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Elderberries

If you plant an elderberry you will have both wild fruit and an ornamental shrub. It is also diverse because anyone who knows and appreciates it only as a spreading, large shrub will also be impressed by the attractive, compact varieties. The black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) as well as the red-berried elder (Sambucus racemosa) are undemanding; their fruits can be further processed to all sorts of goodies (syrup, juice) and these varieties also offer high ornamental value. Even with insects and birds, the native elder is very popular.

Take a look at our Lubera assortment – we have put together enchanting elder varieties with beautiful flowers and distinctive foliage, all of which produce fruits for culinary use.

Buying Elderberry – Fruit & Ornamental Varieties for Every Taste

Here is information about finding the right elderberry in the Lubera shop: Sambucus nigra 'Haschberg' is an impressive variety with large berries. It is fun to extract the juice from them and they are also used in commercial fruit production. But also the red elderberry 'Anna' can enrich the wild fruit assortment in any garden. The ornamental varieties of Sambucus nigra have pink flowers and attractive foliage.  The brand new, red-leaved, column-like elder 'Black Tower' is superb for any garden type due to its narrow growth habit. The dwarf elder 'Pulverulenta' has white-speckled leaves and is extremely good as a specimen plant in the front yard.

   
 
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 *

   
 

Special Features of the Elderberry

The elderberry belongs to the moschatel family. Worldwide there are only about 10 species that can be found on all continents. They thrive in temperate and subtropical areas as well as in mountainous, tropical areas. In Germany, black and red elder are found. An elderberry grows upright and forms a weakly branched, increasingly broader and slightly overhanging crown in old age. In early summer, the beautiful, white flowers in the form of large plates exude a pleasant scent. Botanically speaking, each of the spherical elderberries is a drupe.

The elderberry has been widely used by mankind since ancient times. Not only the berries are processed, but elderflower sect or syrup can also be produced from the flowers. In the past, elderberry was considered a "medicine cabinet", especially in rural areas. It was often used as a sweat-inducing and secrolytic plant.

When you plant elderberries, you also increase the environmental value of your garden. The shrubs are an excellent food source for birds, which also distribute the seeds. In addition, there are butterfly species whose caterpillars live exclusively on the foliage of the elder.

The Black Elder

Sambucus nigra is a fast-growing plant that reaches a height of up to 6 metres without pruning, forming very picturesque crowns. After the fragrant, white umbrella spikes in the summer, the juicy, black berries appear. This elder grows in fresh to moderately moist, nutrient-rich soils. Natural locations are partially shaded forest edges at lower altitudes.

The Red Elder

Sambucus racemosa, the red-berried elder, blooms in April, forms smaller fruits than the black elderberry and grows basically more compact. The red elder, too, combines usefulness and ornamentation, above all with the scarlet colour of its fruits. Also because of its opulent flower abundance, it is very popular with gardeners. The red elder dominates in similar locations like the black elder, however, it is also found at higher elevations. It is quite sensitive to lime scale, but this occurs only in sufficiently acidic substrates. The red-berried elder is also more susceptible to heat and dryness than Sambucus nigra. Its red berries, when raw, are more toxic than those of the black elder, but they are ideal for making marmalade.

Tree Of Life & Death in Popular Belief

Numerous stories entwine themselves around the elderberry. The Germanic people and Celts worshiped the elder and even gave it all sorts of offerings. As long as the people believed in the goddess of heaven and earth, Holla ('Frau Holle'), it was forbidden to cut down an elderberry. It was said that this would result in illness and death. An elderberry bush was often planted near the house for protection against evil spirits and lightning. Even today in traditional gardens you can find the traditional elderberry bush.

Use in the Kitchen

It is important to know that the elderberries and the green part of the plant contain the poison sambunigrin, which can cause nausea when consumed raw. Use only ripe fruits and remove all of the stems. When the fruits are cooked, the toxic substance disintegrates, so you do not have to worry about consuming them afterwards. The fruits can be processed into juice, jam and also desserts. The flowers are also suitable for homemade treats. From them, jelly, ice cream and syrup can be made, or you can bake the flowers in breaded cakes. Once all the fruits of the elder have turned bluish black or red, you cut off the entire fruit umbels. The flowers should be processed unwashed so that their volatile aroma is well preserved. Shake the umbels thoroughly.

The Suitable Location

If you plant an elderberry, you can easily integrate it into free-growing hedges used for visual privacy or bird protection. But also as a solitary plant it will grow very well. The shrub loves a sunny spot, but also thrives in partial shade or shade. If the elder is planted in a nutrient rich, medium and moist soil, it can reach a stately height. The soil must not be too dry, as its roots mostly run horizontally underground. Since it is a self-fertile plant, usually no other elderberry in the garden is necessary.

Elderberry Planting & Care

When planting, use compost and additional horn shavings. Young shrubs usually grow easily – they can be planted rootless and throughout the entire gardening season. Elderberries can usually only be purchased as shrubs, but with some patience you can also produce a space-saving elderberry tree.

Pruning Elderberry Plants Properly

There are several reasons to prune an elderberry:

• To contain growth

• So that branches are less susceptible to disease

• To promote fruiting

• To preserve the form

Elderberry is tolerant to pruning. However, if you have a beautiful solitary shrub in your garden that is very attractive, you do not necessarily have to prune it. When it comes to the fruit yield, you should remove the harvested shoots completely in autumn or cut back radically. For the next year, you can leave about ten strong, new branches – then you will have a new harvest the next year.  Weakly developed shoots should always be removed. The ideal time to prune an elderberry is in the autumn, but this task should be completed by mid-October. If a radical rejuvenation cut is to be done, then the early spring should be considered.

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