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Elderberries

Elderberry plant

If you grow an elderberry plant, it will convince you as wild fruit and ornamental shrub. Its diversity is also impressive because those who only know and appreciate it as a large, spreading shrub will also be impressed by the attractive, more compact varieties.

   
 
Black Elderberry 'Haschberg'

Sambucus nigra 'Haschberg' - ideal for making jams, juice, tea, syrup

£24.90 *

Burgundy-coloured elderberry 'Black Tower'

Good for enjoying and very eye-catching!

£24.90 *

Common Elder 'Black Beauty'®

Sambucus nigra 'Black Beauty' with dark red leaves and pink flowers

£24.90 *

Common Elder 'Black Lace'®

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'® has black, deeply cut leaves

£21.40 *

Common Elder 'Golden Tower'®

Sambucus nigra 'Golden Tower'® is an elder with yellow leaves

£24.90 *

Common Elder 'Obelisk'®

Sambucus nigra 'Obelisk'® has columnar growth

£24.90 *

Dwarf Common Elder 'Pulverulanta'

Sambucus nigra 'Pulverulanta' - compact habit and white flowers

£14.90 *

Elderberry Instant Karma®

Sambucus nigra 'Sanivalk': the elderberry with the variegated leaves

£24.90 *

European Red Elder 'Golden Lace'®

Sambucus racemosa 'Golden Lace'®, the compact elder with yellow leaves and red fruits

£18.90 *

Red Elderberry 'Anna'

The unpretentious Sambucus racemosa 'Anna' forms bright reddish-coloured fruit

From £19.90 *

   
 

More useful information about Elderberries

The black elder (Sambucus nigra) as well as the red-berried elder (Sambucus racemosa) are definitely among the trend shrubs, as they are undemanding, their fruits can be processed into all kinds of delicacies (syrup, juice) and the new selections also offer high ornamental value. Native elderberries are also very popular with insects and birds.

Take a look at our Lubera assortment - we have put together enchanting elderberry varieties with beautiful flowers and distinctive leaves, all of which also produce fruit for culinary use.

Buying an elderberry plant - fruit and ornamental varieties for every taste

Find the right elderberry plant in the Lubera shop: Sambucus nigra 'Haschberg' is an impressive fruit variety with large berries, which gives a lot of pleasure in juice extraction and is also used in commercial fruit growing. The red-berried elder 'Anna' also enriches the wild fruit assortment in the garden. The ornamental varieties of Sambucus nigra have pink flowers and attractive foliage: brand-new is the red-leaved columnar elder 'Black Tower', which with its slender growth can be placed in any garden. The dwarf elder 'Pulverulenta' has striking, white-speckled leaves and makes an extremely good solitary plant in the front garden.

Elderberry plant

Special features of the elderberry plant

The elderberry (formerly often called lilac berry or elder bush) belongs to the honeysuckle family. Worldwide there are only about 10 species, which can be found on all continents. They thrive in temperate and subtropical regions as well as in mountainous tropical areas. In Germany, the black and red elder are found. An elder grows upright and forms a weakly branched, increasingly broad and slightly overhanging crown as it ages. In early summer, the beautiful, white flowers appear in the form of large plates, which exude a pleasant scent. Botanically speaking, the spherical elderberries are stone fruits.

Elderberries have been used by man in many ways since ancient times. Not only the berries are processed, but also elderberry blossom sparkling wine or syrup can be made from the flowers. In the past, elderberry was considered a 'medicine cabinet', especially in rural regions. It was often used as a sweat and secretion-dissolving plant.

If you plant elderberry, you also increase the ecological value of your garden. The shrubs are an excellent source of food for birds, which also ensure that the seeds are spread. In addition, there are butterfly species whose caterpillars live exclusively on the leaves of the elderberry bush.

The black elderberry

Sambucus nigra is a fast-growing shrub that can reach a height of up to 6 metres without pruning, forming very picturesque crowns. After its fragrant, white umbrella panicles in the summer, it shows its sap-rich, blackberries. It grows in fresh to moderately moist, nutrient-rich soils. Natural habitats are semi-shady forest edges at lower altitudes.

The red elderberry

Sambucus racemosa, also known as a red-berried elder, blooms as early as April, produces smaller fruits than black elder and generally grows more compact. It also combines its useful and ornamental values, especially due to the scarlet red colour of its fruits. It is also very popular with garden lovers because of its opulent abundance of flowers. The red elder dominates on similar sites as the black elder, but it can be found at higher altitudes. It is quite sensitive to lime and only occurs on sufficiently acidic substrates. It is also somewhat more susceptible to heat and drought than Sambucus nigra. Its red berries are more poisonous in the raw state than those of the black elderberry but can be easily processed into jam.

Numerous stories have grown up around the elderberry, the elder bush. The Germanic and Celtic peoples worshipped the elderberry and even made all kinds of offerings to it. As long as the peoples believed in the earth and sky goddess Holle ('Frau Holle'), it was forbidden to fell an elder bush. It was said that this would result in illness and death. An elderberry plant was often grown near the house as protection against evil spirits and lightning. Even today you can still find a traditional elder bush in rural gardens.

Use in the kitchen

It is important to know that elderberries and also the green parts of the elderberry plant contain the poison Sambunigrin, which can cause nausea when eaten raw. Use only ripe fruit and remove all stems. If the fruits are then cooked, the poisonous substance decomposes, so that you need not have any concerns about eating them afterwards. The fruits can be processed into juice, jam and also desserts. And the flowers are also suitable for homemade delicacies. They can be used to make jelly, ice cream and syrup; they can also be baked in breaded cakes. As soon as all the fruits of the elder have turned blue-black or red, the entire fruit umbels are cut off. The flowers should be processed unwashed so that their volatile aroma is well preserved. Simply shake out the umbels thoroughly. 

Suitable location

If you grow an elderberry plant, you can integrate it very well into freestyle visual and bird protection hedges. But it also does very well as a solitary shrub. It loves a sunny location but also thrives in partial shade or shade. If the elderberry plant is grown in a nutrient-rich, medium-heavy and moist soil, it can reach a stately height. The soil must not be too dry, as its roots run mainly horizontally under the ground. As it is one of the self-fertile plants, there is usually no need for another elder bush in the garden.

Planting and caring

When planting, incorporate compost and additional horn shavings if possible. Young shrubs usually grow without problems - they can be planted bare-rooted and throughout the garden season. Elderberry plants are usually only available as shrubs, but with a little patience, you can also grow a space-saving elderberry standard.

Pruning

There are several reasons to prune elderberry:

  • Growth should be contained
  • A thinned out branch is less prone to disease
  • A 'fruit pruning' is carried out to promote many fruit settings
  • The shape of a tall stem should be preserved

An elderberry plants is quite tolerant of pruning. However, if it is a beautiful solitary shrub in the garden, which scores with its appearance, you do not necessarily have to cut it. If it is a question of fruit yield, you should remove the harvested shoots completely or cut back strongly in autumn. For the next year, you can leave about ten strong, new shoots - that is where the new harvest will take place next year. Weakly developed shoots should always be removed. The ideal time for cutting the elderberry is in autumn but should be completed by mid-October. If the plant needs a radical rejuvenation cut, early spring is the best time to consider.

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