Elderberry - Black - Common (Sambucus canadensis) Black Wild Elderberry Fruit Flowering Bush

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Elderberry - Black - Common (Sambucus canadensis) Canada Black Wild Elderberry Fruit Flowering Bush


Height 5 to 12 ft

Sambucus canadensis, also known as the American black elderberry, Canada elderberry, or common elderberry, is a deciduous species of elderberry native to a large area of North America east of the Rocky Mountains, south to Bolivia. Elderberry is popular for its purple black fruit which is used in pies, wines, jellies, jams, juices and soups; it can also be used as a natural colour in food products.

Elderberry blossoms are also used in wine making or can be deep fried. Elderberry is an ornamental as well as a fruit plant, with its spectacular fragrant flowers and attractive fruits.

Elderberries prefer a pH level of 5.5 to 6.5, you can learn more about soil testing and pH levels here. Elderberries grow in most soil types but aren't drought tolerant. Make sure the soil retains moistures, drains well, and is fertile. Sandy soil usually dries out too quickly and doesn't have enough nutrients without heavy amending.

Elderberry plants grow between 10 to 12 feet tall and 6 feet across, though some can reach heights of 20 feet tall. Plant in an area they will have room to grow. Don't worry if you don't have a ton of space, with pruning you can keep them smaller. I have one bush near our back patio and fireplace and yearly pruning keeps it at a manageable size.

  • Prefers full sun; will tolerate part shade
  • Rich well draining soil
  • Elderberry seeds need cold/stratification to germinate. Germination is tricky and plantings will sometimes produces nothing even though the same methods are used from year to year. Elderberry seeds have an extremely hard outer coat. This is a factor contributing to low germination.
  • Nick the seed with a knife and place in water to soak for 24 to 48 hours. Place seeds in sandwich bag(s), optionally with a bit of damp sand or vermiculite to keep moist.
    Keep at room temperature for about 50 to 60 days. Occasionally lightly spray water to keep seeds and sand moist. After this period, place the bag(s) with seeds in refrigerator for about 90 to 120 days; then take the seeds out of the refrigerator and sow the seeds in pots 1/4 in deep and cover lightly. Water gently so as not to wash away the seeds. Keep soil moist but not wet.
  • Transplant outdoors after all risk of frost has passed or place in larger pots and grow on and then transfer to garden.
  • Spacing: plant 1 m in the row and 4 to 5 m between rows to establish as a hedgerow within 3 growing seasons. In home gardens, plants may be closer together with at least 2 m between plants in any direction.
  • Harvest: elderberry fruits normally mature between mid-August and mid-September. Clusters ripen over a period of 5 to 15 days and are easy to harvest. Fruit in containers should not be held at room temperature for more than 2 to 4 hours as internal heating reduces quality and causes rapid spoilage. Yields of 12 to 15 lbs. (5.5 to 6.8 kg) of fruit can be expected per plant in 3 to 4 years if managed properly.
  • Seed Count: 10