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Black Beauty® Elderberry Sambucus nigra

  • Hardy Zones
    • 4 - 7
  • Exposure
    • Part Sun to Sun
  • Season
    • Fall
  • Mature Size
    • 96 - 144 Inches
ColorChoice® Flowering Shrubs
Black Beauty® Elderberry Sambucus nigra
Part Sun to Sun 96 - 144

Features

Sophisticated - memorable - beautiful - yes, it's an elderberry!

Elderberry is not the first plant most people think of for a dramatic landscape accent, but Black Beauty® elderberry changes all of that. Dark purple-black foliage looks rich and lush all season and gets even better when accented by extra large pink flowers in early summer. Black Beauty elderberry produces edible fruit if a compatible pollinator, such as Black Lace®, Instant Karma®, or Laced-Up® elderberry, is planted nearby.

Top reasons to grow Black Beauty® elderberry:

- deep purple-black foliage looks handsome in the landscape and works with lots of different colors

- big pink flowers in early summer offer a sweet anise scent

- very tough and durable, growing well in a range of soil conditions

Produces Berries
Foliage Interest
Fall Interest
Attracts: 
Birds
Resists: 
Deer

Characteristics

Duration: 
Shrub
Shrub Type: 
Deciduous
Height Category: 
Tall
Garden Height: 
96 - 144 Inches
Spacing: 
108 - 156 Inches
Spread: 
96 - 144 Inches
Flower Colors: 
Pink
Flower Shade: 
Pink
Foliage Colors: 
Purple
Foliage Shade: 
Black/Purple
Habit: 
Upright
Container Role: 
Thriller

Plant Needs

Light Requirement: 
Part Sun to Sun
Maintenance Category: 
Moderate
Blooms On: 
Old Wood
Bloom Time: 
Early Summer
Hardiness Zones: 
4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
Water Category: 
Average
Uses: 
Border Plant
Uses: 
Container
Uses: 
Landscape
Uses: 
Specimen or Focal Point
Uses Notes: 

Grow either as a shrub or cut it back every year and make it into a bold perennial. Good in groupings and masses, perennial and shrub borders, as a specimen or screen, on roadsides or for naturalizing, good in boggy or wet gardens.

PLEASE NOTE: To produce berries, you'll need a Black Lace®, Instant Karma®, or Laced Up® as a pollinator. Both plants will get berries.

Maintenance Notes: 

According to the Humane Society of America, elderberry can be toxic to pets if consumed.

Best in moist soil although will tolerate dry soils. Thrives under acid or alkaline soils. Best if pruned immediately after blooming. May be pruned to the ground each year and grown like a perennial. Fertilize in early spring by applying a granular fertilizer formulated for trees and shrubs. Follow the label for the recommended rate of application.

The color on Black Beauty elderberry is best in cool climates; in hot areas, it may grow primarily green foliage.

Black Beauty® Sambucus nigra 'Gerda' USPP 12,305
  • I purchased 3 of these and none survived the first winter (zone 5a). What I found interesting is that the garden center where I purchased them said he had heard these had a tough time surviving in our zone and would get smaller and struggle each year, if they survived at all. I found that odd since they are hardy to zone 4. But it seems he was correct. I purchased them anyway because of how gorgeous they are and I wanted elderberries. They were big, healthy plants when I purchased them (#5 containers). I also purchased 5 black lace and only 3 barely survived the winter and I doubt will survive much longer. The same with the Laced Up. Anyway, none of them survived and it was a mild winter. I was so excited for these plants but they truly disappointed. I am a avid gardener (over 30 years) used to do professional landscaping and used to own a garden center but I could not grown these in my zone.

    Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Melissa S
    Lowell
    Michigan
    United States
    28 weeks ago
  • This plant did not survive over winter, I followed the instructions of growing and care for this plant and it has no green foliage this year, I am assuming it to have completely died. Very unhappy with the outcome of most of the shrubs from this company so far.

    Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Jen
    Merritt
    Canada
    39 weeks ago
  • The plants are growing fine but they are not purple. The leaves are dk. green but definitely not purple. This is the second year after planting. I thought they might darken up. I am very disappointed. Could the wrong ones have been sent? The tag says Black Beauty Elderberry, Proven Winners.

    Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Venetia Hancock
    Yakima
    Washington
    United States
    1 year ago
  • I love this plant. It was the focal point in a garden at the end of a walkway. It grew beautifully had it for about 8 years and suddenly last year it just died. I think borers got to it when cutting it down there were holes through the center of the brances. I am going to replant this beautiful plant. Mine looked like a small tree.

    Outstanding My favorite plant, I recommend to others all the time and explain the reasons why I like it so much.
    Leah Camara
    Tiverton
    Rhode Island
    United States
    5 years ago
  • My elderberry keeps looking like it wants to off itself! Following all instructions...

    Satisfactory Average performance, met expectations but not outstanding.
    Maggie
    Littleton
    Colorado
    United States
    6 years ago
  • Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Mona Larochelle
    Quebec
    Canada
    7 years ago
  • This shrub grew 10' every year, even though pruned almost to the ground. It was wispy, difficult to control, and never flowered for me after pruning. Very disappointing after all the hype.

    Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Terri
    Ontario
    Canada
    7 years ago
  • I LOVE THIS SHRUB - I HAVE IT IN A DECORATIVE GARDEN AND IT IS THRIVING AND NEEDS NO TENDING TO

    Outstanding My favorite plant, I recommend to others all the time and explain the reasons why I like it so much.
    TAUNI
    Oregon
    United States
    7 years ago
  • I was looking forward to this beautiful plant in my garden but the two plants I planted did not come back this year.

    Unsatisfied Did not survive, inferior performance or did not bloom well - won't grow again.
    Sandi Simmons
    Ohio
    United States
    7 years ago
  • I have a weakness for dark foilage plants. I have two of these in the back of my border and they are very carefree easy shrubs to grow. The flowers are so pretty againt the color of the leaves. I just love it.

    Outstanding My favorite plant, I recommend to others all the time and explain the reasons why I like it so much.
    Cheryl Dexter
    New York
    United States
    7 years ago
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