The American Elderberry is a shrub or a small tree with bright green leaves and large clusters of black fruits. Elderberry has a fast rate of growth and it is easy to maintain. It is native to eastern North America. It is a deciduous, somewhat sprawling, suckering shrub that typically grows to 5-12’ tall. It typically occurs on streambanks, moist woodlands, thickets, fence rows and roadsides. Tiny lemon-scented white flowers appear in large flat-topped clusters (cymes to 10” across) in June. Flowers give way to clusters of black elderberry fruits (drupes) in late summer. Fruits of species plants are sometimes used to make jams, jellies, pie filings and elderberry wine. Fruits are attractive to wildlife. American elder (Sambucus canadensis) and European elder (Sambucus nigra) are closely related plants.
Growing Instructions for the American elderberry
The seeds have a period of dormancy. They can be planted outdoors in the fall or winter for spring germination or they can be cold stratified to simulate winter conditions and to break their dormancy at any time of the year. 1. Place the seeds in a plastic bag and seal it. Store the bag in a refrigerator for two months. 2. Fill a pot with potting soil. 3. Sow the seeds on the soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil. 4. Water the container and leave it to drain. 5. Put the pot in a warm, sunny area. 6. Water the pot regularly so that the soil is moist but not wet. 7. The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.