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The Plant Guide

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European red elder

Sambucus racemosa ‘Sutherland Gold’

sam-BOO-kus rass-ih-MOE-sah

This choice specimen has a graceful habit with finely divided golden foliage that emerges as bronze. It is less susceptible to sun scorch than the other gold varieties. It bears creamy white flowers that mature into red fruits. 

Noteworthy CharacteristicsSambucus is suitable for mixed or shrub borders or for naturalizing in wild areas; cultivars with colored foliage such as this one are effective as specimens. The fruits of this genus have culinary attributes when cooked, but can cause illness if eaten raw, or if the poisonous seeds are consumed.

CareGrow in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil, preferably with morning full sun and afternoon shade. Sambucus may be pruned minimally to maintain a healthy framework, but it benefits from hard pruning to restict its size. Cultivars like this one that are grown for their foliage may be cut back annually to within 2 or 3 buds from a permanent framework.

PropagationSow seed in a cold frame in the fall; take softwood cuttings in early summer and hardwood cuttings in winter.

ProblemsPowdery mildew, canker, dieback, rust, fungal leaf spots, borers, virus diseases.

  • Genus : Sambucus
  • Zones : 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Characteristics : Fragrant Flowers, Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Flower Color : White, Yellow
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