The US native species, Sambucus canadensis, thrives in shade or part shade, with about four hours of sun per day being ideal. You’ll either need to harvest or prune the berries as they ripen, or be diligent about picking them up. Soil dries out much more quickly in containers, and a large pot can hold more moisture without leaving the roots standing in water, which can cause root rot. Pruning is essential, or you’ll end up with an elderberry shrub that doesn’t fruit as vigorously as it used to, and it will rapidly outgrow its container home. Fill your chosen container with an organically rich potting soil. Prune regularly after the third year to maintain a short, bushy shrub. Learn more about how to fertilize your elderberry in our guide, Read more about treating powdery mildew here, Promoting Pollination by Design: How to Attract Pollinators, When and How to Blanch Maturing Cauliflower Heads, Growing Citrus Indoors: Create a Little Slice of Paradise, Tasty Turf: Tips for Using Culinary Herbs as Ground Cover, 11 of the Best Gardening-Themed Books for Children, Plant-Based Protein: The Best Protein-Packed Plants to Grow in the Garden, Plant in a container that’s a minimum of 24 inches wide by 20 inches deep, Provide a full sun to part sun location – except if you grow. Growing elderberries is not all that difficult. This is particularly important if you plant a larger variety that may become top-heavy. This cultivar is suited to gardens in Zones 4-7, and makes a perfect cross-pollinating companion for ‘Black Beauty®.’. It is only about a foot tall now. Her passion is focused these days on growing ornamental edibles, and foraging for food in the urban and suburban landscape. In the ground, elderberry bushes grow into dense masses similar to a thicket, and over time they spread to cover a wide area. Aim for six hours or more of direct sunlight per day. How to Grow Elderberry from Seed Elderberry seeds need the coldness of winter, or stratification, before they will germinate. Others will not set fruit at all without another plant for cross-pollination. During the winter months, the plant will be dormant and only occasional watering is needed, to ensure the soil does not dry out completely. It does, however, need protection from freezing temperatures below -5°F. Starting with high-quality potting soil means you will usually be able to avoid the soil-borne diseases that can affect this plant. Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to upload a picture or two! COPYRIGHT © 2020 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. You … Problems often arise in plants that are not pruned regularly enough to maintain proper airflow. These can be grown in a container where you can enjoy all that the plant has to offer on your porch, patio, or even on a sunny balcony. They were reclassified in 1994 as part of the Adoxaceae family, which includes viburnums. One thing growing elderberries cannot tolerate, however, is drought. It grows rapidly to a mature size of 3 feet tall and wide. Remove canes that droop down to the ground, broken or damaged canes, and those that cross each other so that they rub together. … Prune out infected twigs and keep plants well … This is particularly true for plants grown in container. Also, be aware that birds might pick up and drop berries in places where you don’t want them. While you don’t need to divide elderberry plants, pluck out any suckers that pop up next to the main plant, or you’ll end up with several plants trying to compete for nutrients and water in one container. Though elderberries have shallow roots, these shrubs are fast growers that spread via suckers, so planting them in pots is a smart way to keep them in check. Allowing the roots to spread also provides a more stable base, and will help to prevent the plant from falling over. Take care not to damage the roots near the surface when mixing the fertilizer into the soil. This disease affects a whole range of plants, including elderberries. Second-year canes produce best and production drops off after that. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness. With the delicate beauty of the intensely-scented flowers that look heavenly in bouquets, and the fruit that can be used medicinally or in cooking, elderberries are a delight to have in the garden. See our TOS for more details. Aim for at least five holes in a 24-inch-wide container. If you notice the top inch of soil is dry between waterings, increase the amount or frequency of your irrigation. Even if you don’t plan to cook the berries or make your own home remedies, elderberry shrubs make a lovely ornamental addition to outdoor spaces, both spacious and more compact. Growing Elderberries in Pots and Containers. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Soil in containers dries out more quickly than garden soil, so I use drip irrigation to keep my plants happy. If it doesn’t, the soil may have become compacted. To grow an elderberry bush in a pot you need a final container size of at least 20 gallons. It is suitable for growers in Zones 4-8, and features pretty white flowers with crimson edges in the spring. A large container with a heavy base will keep your plant stable as it matures. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Remove the canes by cutting them off at soil level. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. This self-fertile species produces large clusters of reddish-purple fruit that ripens in early fall. To transplant nursery seedlings, dig a hole in the soil in your container to the same depth as the pot it is currently in. But my favorite reason to plant these fruit bushes in a container is because of their flowers. S. nigra ‘Black Lace®’ is a real beauty, with delicate, dark reddish-purple lacy leaves and light pink blooms. Using soil taken directly from your garden is not recommended, as it can harbor disease and weed seeds. That’s why I love growing currants, gooseberries, and my all-time favorite: elderberries. Elderberry bushes are very easy to propagate from cuttings, and you can often just cut some pieces off a growing tree and push them in the ground and they will grow. While they aren’t a good choice for a small balcony or patio, you can grow elderberries as a potted plant if you have a large container and plenty of room. As with elderberries in the ground, you should plant ones in pots in the early spring after the danger of frost has passed. It is native to western North America, from Oregon through Mexico. Thanks! Sandy soil usually dries out too quickly and doesn't have enough nutrients … Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Are you tempted to try? Germination is tricky and plantings will sometimes produces nothing even though … Plant up to three cuttings in each large pot by carefully inserting the angled end dusted with rooting hormone into the soil-less potting medium. Here is more about what we do. That way, if sun conditions change or we have a particularly harsh winter, I can move my plant around. For more information about growing and using elderberries, you’ll need these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. Never fear, these lovely plants lend themselves well to container growing, as long as you keep a few tips in mind. As with red elderberry, the fruit of this type also causes stomach upset in … The word ‘elder’ comes from the … This article explains how to care for container-grown elderberry bushes. In early spring, plant seeds in 1/2- to 1/4-inch-deep containers and then transplant to your desired location when they're about 6 inches tall or sow the seeds in your garden. If your container doesn’t have several large drainage holes, you’ll need to make some. The ornamental red berries are not edible, but will provide a source of autumn sustenance for local songbirds. Glossy black berries will ripen in the fall, provided there is another variety with a similar bloom time and of the same species located close by for cross-pollination. Although they like moist soil, if their roots become waterlogged, elderberries may suffer from root rot. If you’ve noticed elderberries growing along riverbanks and roadsides, or in moist woodlands and marshes, you’ve probably seen the American elderberry, Sambucus canadensis, a common, wild species native to the U.S. Another common type, the European elderberry… They’re nitrogen-hungry plants, so plan to supplement the soil after a few years of container growing. You can also spray plants with a targeted fungicide. The shrub produces a white scented flower and small purple berry in the summer months. Maintain good airflow by pruning regularly, and provide adequate water and well-draining soil. There are four species of elderberry that you’ll commonly find in container gardens: Many elderberry varieties are self-fruiting, but will almost always produce higher yields when a cultivar of the same species is planted within 40-50 feet. How to grow hundreds of Elderberry plants in two square feet. You can also work composted manure into the soil. If you notice your plants are producing an excess of new leafy growth, reduce the amount of nitrogen you’re giving them by half. This plant has shallow roots, so it’s more important that your container be wide than deep. They puncture plants and suck the juice from petals and fruits. Most thriving wild-growing elderberries can be found growing on creek banks and drainage ditches for this very reason. Choose a large pot with several drainage holes in the bottom. The only thing more marvelous than enjoying a homegrown harvest of berries picked at their peak ripeness is when those berries are of a variety that’s difficult to find in the store. A full-grown, mature plant can yield up to 15 pounds of fruit each season, but you’ll get less than that with a container-grown elderberry shrub. Coupled with the shallow root system, if the planter is not big enough, your container-grown elderberry can easily tip over – especially in windy locations. When is the best time to plant elderberries in pots? It has green foliage, and delicate yellow or cream-colored flowers give way to clusters of light purple or blue berries in the fall. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Cut canes at the base near the soil level. Root rot causes leaves to turn yellow or red, and roots may have black or brown lesions. Make sure the pot you choose does not taper towards a narrow base. Root rot is caused by Phytophthora rubi, a fungus-like organism that thrives in waterlogged soils. Make sure the soil retains moistures, drains well, and is fertile. You’ll know you likely have an infestation if just the green shoots on your plant start to wilt. These shrubs aren’t as common in home gardens as some of the more popular edible berries, and I think that’s a shame. A heavy-duty, wide base is required as the plant has a tendency to get top-heavy, particularly if it’s not kept well pruned. The moth lays its eggs in late summer, and they hatch the following spring. This causes stunted growth, reduced harvests, and curling and discolored leaves. You can also start them indoors a few weeks before the last frost and then move the container outdoors. This plant needs to be planted in well-draining soil, because standing water can lead to root rot. That’s why it’s important to provide good drainage, with plenty of drainage holes in your container. Most other elderberry species prefer a full to part sun location, and will fruit better in full sun. Start elderberry seeds in 1-gallon nursery pots filled with a moist mixture of half seed-starting compost and half coarse sand or perlite. The blossoms smell heavenly – like a handful of summer. If you don’t have room in your garden beds, don’t despair. It’s important to maintain good air circulation by pruning, avoid watering the foliage, and remove any debris that falls into the container. Choose a potting mix that has added perlite, vermiculite, sand, or peat moss to help with drainage. Many types of elderberries grow best in Zones 3-8, all of which experience winter freezing. Use a ratio of 1 part perlite and peat moss mixture to 3 parts potting soil. The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. This particular cultivar was developed in England in the 1980s, and was introduced to the US market by Proven Winners. I’m excited to watch it grow. Let’s dive in! This is a plant that likes to spread out and it won’t do well in a small pot. If you know of a friend or neighbor that has one, ask them if you can get … Known by many different names, including black elderberry, this shrub makes a lovely addition to a garden or … You can learn more about the pros and cons of different container materials here. Sign up for our newsletter. But if you do decide to do so, conduct a soil test and amend with compost or well-rotted manure as needed. 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Be sure to leave the top nodes located near the flat end of the cutting exposed as this is where the new elderberry plant … Most varieties have a free-form, bushy growth habit, and can often grow to be as wide as they are tall. This makes it ideal for container growing, since it won’t suffer if you forget to water. I just planted an elderberry tree in a large container on my balcony. Learn more about how to fertilize your elderberry in our guide. This native cultivar of Sambucus canadensis goes by the common name “Adams.” It is one of the most common elderberries grown in North America and is similar to those found growing wild.Adams ElderberryThe signature white flowers, and large clusters of dark purple fruits, make it easily identifiable as a beautiful yard accent.At full height, this beautiful bush can reach between 6 and 10 feet tall. Soil dries out much more quickly in containers, and a large pot … All elderberries enjoy a good loamy soil. Late winter or early spring is also the best time to fertilize elderberries in pots. Use an insecticidal soap to control thrips. Glad we were able to help! In the wild, it can often be found growing … That said, bigger is better. If your plant has root rot, it’s toast. When planting elderberry bushes, you should note that the berries will grow … Elderberries are very resilient plants, which can be grown in large flower pots and containers. Pull it and start again. Elderberries face a few pests and diseases in the garden, though plants are usually untroubled. Read more about treating powdery mildew here. Plant in early spring, as soon as you can after transporting it from the nursery. Obviously, the flowers will look great in any part of your yard or garden (especially a landscape setting), but you'll get the most practical use out of the … Elderberries are very resilient plants, thus they can be grown in large pots and containers which should be at least 60cm (24 inches) in diameter and 50cm (20 inches) deep, with lots of drainage holes. Some varieties grow up to 12 feet tall, but the shorter types that grow no more than 4 feet high are best for containers. Also add the perlite and peat moss mixture mentioned above, or some sand to promote good drainage. While it won’t usually kill your plants, it can weaken them and reduce flowering and fruit production. While the roots are shallow, they can spread several feet. Most pests will give your elderberry plants a wide berth, but keep an eye out for these: The elder shoot borer is the larvae of a red-brown moth, Achatodes zeae, that tunnels into the new shoots, and causes the tips of the canes to wilt. Place in an indoor sunny warm location. With its more upright growth habit, ‘Lemony Lace®’ is perfect for smaller spaces, with a mature height of just 3-4 feet tall. You can determine how much water your plants are getting by using a rain gauge. According to Linda Chalker-Scott, Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor at the Puyallup Research and Research Center at Washington State University, rocks or other coarse material placed in the bottom will actually impede the flow of water through the container, potentially causing the soil to become waterlogged. The American elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) is a deciduous shrub that comes from North America.It is also known as the pie elder, American elder, black elderberry, elder-blow, sweet elder or just elderberry. Flowers are white, cream or purple. For best results, you need to pick one that is at least 24 inches wide and 20 inches deep. Left unchecked, it can cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. Identification is relatively easy – third-year canes will be larger than the surrounding canes, and will have fewer leaves. Here are a few cultivars suitable for growing in containers: First introduced to the US from Europe in 2004 by Proven Winners, ‘Black Beauty®’ is a cultivar of S. nigra. Or take the lazy approach and sow … Why grow them in containers? A heavy-duty planter, like one made out of cement or rock, is a smart choice to prevent tipping. You’ll need to remove the plant and free up the drainage holes. The viewer has limited in ground growing space but wants to grow elderberries. Elderberry containers should be spaced at least three feet apart and away from walls and fences, to promote good airflow and help to prevent disease. It is fast-growing, tolerant of a number of climates and moisture levels once established. Choose a slow-release fertilizer with an analysis of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and follow the instructions for containerized plants. The elderberry is a perennial shrub that is hardy in USDA growing zones 4 and higher. I like to bring that scent close so I can enjoy it frequently, right on my patio. Most – but not all – varieties are self-pollinating, but you can plant two together within 50 feet of each other to improve your berry harvest. Suitable for growers in Zones 3-7, you can find 2- to 4-year-old plants available at Nature Hills Nursery or from Home Depot. Although they are mostly grown on permanent locations, elderberries in pots and containers grow … First, let’s consider why you might want to grow elderberries in the first place. Beyond the tasty berries, which are delicious cooked into jam or pie filling, or made into wine, the flowers are also edible and smell delightful, which makes this an attractive plant to have around in the garden or on the patio. Water the plant, then place it in the hole, and tamp the soil down gently before watering it in well. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. Humans apparently recognized elderberry as a useful plant even in prehistoric times: Evidence of its cultivation is found in Stone Age village sites in Italy and Switzerland. In their first year, elderberry canes produce a light crop of fruit. If allowed to, it’ll top out at 8 feet tall, but it responds well to pruning if you want to maintain a compact, bushy form. As a garden plant, it is best suited for growing in large containers or in a location where it won’t become invasive. You can tackle this problem with a sulfur or copper-based fungicide, which will slow the spread, but not cure the disease. Remove all of the third-year canes and enough first and second year canes to leave a total of about five canes in the pot. Make sure the temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit so the seedlings can germinate. If growth appears sluggish and only a few new canes pop up come spring, increase nitrogen by half. To plant the elderberry seeds in the pot, make a small hole and put the seeds 1/4 inch into the potting soil. They can tolerate different conditions like poor soil or overly wet areas. In the fall, dark berries appear – provided you’ve got another variety, such as ‘Black Lace®’ (described below) nearby. Large containers are often not recommended for plants with a small root structure, but elderberry likes moist soil with good drainage. Leaves wilt, curl, and turn brown, particularly on parts of the plant located in full shade. The dark foliage, especially when contrasted with the delicate pink flowers in springtime, makes a bold statement on your patio or as a feature planting. Tapiro is the common name of the Mexican species, S. mexicana. You can find plants in quart-size pots at Nature Hills Nursery. Elderberry bushes are a versatile plant, with tons of uses. To eradicate this pest, prune back canes until they’re no longer hollow, and burn or dispose of the infected material. 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