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The Best Black Elderberry For Pacific NW

Michael Gonzales
December 12, 2023
The Best Black Elderberry For Pacific NW

Elder (Sambucus nigra) is an adaptable shrub, boasting both medicinal benefits and beautiful blossoms. Cuttings may be taken in late fall through early spring for easy cultivation.

This plant thrives in damp, cool shady areas and makes an excellent woodland garden plant. Butterflies and migrating birds love its flowers while deer leave it alone.

1. Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’)

Shock may come when they first see Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’). This trademarked cultivar, popularly known by its deep, lacy foliage that looks strikingly like cutleaf Japanese maple, will leave those unfamiliar with its beauty speechless. Lemon-scented flowers bloom each spring while bright purple to black berries produce their harvest in autumn.

This adaptable shrub can be found in mixed borders, hedges and screens. It even thrives in wet soil conditions! Once established it should be pruned annually either to maintain compact form or allowed to expand into an open shrub form. Informally native or bog garden plants also often incorporate this species.

It has an approximate height and spread of 6 to 8 feet and width that may double in mild climates without pruning, and is an adaptable, easy-to-grow cultivar suitable for full sun in cool summer areas, or partial shading in hotter ones; additionally it tolerates both full sunlight and partial shade equally well and is drought tolerant as far down as USDA Zone 4. Finally it boasts very cold hardiness, down to USDA zone 4.

Like its black elderberry cousins, Black Lace Elderberry can be self-fruitful but may produce less fruit than other cultivars of its species. To maximize yields and ensure proper pollination, pair this species with another cultivar known for reliable pollination – for example York or Laced Up would make an effective combination.

To promote long harvests from Black Lace Elderberries, water them regularly throughout their growing season and provide a balanced fertilizer formula each spring. As well as giving your elderberry an additional dose of fertilizer each week from early spring through summer; using an advanced tree and shrub fertilizer would work best; however basic balanced formula will suffice as well.

2. Blue Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ssp. cerulea)

Shopping for elderberries can be confusing. With numerous species including both black and red varieties, choosing which will best suit your garden can be challenging. Many elderberries are grown for their beautiful berries but there are others which grow as shrubs or even trees too!

Consider that when browsing nurseries and plant catalogs for elderberries, two very similar species will likely appear: American Black (Sambucus canadensis) and European Blue (Sambucus nigra subsp cerulea). Both have similar looks and make excellent additions to home gardens in the Pacific Northwest region.

The term “Blue Elderberry” derives its name from its unique fruit coloration; all Sambucus nigra berries turn blue upon maturity, adding an eye-catching flourish that makes for delicious eating! However, their unique hue also serves to give this species its distinctive hue; so if you want to turn these elderberries into syrup quickly then this variety should be your first pick!

In nature, this species of the Juniperus species can often be found near streams and waterways. A fast-growing deciduous shrub that matures to become a small tree when mature. It features yellow flowers with flat-topped clusters on flat stems in flat topped clusters as well as produce blue berries which birds love eating.

Though self-fruitful, this variety performs best when planted alongside another cultivar for cross pollination. When combined with Nova for instance, larger crops of berries will result than when planted alone.

Although this cultivar may not be widely available, it provides those looking for its benefits without compromising size or beauty an ideal option. If you live in an area where this cultivar grows naturally, try searching local nurseries or plant catalogs; or check local forums on social media and gardening websites in which community members may offer to share plants they own with you.

3. Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)

Owing to its superior antiviral and respiratory protective properties, European black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) has drawn the bulk of research attention. But herbalists appreciate its Native American counterpart Sambucus canadensis equally. While current research emphasizes Sambucus nigra due to its powerful antiviral and respiratory protecting capabilities, both canadensis and cerulea cultivars possess similar medicinal qualities that make both species worthwhile medicinal options.

Sambucus black elderberry grows at a fast rate and can quickly spread via root suckers, making this plant suitable for growing in moist to wet, rich soil with plenty of organic material and full sun conditions.

This elderberry can be found throughout Northwest forests. It often thrives in wet, shaded areas near lakes or ponds as well as low woodland and old fields, blossoming from June through July depending on location before producing fruits from August to September that attract wildlife to feed off of for winter nutrition.

Black elderberry leaves, branches, and stems can be poisonous without being cooked properly, while its edible parts — the berries — can be made into syrup, jams, pies and wine. Note that only fully ripened berries should be eaten due to alkaloids and glycosides present which could cause stomach upset if consumed raw.

As it’s an invasive species, black elderberry can be difficult to eliminate from native forest ecosystems in the Northwest due to its aggressive root system and spread.

Pick out the ideal black elderberry plant for your garden by considering factors like sunlight/shade conditions, climate and desired mature size of shrub or larger mature size. Once your choices have been narrowed down read descriptions to identify cultivars based on characteristics important to you such as flower head size, fruit sweetness or disease resistance. Also consider companion planting: such plants as nasturtiums, sage marigolds and parsley can work to keep elderberries healthy and productive while acting as pest deterrents – growing well together as they grow together while helping deter pests!

4. Red Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Elderberries may be considered weeds in some parts, yet this common species of elderberry has earned itself the reputation as one of the most adaptable shrubs around. Not only can it thrive in sunny, dry sites as well as damp, shaded spots where few other plants will flourish; in addition to serving as decorative foliage it’s also used as food and medicine; producing juices, extracts, syrups, teas and much more while being easy to grow!

Sambucus canadensis berries are edible with proper preparation; however, raw berries contain alkaloids and glycosides which may cause gastric upset if consumed raw; when cooked however, the sweet and delicious berries become deliciously sweet and can be found throughout North America as well as some areas in Canada and Mexico; where they typically thrive in moist habitats such as lake shores, low areas near roads, or old fields – most frequently in Oregon and Washington for Pacific Northwest residents.

Though its flowers may not be as showy as those found on black lace or blue elderberry cultivars, its fruit is sweet and delicious and serves as food for wildlife. Like its other native elderberry species, it also has medicinal uses.

Though not as long-lived as some cultivars, it still makes an effective addition to any garden. Ranging in height from 10- to 12-inches tall multistem plants, they boast dramatic presence with abundant fruit production in mild climates – blooms range from white or pale pink with an appearance similar to Queen Anne’s Lace or Lilac flowers while its dark reddish-black berries produce stunning color contrasts.

Like its Sambucus cousins, this species thrives with adequate air circulation, yet can tolerate poor conditions. Although self-fruitful, you’ll achieve better harvests by planting two cultivars to cross pollinate for greater production. Vigorous in growth; capable of reaching 10 feet (3-4.5 meters) its first year and much taller depending on climate conditions – perfect choice for sites without competition from other plants and needing full sun in cool summer climates while partial shade should suffice during hotter summers; zone 3-9. Hardy plant that grows from 3-9


  • Michael Gonzales

    Michael has a diverse set of skills and passions, with a full-time career as an airline pilot and a dedicated focus on health and fitness consulting. He understands the importance of balancing a busy lifestyle with maintaining a healthy mind and body, and is committed to helping others achieve the same success. Michael's expertise in health and fitness is not just limited to physical training, but also extends to nutrition, stress management, and overall wellbeing. He takes a holistic approach to health and fitness, helping clients to achieve their goals in a sustainable and fulfilling way. With a strong desire to inspire and motivate others, Michael is always ready to share his time and knowledge with those who seek his guidance. Whether in the air or on the ground, Michael is dedicated to helping others live their best lives.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-gonzales-07bb4b31/ [email protected] Gonzales Michael


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