1 year ago

Isn’t Pinterest a great resource? Glad you found some recipes! Let us know what you make with your berries. 🙂

Leah Thompson
Leah Thompson (@guest_4642)
1 year ago

I live in Topanga, CA (zones 10a & 10b), which varieties of elderberry do you recommend for my region.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Leah Thompson
1 year ago

This plant generally prefers to be moist and cool, so you’ll need to provide plenty of water and shade when growing in your area. A few favorites for warmer zones are Mexican elderberry (S. mexicana, aka Tapiro) or blue elderberry (S. caerulea).

Don
Don (@guest_4745)
1 year ago

Last year, we planted a Lemony Lace elderberry. In the middle of summer, several main branches died back to the base. What little was left survived the winter and so far there’s no repeat of the dying branches. It’s in full sun all day. We’re in zone 7B south of Baltimore. It gets regular watering. How much pruning can we do to get a better shape, and when should we do it? Any idea about what can cause a dieback?

Susan
Susan (@guest_4878)
1 year ago

I was out picking wild elderberries last evening when I noticed the stems that held the berries were of two different colors, one greenish white and the regular deep purple. The bushes were of the same leaf, both mature berries, and the fruit was identical. So why is there a difference in color??

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Susan
1 year ago

Interesting… were these wild bushes or cultivated? Perhaps this was new growth vs. older growth. Can you send a photo?

Jennifer
Jennifer (@guest_4976)
1 year ago

Are these elderberries?

1A86AFD5-0C8C-41BA-8018-0ED3AF5BC229.png
Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Jennifer
1 year ago

No, it’s not elderberry. It has more elongated leaves, with berries that grow in flat clusters.

If I had to guess, I’d say it looks a bit more like buckthorn. Where are you located? Do the leaves and stems change color in the fall? We’ll look into this a little more closely for you. In the meantime, please check out our article on berry foraging and identification.

Jennifer
Jennifer (@guest_4977)
1 year ago

Is this elderberry bush?

552BA1FE-A20D-4F6B-9B55-1BFD942BC576.png
02A96A2B-3DA0-4246-B568-606EC3F6340C.png
Andy
Andy (@guest_5136)
1 year ago

I’d love to grow Black Lace and (being greedy) would love to pair that with a York. Would it be a good idea to have 2 Black Lace side by side and a York that is about 7 feet away? I’m also in Zone 5B in the midwest area that has plenty of sun. The idea is to grow berries for syrup of course.

Sandee
Sandee (@guest_5198)
11 months ago

Just moved to North East Texas (Sulphur Springs) and have Tons of these bushes with beautiful berries growing all over. I’ve been told they are elderberries. I’m from The desert in Calif. so I have NO IDEA what any of the things are that grow here in my area! The photos I see on the sites are just to small and blurry for me to make a definite identification(I am visually impaired). Help🥴

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sandee
11 months ago

Thanks for reaching out, Sandee! You’re definitely right to use caution when you encounter a berry that you can’t identify with full certainty, and I can understand how this would be even more difficult for someone with any type of visual impairment, such as yourself. Are you able to utilize the magnification settings on your computer or mobile device, to enlarge images online? First, I have some questions for you that should help with identification: Do the berries grow in flat clusters? What color are they? Can you describe the shape of the leaves? Is it possible for you to… Read more »

SueDe Vries
SueDe Vries (@guest_5434)
10 months ago

Hi there. THANK YOU for all the good information. WE have a fully mature Sutherland Gold Elderberry on our back fence in full sunlight in chilly Colorado Springs. THe squirrels and birds love it, but I was hesitant to try the berries. Now I know that I can eat them. It appears most like your Lemony Lace variety. My husband wants to know if we should prune it now? It is a full 10 feet tall and 10 feet wide at least. I say leave it alone. What do you think? We leave the leaf material underneath it for mulch.… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  SueDe Vries
8 months ago

Over all, I’d say pruning is largely up to you. If you need to prune it down to keep it compact if you’re growing near a building or other plants, feel free to trim it to size. Otherwise, many gardeners prefer the look of elder’s natural habit.

Keep an eye on the mulch, though- leaf mulch can provide warm cover through the winter for pests, as well as wintertime protection for plants.

Kayla Gaona
Kayla Gaona (@kaygaona)
8 months ago

Hey there. So my husband and I started our own bakery and we now also offer Elderberry in a variety of items. We are pretty excited to possibly be planting quite a few plants on my parents farm. We live in a 6b planting zone in Kentucky and the summers here can be brutal with high temps and very little rain. Which plants would you suggest to pair together?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Kayla Gaona
8 months ago

Yum, elderberry baked goods are delicious!

Elderberries prefer cool and moist conditions in the shade, so you’ll need to provide protection from the sun and plenty of water during the summer. Given the conditions that they like to grow in, most varieties will do well in Zone 6 – ‘York’ and ‘Adams’ is a favorite combo. Good luck!

Faith Beemer
Faith Beemer (@guest_5599)
8 months ago

I live in Boerne, Texas, near the Texas Hill Country. We don’t have a very wet climate but I would like to grow here for medicinal purposes. I make a syrup from dried berries but I would like to expand to make it fresh and make jams and such as well. Which variety would do best in a drier, hotter zone? I do have an area of my property that somehow is wetter and has partial shade.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Faith Beemer
8 months ago

Starting in that wetter area that has some shade is going to be key, Faith, since these are the conditions that elderberry prefers. You will also have to stay on top of your plants’ needs, providing extra water and perhaps even additional protection from the sun during particularly hot and dry periods. Boerne is located in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, just on the edge of the warmest climate zones where elder plants are known to thrive. In fact, you’d probably do best to grow Mexican native species that are known for their blue berries. If you are looking for a… Read more »

James Roller
James Roller (@guest_5604)
8 months ago

Thank you for this article. I’ve been thinking about starting a small farm and have been leaning towards a vineyard. I was hoping to make wine, amd then I thought maybe Elderberry wine could be the way to go. I’m convinced now I want to farm elderberries and make a spectrum of products.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  James Roller
8 months ago

This sounds like a delicious and rewarding option, James. Where are you located? Wishing you the best of luck with the farm!

Julie
Julie (@guest_5634)
8 months ago

I am an avid canner and I was wondering what the best variety of elderberry is for juice and wine and for elderflower extracts? Also very interested in its medicinal properties. Can one or 2 varieties meet all these desires for me?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Julie
8 months ago

Yum, elderberry wine… 🙂 Many varieties of American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) tend to be popular, as they produce excellent yields when grown under the conditions that they enjoy. ‘York’ and ‘Adams’ are favorites!

Annie
Annie (@guest_5671)
8 months ago

I love all the fabulous advice you give. Thank you! Maybe I can chime in? I live in southwest Oregon near Roseburg, along I-5. Hubby says zone 8b. We have beautiful rainy winters that sometimes hit freezing and get a few snows, and in the last 5 years (since we moved here) some unusually brutal summers, that are dry and hot, as high as 105°. I’d love to have a medical hedge. We live on a mountainside and our yard is fenced to protect from deer. That being said, the soil has not been improved and rocky. Should we make… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Annie
7 months ago

Thanks for your message, Annie. You’re correct that you’re located in Zone 8b, and some areas in Roseburg are shifting into 9a. In addition to protection from your trees, additional shade covers (especially until plants become established) and supplemental irrigation will be needed during the heat of the summer. Keep an eye out for alkaline soils in your area- elderberry does best in soils with a pH of 5.5-6.6. Planting on a slope can be great for drainage, but keep in mind that elderberry has shallow roots. For medicinal use, ‘York’ and ‘Adams’ are top picks that do well in… Read more »

Chase
Chase (@guest_5717)
7 months ago

What kinds, if any, won’t become aggressive with suckers? I am in zip code 94501 in the coastal SF/East Bay area.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Chase
7 months ago

S. canadensis in particular is known for putting out suckers (and these can be pruned or dug up to start new plants), whereas varieties of S. nigra and S. racemosa are not – though I can’t confirm whether any species is entirely non-suckering in all growing conditions. In USDA Hardiness Zone 10, blue elderberry (S. cerulea) may be your best bet, but this type may also produce suckers readily.

Charlene
Charlene (@guest_5718)
7 months ago

I live in zone 6a in Idaho. Can you tell me what varieties would be best. I’m thinking I could make room for 2 plants. Would love something that doesn’t get too large and that is highly medicinal. Can you direct me? Thanks so much for your help. Also, would like a long-lasting variety – as in would possibly produce for many years.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Charlene
7 months ago

Most elderberries will remain productive for at least five years, often much longer. And luckily for you, all of the varieties outlined in this article should do well in your growing zone, given the conditions that they need to thrive! While most types do grow rather large, they can be pruned, or you might be able to locate dwarf cultivars from some nurseries. Cultivars of the S. nigra species are most commonly used in herbal medicine.

Rachel
Rachel (@guest_5740)
7 months ago

Hi. I live in northern Mexico. We have long summers, very hot sun for a month and short winters. Which plants should i get?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Rachel
7 months ago

The blue varieties do best in northern Mexican growing zones, and they are native to this region.

Barbara Simoes
Barbara Simoes (@guest_5799)
7 months ago

I like the look and size of both the Black Lace and the Lemon Lace Sambuca, and I was wondering if they would work together as cross-pollinators. I can’t find any specifics on this. The answer is always much more vague. Thank you for any help you can provide.

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Barbara Simoes
6 months ago

Great question, Barbara. ‘Black Lace’ is a cultivar of S. negra while ‘Lemon Lace’ is a cross between two S. racemosa cultivars. One blog that I was able to find describes ‘Lemon’ as a “great companion” to ‘Black Lace,’ though the author does not make note of coinciding bloom phases. Either way, the ‘Lemon’ variety is known more for its foliage than its flowers and berries. Cross-pollination will depend on whether or not their bloom times coincide. The black variety blooms in early summer, but I have not been able to track down the typical bloom period for the lemon… Read more »

Vivian Strahan
Vivian Strahan (@guest_5861)
6 months ago

Hello! I am in Katy Texas (Zone 9A) could you please tell me which elderberry would grow well in my area? I have a place which is quite shady but not deep shade; and a place where the Elderberry would get 6 hours of sun but be shaded from the hottest summer sun. Thank you in advance!

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Vivian Strahan
6 months ago

Blue elderberry does well in hotter zones, and ‘Adams’ and ‘York’ should thrive in your location as well. Sounds like a great location for growing these – just be sure to keep them watered well during the heat of the summer!

Narelle Kelvin
Narelle Kelvin (@guest_5878)
6 months ago

hi. We have a new build in Cape charles VA Easternshore. Our property borders an ugly garage and although we are planning on a privacy fence I am thinking of planting trees as a nice outlook from the kitchen and to grow high enough to hide most of the nextdoor garage. I want a fast growing tree/shrub surround/hedge large enough without huge problematic root systems. How do elderberries fare here in Va; in a small yard and near the beach?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Narelle Kelvin
6 months ago

Small world, Narelle – my husband grew up on the Eastern Shore, north of you in Chestertown! Elderberry is tolerant of saline soil and salt spray, and it should do well in your Zone 8a climate. It also has shallow roots, so this is a good pick for your location. The only item of concern may be your ability to provide adequate space for your plants to spread. Planting two cultivars with similar blooms times (such as ‘York’ and ‘Adams’) is required for abundant berry production, and you can expect a maximum mature height and spread of about 12 feet… Read more »

Manny
Manny (@guest_5888)
6 months ago

Can elderberries really help to fight corona virus?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Manny
6 months ago

All viruses known for causing the common cold – rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, etc. – can respond to immune-boosting supplements and herbal remedies. Doing whatever you can to boost your immunity and stay healthy is advised, above all else. Prioritize good rest and healthy eating, avoid crowds where exposure is likely, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow (rather than your bare hands), wash your hands frequently and well, and encourage others to do the same. According to Sumathi Reddy at the Wall Street Journal, “Public health experts say there’s no known substance we can take to decrease our… Read more »

Sarah M
Sarah M (@guest_5890)
6 months ago

Hi there!
Super interesting article and comments! I’m located in southern CA in 10a with some 9b zones. Based off the comments, it appears my options would be York, Adams, Mexican Elderberry, or Blue elderberry… is there one that may work best for medicinal (syrup), have a somewhat high fruit yield, look pretty, and thrive (possibly) in a pot?

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Sarah M
6 months ago

Thank you, Sarah!

The S. nigra cultivars are generally considered best for high fruit yields and medicinal use, i.e. ‘York’ and ‘Adams.’ But blue elderberry fruit and flowers may be used medicinally as well.

Be sure to keep potted plants watered well – they’ll need good drainage, but they won’t be happy if you let the soil dry out either.

Jennifer
Jennifer (@guest_5900)
6 months ago

My husband and I have family in Europe and we are in love with elderflower smell and elderflower desserts (not the berries). When we came home I made sure to purchase and plant a black elderberry to be able to use it in the many ways we had tried. I have been extremely disappointed in the fragrance of my variety, and it was not anything like the big leafed huge crowns of elderflower we loved in Europe. I use the berries but I still want the fragrant yummy flowers. What variety should I get to be ensure the yummy flowers?… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Jennifer
6 months ago

Great question, Jennifer. Sounds like you’re in a wonderful location for growing these! Do you know which black elder (S. nigra) cultivar you are growing specifically? And how old are your plants? Some take a few years to reach maturity and peak flower production. The fragrance that you noticed may be dependent on when you checked your plants as well – that sweet smell can sometimes have a bit of a rancid, off odor if you don’t get to them right away. Also, were the flowers that you remember from Europe pink or white, and how were the clusters shaped?… Read more »

Heidi
Heidi (@guest_5934)
6 months ago

Hello, We live near Hickory, NC and I’m interested in adding elderberry to our property for medicinal purposes and to block the neighbor’s junk LOL. Our soil is clay which can be hard as concrete or slick when wet. The weather can alternate between bone dry or be a heavy rainy season. We have a 50′ fence-line area that I’d like to grow elderberry bushes. We have dogs and are ordering ducks so I’m concerned about safety if any of them eat the berries. Which varieties would you recommend for our location, soil and safety if our ducks eat the… Read more »

Allison Sidhu
Allison Sidhu (@allison-sidhu)
Admin
Noble Member
Reply to  Heidi
6 months ago

A location that alternates between wet and very dry in Zone 7 can be difficult for elderberry, so you will have to provide additional irrigation regularly during dry periods. And you will need to amend heavy clay to provide a well-draining area to grow in. My favorite combo of ‘York’ and ‘Adams’ should be a safe bet for your area, and it sounds like you have plenty of space to grow these! Check out our guide to growing elders for more tips. As with humans, the ripe berries are safe for dogs, but the leaves, roots, and large amounts of… Read more »