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Black Beauty® Elderberry Sambucus nigra

Exposure
  • Part Sun to Sun
  • Sun

The optimum amount of sun or shade each plant needs to thrive: Full Sun (6+ hours), Part Sun (4-6 hours), Full Shade (up to 4 hours).

Flower Season
  • Fall
Mature Size
12' 12'
Height
8' - 12'
Spread
8' - 12'
  • Details

    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

    Plant Type: 
    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
    Light Requirement: 
    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
  • 19 Reviews

    5
    9
    4
    1
    3
    2
    2
    1
    1
    6
    Browse reviews from people who have grown this plant.
    • Overall, love the look of the plant but it’s not hardy to zone 4 at all. I’m in zone 5b and it probably does better in warmer zones but really struggles where I’m located. It’s very picky about water needs. Mines never provided dark foliage, never flowered, and always looked straggly. It looked like it was dying earlier this season so I cut it back… Then it started to recover … I was super happy but now that it’s cooling down and getting a lot of rain… it’s looking like it’s close to death again. Not really for zone 5b or less… based on my current experience with it… There’s no way it would ever become a large bush.

      Cynthia
      , Illinois
      , United States
      , 5 weeks ago
    • I absolutely love this plant! I think we are zone 8 so we fair better than some reviewers over winter. The blooms are incredible and the fruit more than edible. My leaves are mostly green but the Black Lace makes up for it with perfect dark foliage and colour and with deep pink flowers! I dream about this plant at night—and it looks amazing in a border with bamboo. enjoy!

      Nori Rich
      , British Columbia
      , Canada
      , 18 weeks ago
    • I absolutely love this plant! I think we are zone 8 so we fair better than some reviewers over winter. The blooms are incredible and the fruit more than edible. My leaves are mostly green but the Black Lace makes up for it with perfect dark foliage and colour and with deep pink flowers! I dream about this plant at night—and it looks amazing in a border with bamboo. enjoy!

      Nori Rich
      , British Columbia
      , Canada
      , 18 weeks ago
    • I have had this plant for about 8 years now, and I love it! I prune it back every year, and every year it gets about 12 feet tall. The foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for our seating area, and it contrasts perfectly with silver and yellow foliage as well as pink, purple, and white flowers. It gets enough flowers each year for me to make elderflower cordial. It gets few berries since I don’t have another plant for cross-pollination, so I’m happy to use the flowers in this way. I don’t have any negatives to share—it’s been an awesome plant for me.

      Melinda
      , Oregon
      , United States
      , 1 year ago
    • 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.

      Melissa S
      , Michigan
      , United States
      , 3 years 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.

      Jen
      , Canada
      , 3 years 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.

      Leah Camara
      , Rhode Island
      , United States
      , 8 years ago
    • My elderberry keeps looking like it wants to off itself! Following all instructions...

      Maggie
      , Colorado
      , United States
      , 9 years ago
    • Mona Larochelle
      , Quebec
      , Canada
      , 10 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.

      Terri
      , Ontario
      , Canada
      , 10 years ago
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