Black Beauty™ elderberry

Sambucus nigra 'Gerda'

Photo/Illustration: 
C. L. Fornari
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Black Beauty™ elderberry (Sambucus nigra 'Gerda')
sam-BOO-kus NY-grah
Genus:  Sambucus
Valued for its flowers, foliage, and fruit, Black Beauty™ elderberry is a deciduous shrub that requires regular watering during its first few yearsbut will become more drought tolerant as it becomes established. Areas with moist soil are ideal. Black Beauty™ will grow 8 feet tall if left unpruned, but fairly severe pruning in the first year will keep the plant from looking leggy. Pruning will sacrifice the large pink flowers, but the plant will be much sturdier and have a better habit if you do. The flowers, which bloom in June, are large and have a lemony scent. The foliage is dark and finely cut. Elderberries are edible and can be used to make juice or jelly, if the birds don't get there first. -Teresa Smith, Regional Picks: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #120
Noteworthy Characteristics:  Dark foliage; large, pink, fragrant flowers; attracts birds.
Care:  Provide full sun and moist, but well-drained soil. Water regularly the first few years.
Propagation:  Separate rooted suckers.
Problems:  Canker, powdery mildew, leaf spot, borers, spider mites and aphids may affect plants.

Overview

Height
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Spread
6 ft. to 10 ft.
Growth Habit
Spreads
Light
Full Sun Only
Moisture
Medium to Wet
Maintenance
Low
Characteristics
Attracts Birds,
Attracts Butterflies,
Fragrant Flowers,
Native,
Showy Flowers,
Showy Foliage,
Showy Fruit
Bloom Time
Early Summer,
Summer
Flower Color
Pink Flower
Foliage Color
Black
Uses
Beds and Borders,
Naturalizing,
Specimen Plant/Focal Point,
Screening,
Waterside
Seasonal Interest
Spring Interest
Type
Shrubs

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