Elderberries 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 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.