Growing Elderberries: How to Grow Elderberry Plants

elderberries bush foraging for eldeberriesElderberries grow so commonly in the wild in much of the United States and Europe, that it almost doesn’t make sense to grow it in the landscape. But perhaps you live in an area where elderberries don’t grow naturally, or you simply want one for your landscape.

Want to go foraging for elderberries? Click here.

Most elderberry bushes grow so large that it really only suits a larger landscape. There’s no hope of pruning or training an elderberry into any particular shape, so find a spot where you want a rather informal, bushy clump. Especially when seen at a distance, the white sprays of flowers, and later, the dark berries, produce an ornamental effect.

Elderberries are easily propagated by digging up and replanting the suckers. Or by growing from cuttings.

Be aware that because elderberries sucker so readily, the suckers will need to be pulled or dug out at least once a year to prevent the elderberry from spreading beyond its bounds.

There are 4 basic elderberry species, and countless varieties. The Edible Landscape (non-affiliate link) is one good source of elderberry bushes. You really only need to purchase one. It’ll grow quickly and you’ll easily be able to propagate plenty of other bushes from it the second year.

elderberries ripe and unripe

Elderberries grow best in moist soil, but they do tolerate dry soil.

Elderberries prefer full sun, though they will tolerate partial shade. Unless you have your elderberries planted underneath a giant oak tree, not much will be able to shade them once they’ve reached their full height.

In the meantime, you can wonder if the wood produced by your elderberry bush is really the same that created the famed Elder Wand in the Harry Potter saga.

If your elderberry bush gets out of hand, simply prune it hard. It’s very unlikely that you could kill it, short of chopping it to the ground (and not likely even then).

To learn how to harvest and use elderberries, click here.

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5 Responses to Growing Elderberries: How to Grow Elderberry Plants

  1. Lima October 16, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

    I live in OK with soil of clay and rock so growing is a challenge, I am curious though to know what the enemies of elderberries are and how well do deer like them? So looking forward to future information.

  2. Kassandra June 2, 2017 at 12:22 am #

    My grandmother lived in South Missouri, where the soil was orange and clay, like in Oklahoma. She had elderberry bushes that grew wild on her property. She made wonderful elderberry jelly and jam. Yes, deer do like them.

  3. L. August 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

    The wand in Harry Potter was made of Elder wood, which is a tree, rather than elderberry.

  4. Annay March 10, 2018 at 7:17 am #

    Can I grow elderberry in a large planter? Thanks.

    • Anni May 2, 2018 at 2:32 pm #

      I’m sure you could. It might require pruning to keep it “in bounds” but it would be worth a try. 🙂

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