American Elderberry, Common Elderberry

Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis, S. canadensis

Caprifoliaceae

American Elderberry, Common Elderberry
American Elderberry, Common Elderberry
American Elderberry, Common Elderberry
American Elderberry, Common Elderberry
The American Elderberry has huge flat clusters of tiny white flowers followed by a heavy crop of shiny black fruit. It is a large growing native deciduous shrub whose cooked fruit and flowers are used to create healthy and delicious confections, syrups, jellies, wines and more. The nectar rich flower clusters host a wide variety of pollinators and its ripe fruit is sure to attract many bird species. Elderberries are dioecious, both male and female at the same time, and may be semi-self fertile. It is best to plant at least two for cross pollination and to bear the heaviest crops. Occasionally we pick the large ripe fruit clusters whole as a treat for our chickens.

The woody stems of the American Elderberry can be cut back in winter to help promote a fuller and lower plant. Periodic removal of older and weaker canes will help to keep them growing vigorously. This is an easy to grow native that makes a nice large informal screen or hedge or can even be pruned into a small tree form. Remember, the Elderberry flowers and fruits on new growth. So, even though it is drought tolerant, a little extra moisture during dry periods and fertile soil will benefit fruit production. In the colder winter portions of its range, it should be planted in spring or early summer so that it has ample time to establish before winter sets in. A mulch will also provide many benefits as well.

Elderberry was selected as the 2013 Herb of the Year by the International Herb Society. These were grown from locally collected seed.

For excellent info on Elderberry from the Herb Society of America click here.


Grows To: 6-12'H x 6-12'W

USDA Cold Hardiness Zones: 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

click here to find your USDA Cold Hardiness zone

Outdoor Light: Full sun, Part sun, Part shade

pH Range: Acidic, Mildly Acidic, Neutral

Soil & Moisture: Moist to average moist to wet, well-drained, fertile soils. Tolerates clay.

Salt Tolerance: High soil and aerosol salt tolerance

Deer Resistance: Rarely Bothered

Native To / Origin: US - all but a few western states as well as central and eastern Canada

View this species in the USDA Plants database

This plant may be toxic to humans and/or animals, click here for details

Please be advised that humans and/or animals may have allergic reactions if part(s) of this plant are consumed or by coming into contact with sap from bruised or broken plant parts: Fruit and flowers must be cooked prior to ingestion. All other plant parts are toxic.

See our Planting A New Plant, How To, and General Growing Guide for basic planting, potting, and watering instructions

Container Size: Quart / 30 fl.oz. / 887 ml

Price: $ 14.99
Catalog ID# 11269
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