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Which Elderberry Plants Work Together Best?

Michael Gonzales
January 7, 2024

Elderberries thrive in direct sunlight and tolerate various soil types. As such, they’re an excellent choice for bordering vegetable gardens or creating layered shrub borders.

Gooseberries make an ideal companion plant to elderberries, since both provide similar benefits and grow within USDA hardiness zones 3-9. Their flowers attract pollinators pollen while providing mulch. Their fruit feeds birds and mammals.


Yarrow is an ideal native herb to complement elderberry plants due to its ability to tolerate both wet and dry soil conditions, providing pollinators habitat while suppressing weeds that compete for space and nutrients with elderberries. Plus, its foliage cover reduces evaporation from soil moisture loss so elderberries get enough water.

Yarrow is an extremely effective groundcover that can be used to stabilize slopes and filter runoff. Yarrow comes in many colors – white to yellow to pink – making it suitable for flower beds, borders or specimen shrubs as a backdrop or specimen shrub – or used alongside lavender, bee balm or other herbs as an effective companion plant.

As a perennial, yarrow requires little care other than regular pruning to stay healthy and productive. Since its growth can be slow, seed should be planted BEFORE winter for cold stratification purposes – once established they can then be used to propagate new plants!

Due to its easy maintenance requirements, yarrow is popularly utilized as part of permaculture gardens and food forests as a nutrient-rich mulch that helps retain moisture while suppressing weeds. Furthermore, its beneficial insects attract beneficial bugs which help control pests in elderberry gardens; additionally it makes an excellent addition to medicinal gardens thanks to its healing properties containing high concentrations of Vitamin C and Rutin – two ingredients known to boost immunity function.


Add Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) to your garden as an easy and cost-effective way of adding color, fragrance, wildlife-attracting blooms, health-promoting berries and anthocyanins that have immune-enhancing effects, while their flowers attract butterflies!

Elderberries, an indigenous plant native to North America, thrive in most soil types but require rich, loamy or clay-like loam with an acidity between 5.5 and 6.5 for optimal growth. Full sun or partial shade conditions work best, with temperatures from freezing to hot not being an issue. Although elderberries self-fruiting plants produce fruit independently, for maximum yield add two plants within reasonable proximity for cross pollination for increased harvests.

There are dozens of named elderberry cultivars on the market today, many with superior fruit production, hardiness and adaptability than their wild cousins. You can find these varieties at nurseries and online sources.

Elderberry plants tend to form small shrubs with mature heights of 6-12 feet, depending on cultivar and site conditions. Most are hardy through USDA Zone 4, growing in medium or wet soil conditions.

Popular varieties include York and Adams varieties which feature leaves that shift from dark green to reddish-orange in fall, respectively, while both can be purchased as either bare-root or potted plants from Nature Hills Nursery.

Elderberries, like other berry bushes, can be vulnerable to damage from pests like stalk borer beetles and Japanese beetles that feed on stems and berries. Furthermore, elderberry plants are vulnerable to nematodes and diseases like tomato ringspot virus, which manifests itself with chronic line patterns on leaves before eventually weakening plants and decreasing overall plant survival rates. To minimize problems related to elderberries mulch regularly and avoid neighboring companion plants that compete for water and nutrients with aggressive weeds that compete for water and nutrients from close-by companion plants with aggressive weeds which compete for water and nutrients from being shared between neighbors – this will help minimize problems caused by tomato ringspot virus and related viruses like tomato ringspot virus. To mitigate such issues be sure that elderberry plants are kept well away from close by companion plants with aggressive weeds competing for water and nutrients from adjacent neighbors that compete close-in companions competing aggressive weeds that compete for water and nutrients by avoidance of companion plants with aggressive weeds competing for water and nutrients from each other close-in companions with aggressive weeds that compete for water/nutrition/nutrition competition from close-in companions competing for resources such as tomato ringspot virus; eventually weakening plants while weakening plants completely before weakening plants completely before eventually weakening plants fully through reduced survivability with surrounding companion plants with aggressive companion plants with close-in companions that compete for water and nutrients from each other plants that also compete for water/nutrition competition from nearby companions with close-in companions that compete for water/nutriment from them as close-in companions that compete for water/nutrimentations by nearby plants and nutrients from close-in companions compete for water/nutriment that virus appears through weakening overall sur surability altogether and eventually weakening plants thus weakening weakening them completely before weakening completely weakening or weakening by weakening with reduced plant survival when eventually weakening weakening eventually weakening themselves for water/nutrition reduction before eventually weakening them eventually weakening from weakening altogether weakening or overall plant surability issues compete close-in companions eventually weakening them out for nutrients from close-in companions eventually weakening ultimately weakening them weakening them, weakening them over-and eventually weakening them eventually weakening them altogether weakening plants all out completely weakening them out completely weakening them out completely eventually weakening out completely with weakening them out weakening overall plant survival completely and reduce them out completely weakening them out altogether eventually weakening them completely reducing them before eventually weakening them eventually reduced or weakening them out completely eventually weakening more severely reducing them thus weakening them eventually weakening ultimately weakening them thus eventually weakening overall plant survivors before weakening them eventually eventually weaken eventually weaken eventually weakening until eventually weaken eventually weaken weaken eventually weaken eventually weaken eventually weaken weaken reducing fruits reduce and eventually weaken eventually weaken weaken eventually weaken reducing them eventually weakening altogether before eventually weakening as opposed to later weaken eventually weaken reducing fruitfulness reducing fruitfulness as plants weaken eventually weakening further decreasing overall plant survival with reduced fruit before eventually weakening them all out altogether before eventually weakening enough enough that eventually reduce fruitful. reduction. Reduce problems by mulching elderberry plants before weakening them out due to reduced sur sur


Sambucus nigra’s flowers and berries are packed with fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants; used medicinally to treat colds, flu symptoms and respiratory infections. Elderberries may help lower blood pressure while protecting against heart disease – hardy shrubs thrive from USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, growing best in sun to partial shade conditions with rich, rocky soil. For added garden appeal select appropriate companion plants alongside elderberries for optimal results.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) attracts pollinators to elderberries while its long taproot helps improve soil structure and bring nutrients to the surface. Yarrow also serves as an excellent medicinal herb, used in salad dressings, tea and other beverages; its aroma also repels insects that damage elderberry leaves and fruit; garlic (Allium sativum) is just as effective at keeping out these insects; particularly aphids and beetles which nibble berry clusters as well as slugs who love munching elderberries!

Phlox (Phlox divaricata or Phlox paniculata) is another colorful flowering plant that pairs beautifully with elderberries: pollinators-attracting and dense growth-suppressing flowers are excellent living mulch solutions, while its powdery mildew-susceptibility makes phlox an early indicator that conditions are favorable for an elderberry garden outbreak.

If you want to plant dark-leaf varieties of nasturtium with your elderberries, try the varieties ‘Black Lace’ or ‘Eva.’ These produce beautiful deep purple hues and produce abundant berries used in herbal medicines and wines; additionally they have an appealing spicy-bitter flavor which adds zesty appeal to vegetables or fruit dishes!


Phlox paniculata and bee balm are two low-growing perennials that can fill in gaps between elderberry clumps, as they share similar care needs and seed sowing requirements. When planted together as part of a mixed garden with plants of different heights for added depth. Their vibrant fuchsia-blue flowers stand out against elderberries’ dark purple berries while offering long-lasting summer blooms for perennial varieties of phlox rather than annual varieties.

Elderberry plants (Sambucus canadensis) provide environmental advantages in addition to their aesthetic appeal. Their root systems help stabilize landscape areas while filtering runoff water; in addition, these attractive blooms attract pollinators and offer excellent nesting cover for songbirds and small mammals – as well as being deer resistant and drought resistant!

Sambucus canadensis plants are adaptable, yet require full sun for optimal growth. Tolerant of wet soil conditions and suckering (some species), they make great additions to a mixed native shrub garden or naturalizing situation. Their prolific root production also makes for easy naturalization.

Elderberries can be susceptible to disease, but most infestations don’t threaten the plant’s life. Powdery mildew may appear during wet weather while some varieties may be susceptible to cane borers (Democerus palliates). Both issues can be managed by selecting healthy stock and regularly cutting back old, fruited stems each fall.

As elderberries require cross-pollination to produce fruit, be sure to plant multiple types in your landscape and protect them with bird netting from hungry birds. Mulching with woody materials (such as shredded or composted materials) helps conserve moisture while stimulating mycorrhizal activity; adding edible mushroom spores will ensure further colonization and provide you with an extra harvest!

Bee Balm

Bee Balm (Monarda didymella) is an attractive perennial that attracts bees and other pollinators to your garden, acting like mint but with more benefits for herbal tea, salads and garnishes than the latter two combined. A relative of mint, it can also be used in herbal tea or fresh for garnishing purposes and as part of summer berry cultivation – for optimal results, choose varieties which produce safe edible berries like John’s, Adams or Nova which all produce blue-purple fruits which thrive well across USDA zones 4-9. For best results choose varieties which produce safe edible berries such as John’s Adams or Nova which produce blue-purple fruits for best results in growing summer berries such as these three bush varieties that produce safe blue-purple fruits that thrive between USDA zones 4-9.

Like most herbs, bee balm thrives best in well-draining soil with regular applications of balanced organic fertilizer – particularly during its first two years after planting. Mulching can also help retain moisture levels for maximum soil health and preservation.

Bee balm propagators’s task of harvesting seeds from flower stalks and saving them is an easy one. Once your bee balm plant has completely withered and its stalks have turned brown, bend one over a paper bag gently tapped it until all seeds fall into it – which you can then store away for future planting purposes in sealed containers.

Phlox paniculata) is another easy-to-grow companion plant for elderberries, offering pollinators nectar while suppressing weeds. Phlox also acts as a living mulch protecting root systems of elderberries from drying out too quickly while keeping soil moisture levels balanced – similar to yarrow, it serves as an aphid repellent!


  • 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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