The Elderberry bush, also known as Elders, is native to most of North America. The shrub usually grows near the edges of thickets and heavily wooded areas, but are very easy to grow in any environment.
Growth Habits This attractive bush is hardy to zone 3 and can reach a mature height and width of 12 feet. Dwarf elder cultivars are more compact in growing size, reaching a mature height and width of 4-6 feet.
Elders grow in any soil type and will live indefinitely.
Bushes proliferate and are best planted in areas that don’t require a manicured appearance, but the Elders can be pruned yearly to desired height and shape.
An Elderberry bush will produce an abundance of flat-topped white flowers that will completely cover the foliage. This profuse flowering stage lasts for two months in early summer and attracts a steady stream of butterflies to the bountiful buffet.
When the flowers fade, glossy, purplish berries begin to form. The seeds ripen by late summer and attract a variety of birds.When not in bloom or producing berries, this bush is prized for its bright green, toothed leaves. Some cultivars produce yellow or purple leaves and have different flower and berry colors.
Scientific Name: Sambucus nigra L.
USDA Climate Zone: 5 – 8
Tree Height: 8 -20 feet
Tree Width: 8 -20 feet
Growth/Year: 3-4 feet
Soil Type: Drought Tolerant, adaptable to different soils
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Sambucus Nigra is a sprawling shrub in the plant family more commonly known as Elderberry. This particular bush takes part of its name (Nigra) from the Latin word meaning black, a reference to its dark edible berries.
It is a deciduous shrub that is particularly noted for its fragrant late spring flowers and edible fruits (elderberries). The plant produces tiny white flowers that bloom in June-July and have a musky fragrance. The flowers produce clusters of glossy black elderberry fruits in late summer. These fruits are attractive to butterflies, birds, and wildlife. The berries are used for jams, jellies, and wines. Although self-pollinating, elderberry fruit yields can be increased by planting more than one type together
Sambucus Nigra can be naturalized or used as a hedge. It will grow in a wide range of soils but prefers moist ones. Preferring full sun, it will also grow in partial shade. The plants do tend to overgrow and do need periodic pruning to keep them from becoming unattractive and weed-like in appearance. If a natural look is preferred, leave them alone, and they will spread by root suckers to form colonies.