Elderberries are native shrubs in North America with large, white flower clusters that produce bunches of small, dark berries. They are valuable plants that provide habitat, food, medicine, nutrients and shelter for birds, bees and others. Their numerous flowers offer a reliable nectar source for a wide range of pollinators and beneficial insects. Elderberry plantings can also create visual barriers, absorb nutrients, and handle periodic flooding and high water tables that most other plants find challenging.
The elderberry bush blooms in June and has very dependable fruit production. Elderberry prefers heavy soil that is high in organic matter, ample moisture, and flower/fruit production will be maximized in full sun. The plants can sustain short periods of flooding and do well in transition zones between wetlands and upland areas. They will reach a mature height of up to 10 ft in about three years.
Elderberry fruit is known for its immune boosting qualities, anti-carcinogen and anti-oxidant properties, and Vitamin C content. Fruits are used for wine, juice, jelly, and syrup.
Cuttings are taken from our three year old trees and will produce a crop in the second year. Each rooted plant comes from a dormant hardwood cutting of at least 8 inches long, with 2-4 nodes. For local pickup only starting late May.
After the danger of frost has past, it is recommended that you harden new plants by placing them outside for a couple of hours until they are ready to stay outside all day. Plant when soil temperatures have reached 50 F.
Young plants grown from cuttings have new fragile roots. When transplanting from their original pot, it is important to minimize root disturbance as much as possible. Gently remove from its container, trying to keep the soil ball as intact as possible. Dig a hole that is twice the width of the existing root ball.
Water new plants about one inch per week during the growing season and more during dry weather and fruit ripening.
Planting Preparation and Spacing
Select a site that receives full sun (partial shade is okay but may reduce fruit production). Remove perennial grasses or other vegetation that would compete with or shade out the new plants since elderberry does not compete well. Plant 4-5 feet apart and mulch liberally.