Black Beauty™ elderberry Sambucus nigra 'Gerda' Photo/Illustration: C. L. Fornari 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 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 Song Birds, Attracts Butterflies, Fragrant Flowers, Native, Showy Flowers, Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit Bloom Time Early Summer, Summer Flower Color Pink Yarrow Foliage Color Black Uses Beds and Borders, Naturalizing, Specimen Plant/Focal Point, Screening, Waterside Seasonal Interest Spring Interest Type Shrubs Related Plants to Sambucus nigra 'Gerda' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Hedgehog rose Rosa 'Blanc Double de Coubert' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Rosa 'Basye's Purple' 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Swamp rose Rosa palustris var. scandens 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Cut-leaf lilac Syringa × laciniata View the discussion thread.