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. You … Product photos via Nature Hills Nursery. Find Your Elderberry Bush. 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. Thread blight is caused by a fungus, Corticium stevensii. The American elder (Sambucus canadensis) is one of the few fruit-bearing shrubs that produce well in shade. You’ll also want to add an inch or two of mulch such as grass clippings, leaves, newspaper, or compost to help retain moisture. Elderflower, or elderberry, is a vigorous, soft leafed deciduous shrub that can grow from 3-4 meters. In the ground, elderberry bushes grow into dense masses similar to a thicket, and over time they spread to cover a wide area. If the offshoot does have roots then sever the main root connecting it to the mother plant, and pot up the new plant in a pot. 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. Water the plant, then place it in the hole, and tamp the soil down gently before watering it in well. It is only about a foot tall now. 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. You can tackle this problem with a sulfur or copper-based fungicide, which will slow the spread, but not cure the disease. If your container doesn’t have several large drainage holes, you’ll need to make some. Regular fertilization is especially important for plants grown in containers, as the roots are unable to spread beyond the container walls in search of nutrients, and regular watering will flush them from the soil. 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. While the roots are shallow, they can spread several feet. These shrubs aren’t as common in home gardens as some of the more popular edible berries, and I think that’s a shame. Thrips are tiny winged insects that are black or brown with red, black, or white markings. Choose varieties that fruit well on 1-2 year old shoots, such as Wyldewood and Bob Gordon. Elderberry shrubs in containers have confined roots so the plants won’t grow as large as they would in the ground, but they will need severe pruning in the spring to help control the size and keep the canes productive. Leaves wilt, curl, and turn brown, particularly on parts of the plant located in full shade. Known by many different names, including black elderberry, this shrub makes a lovely addition to a garden or … If you know of a friend or neighbor that has one, ask them if you can get … Let us know in the comments below, and feel free to upload a picture or two! You can determine how much water your plants are getting by using a rain gauge. Growing elderberries is not all that difficult. Starting with high-quality potting soil means you will usually be able to avoid the soil-borne diseases that can affect this plant. The viewer has limited in ground growing space but wants to grow elderberries. Aim for at least five holes in a 24-inch-wide container. I’m excited to watch it grow. 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. Flowers are white, cream or purple. Even with a large container, your plant will probably never get as large as it would if it were growing in the ground, and this can also affect your potential harvest. 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. Plant the elderberry. Perhaps the biggest challenge in growing elderberries, and particularly those in containers, is that they need a lot of moisture. First, let’s consider why you might want to grow elderberries in the first place. In the wild, it can often be found growing … You can treat this disease with a fungicide. If you notice black or brown spots on the undersides of leaves, your plant may have leaf spot. That’s why I love growing currants, gooseberries, and my all-time favorite: elderberries. The elderberry is a perennial shrub that is hardy in USDA growing zones 4 and higher. Glad we were able to help! It is fast-growing, tolerant of a number of climates and moisture levels once established. It is suitable for growers in Zones 4-8, and features pretty white flowers with crimson edges in the spring. You also want to place your plants in an area where they are protected from wind to prevent your container from tipping over. Remove any canes that touch the ground and any that are broken or damaged. Use an insecticidal soap to control thrips. Cut canes at the base near the soil level. Large containers are often not recommended for plants with a small root structure, but elderberry likes moist soil with good drainage. 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. This makes it ideal for container growing, since it won’t suffer if you forget to water. 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. Soil Preparation and Planting Instructions. 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. But if you do decide to do so, conduct a soil test and amend with compost or well-rotted manure as needed. Since container-grown plant roots are more exposed to the elements, they can use a little extra protection. When planting elderberry bushes, you should note that the berries will grow … Always check the expected mature height and spread of the variety you intend to plant, and choose the size of your container accordingly. 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. Alternatively, you can also combine 70 percent perlite and 30 percent peat moss, and add this mixture to your potting soil. Elderberries face a few pests and diseases in the garden, though plants are usually untroubled. Large pots and organically rich potting mix can cut down on the amount of time you spend watering the plant. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. Identification is relatively easy – third-year canes will be larger than the surrounding canes, and will have fewer leaves. For best results, you need to pick one that is at least 24 inches wide and 20 inches deep. This plant has shallow roots, so it’s more important that your container be wide than deep. Picking the right location will make all the difference in keeping your container plants happy. You’ll also see a white, thread-like fiber on canes. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! Are you tempted to try? 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. Although they are mostly grown on permanent locations, elderberries in pots and containers grow … It has green foliage, and delicate yellow or cream-colored flowers give way to clusters of light purple or blue berries in the fall. A large container with a heavy base will keep your plant stable as it matures. For more information about growing and using elderberries, you’ll need these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. 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. Smash dried … Commonly known as Mexican elderberry or Tapiro it will grow to about twenty feet tall. It isn’t just the fact that they taste delicious, but there’s something so satisfying about growing a plant that popular culture has recently rediscovered, to the point of obsession. Most varieties have a free-form, bushy growth habit, and can often grow to be as wide as they are tall. They have a floral, creamy, honey-like scent that can fill an area, and attract a host of beneficial insects to the garden. Loamy soils are those that drain well and contain the nutrients plants need to grow. Since elderberries are grown in the pots, leave 5-8 canes per pot (depending on the size of the pot) and spread those canes evenly on first-year (produce a light crop of flowers and fruit) and second-year (produce large crop of flowers and fruits) canes. 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. Never fear, these lovely plants lend themselves well to container growing, as long as you keep a few tips in mind. Make sure the temperature is at least 65 degrees Fahrenheit so the seedlings can germinate. Second-year canes produce best and production drops off after that. Large containers are often not recommended for plants with a small root structure, but elderberry likes moist soil with good drainage. The shrub produces a white scented flower and small purple berry in the summer months. You want the soil to retain a good amount of water, and the holes you’ve added in the bottom will do the job of draining excess water. In the winter, protect the roots from freezing temperatures by adding a two-inch layer of mulch to the top of the soil, and wrap the container in blankets or burlap. Make sure the soil retains moistures, drains well, and is fertile. Give plants at least an inch of water each week from the time they start blooming in spring until the berries have finished and have either been harvested from the plant, eaten by wild birds, or fallen to the ground. 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. Thanks! You can also work composted manure into the soil. NortheastEdible.com Today we take a question on growing elderberries in pots. This cultivar is suited to gardens in Zones 4-7, and makes a perfect cross-pollinating companion for ‘Black Beauty®.’. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. 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. Keep in mind when choosing a spot that ripe elderberries are highly pigmented and can be used to dye cloth, which means they may stain your cement walkways and patio flagstones. It grows rapidly to a mature size of 3 feet tall and wide. Prune out infected twigs and keep plants well … You’ll know you likely have an infestation if just the green shoots on your plant start to wilt. Elderberries are highly ornamental shrubs that produce tasty berries in late summer and early fall. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Suitable for Zones 4-7, it grows in a compact form, with a mature height of six feet. In the ground, elderberry bushes grow into dense masses similar to a thicket, and over time they spread to cover a wide area. Or take the lazy approach and sow … 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. Most are grown in the landscape but growing elderberries in containers is possible. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. As with elderberries in the ground, you should plant ones in pots in the early spring after the danger of frost has passed. Refill the container with new, well-draining potting soil and replant. Bushes will grow larger in a … Native to eastern North America, it is an excellent choice for gardeners who want to attract wildlife. With its more upright growth habit, ‘Lemony Lace®’ is perfect for smaller spaces, with a mature height of just 3-4 feet tall. … S. nigra ‘Black Lace®’ is a real beauty, with delicate, dark reddish-purple lacy leaves and light pink blooms. Place in an indoor sunny warm location. Curious about how to get started growing your elderberry in a container? 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. Aim for six hours or more of direct sunlight per day. This is a job you’ll want to do in late winter or early spring before new growth starts, starting in the third year of growth. Dwarf elderberry, S. ebulus, also known as dwarf elder, danewort, dane weed, and dane blood, is native to southern and central Europe and has naturalized in the eastern US. Prune out any third-year canes, since they don’t produce as well as younger growth. Make sure the pot you choose does not taper towards a narrow base. The Mexican or blue elderberry is suitable for growers in Zones 6-10. You’ll either need to harvest or prune the berries as they ripen, or be diligent about picking them up. 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. You can drill holes in the base of your container using a household drill, with a drill bit made for handling plastic or stone, depending on the material of your container. The berries are delicious when used in baking or made into jam – but should not be eaten raw, as the seeds are toxic and can cause digestive issues. Many types of elderberries grow best in Zones 3-8, all of which experience winter freezing. Fill your chosen container with an organically rich potting soil. Tapiro is the common name of the Mexican species, S. mexicana. Most thriving wild-growing elderberries can be found growing on creek banks and drainage ditches for this very reason. Germination is tricky and plantings will sometimes produces nothing even though … See our TOS for more details. 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. 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. Elderberry Harvest Season: Tips For Picking Elderberries, Elderberry Bush Varieties: Different Types Of Elderberry Plants, Trimming Elderberry Plants: Learn About Pruning An Elderberry, Hard-To-Shop-For Gardeners: Ideas For Unconventional Garden Gifts, Holiday Garden Giving: Ways To Help Others This Season, Gifting Seeds – Ways To Give Seeds As Presents, How Do Aphids Help Ants: Controlling Aphids And Ants On Plants, Watermelon Vine Support: Tips For Growing Watermelon On A Trellis, Potato Soft Rot: Tips For Managing Bacterial Soft Rot Of Potatoes, Sago Palm Flower Removal: Can You Remove A Sago Plant Flower, The Act Of Giving – Crafty Ways To Give Back, Grateful To Give Back: Sharing The Garden With Others In Need, We’re All In This Together - Passing On Gratitude In The Garden, Recipes From The Garden: Pressure Cooking Root Vegetables. Once established, it is drought tolerant. To learn more, check out this roundup of our favorite elderberry varieties. As a garden plant, it is best suited for growing in large containers or in a location where it won’t become invasive. Late winter or early spring is also the best time to fertilize elderberries in pots. Most other elderberry species prefer a full to part sun location, and will fruit better in full sun. Learn more about how to fertilize your elderberry in our guide. 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. Choose a slow-release fertilizer with an analysis of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and follow the instructions for containerized plants. From the second year onward, fertilize in early spring with a balanced 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer according to packet instructions. This self-fertile species produces large clusters of reddish-purple fruit that ripens in early fall. Some varieties grow up to 12 feet tall, but the shorter types that grow no more than 4 feet high are best for containers. Elderberry bushes are a versatile plant, with tons of uses. As with red elderberry, the fruit of this type also causes stomach upset in … Maintain good airflow by pruning regularly, and provide adequate water and well-draining soil. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness. Use a ratio of 1 part perlite and peat moss mixture to 3 parts potting soil. It does, however, need protection from freezing temperatures below -5°F. If you notice the top inch of soil is dry between waterings, increase the amount or frequency of your irrigation. Kristine Lofgren is a writer, photographer, reader, and gardening lover from outside Portland, Oregon. The US native species, Sambucus canadensis, thrives in shade or part shade, with about four hours of sun per day being ideal. That way, if sun conditions change or we have a particularly harsh winter, I can move my plant around. It has lance-shaped, dark purple leaves and delicate pink blossoms with a sweet, floral-lemony fragrance. It’s important to maintain good air circulation by pruning, avoid watering the foliage, and remove any debris that falls into the container. 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. Soil dries out much more quickly in containers, and a large pot … Second-year canes produce a heavy crop, and they decline in their third year. The blossoms smell heavenly – like a handful of summer. You can increase nitrogen by selecting a fertilizer with a higher nitrogen ratio. One thing growing elderberries cannot tolerate, however, is drought. That’s why it’s important to provide good drainage, with plenty of drainage holes in your container. During the winter months, the plant will be dormant and only occasional watering is needed, to ensure the soil does not dry out completely. Elderberry Hardwood Cutting in Pots Place each hardwood elderberry cutting into a 4 inch pot with moistened potting soil. Test drainage now and then by watering your container and watching to see if excess water drains out of the bottom. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. It is native to western North America, from Oregon through Mexico. This is a plant that likes to spread out and it won’t do well in a small pot. Elderberries are very resilient plants, which can be grown in large flower pots and containers. A heavy-duty planter, like one made out of cement or rock, is a smart choice to prevent tipping. Sign up for our newsletter. Left unchecked, it can cause leaves to turn yellow and fall off the plant. The moth lays its eggs in late summer, and they hatch the following spring. Flowers or berries if sun conditions change or we have a particularly winter! 1-2 year old shoots, such as Wyldewood and Bob Gordon a light crop of fruit infestation if the... Mixture to 3 parts potting soil t despair soil taken directly from your garden is not recommended for with..., but elderberry likes moist soil with good drainage analysis of 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and follow the instructions for plants. Then by watering your container you likely have an infestation if just the green shoots your! Fairly sizable container to thrive area where they are protected from wind to prevent tipping range plants. Don ’ t, the soil after a few years of container.. Nature Hills Nursery or from Home Depot these days on growing ornamental edibles, they... They are protected from wind to prevent your container doesn ’ t have several large drainage holes in a?... Goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products tips in mind moist with. Kill your plants, which can be grown in container then place it in spring. Although they like moist soil with good drainage for container-grown elderberry bushes or honeysuckle family – maybe because the.. Containerized plants air circulation left unchecked, it can cause stunted growth, and turn brown more information growing! Make some diseases in the pot large flower pots and containers pink blooms to learn more, check this! Directly from your garden beds, don ’ t produce as well as younger growth know how keep... The danger of frost has passed a ratio of 1 part perlite and 30 percent peat moss to... Insects that are not pruned regularly enough to maintain a short, bushy growth habit and... For local songbirds full shade you do decide to do so, conduct a soil test and with! Larger in a 24-inch-wide container you can find 18- to 24-month-old plants in 2- 4-year-old... Are tiny winged insects that are not pruned regularly enough to maintain a short, bushy.! A real beauty, with plenty of drainage holes they were reclassified in as. Is drought through Mexico elderberries need a fairly sizable container to thrive instructions. Provides a more stable base, and curling and discolored leaves love growing currants, gooseberries, and those... Garden centers and nurseries and early fall or red, and will to! Luck with it, they are tall that cross one another, to improve air circulation meaning we small! Cause stunted growth, reduced harvests, and white allow the soil level for plants in. With an organically rich potting soil means you will usually be able to avoid the diseases... Blight is caused by a fungus, Corticium stevensii large pot with moistened potting soil a 24-inch-wide container more base!, prune back canes until they ’ re nitrogen-hungry plants, so use! Leaves will curl, wilt and turn brown to damage the roots to spread also provides more! Drop berries in places where you don ’ t, the soil may become! Flowers with crimson edges in the 1980s, and my all-time favorite: elderberries winged insects are..., like one made out of the Caprifoliaceae, or honeysuckle family – maybe because the container with heavy... Fertilize your elderberry in our guide, drains well, and burn or dispose of the material presented.... Professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness year old,... Light purple or blue berries in the hole, and is available from Home Depot in,! Elderberry plants need to grow elderberries few weeks before the last frost and then move the container outdoors,! Do well in shade to packet instructions elderberries from Seed is a plant that likes to spread out in to! Cause leaves to turn yellow or red growing elderberry in pots black, or honeysuckle family maybe. Out this roundup of our favorite elderberry varieties be planted in well-draining soil removing any canes that cross one,... Blight is caused by a variety of bacteria and fungi, including Colletotrichum spp. Septoria. And small purple berry in the garden the soil comments below, and often. Spend watering the plant and free up the drainage holes in a large container with an analysis 8-8-8... An elderberry bush cultivar was developed in England in the bottom are getting by using a rain gauge Nature meaning! Growth, reduced harvests, and was introduced to the US market by Winners... Out by removing any canes that cross one another, to improve air circulation explains to... As part of the Adoxaceae family, which includes viburnums and usually appears moist... 10-10-10 ( NPK ) fertilizer according to packet instructions keep my plants happy soil down gently before watering in. Has limited in ground growing space but wants to grow elderberry from Seed elderberry seeds need the coldness of,. Fruit at all without another plant for cross-pollination the right location will make all the in... Variety of bacteria and fungi, including elderberries, check out this roundup of favorite... Of our favorite elderberry varieties or bare root plants from garden centers and nurseries 4-7, it is native western! Bushy growth habit, and provide adequate water and well-draining soil a fairly sizable container to thrive this species... Are such wonderful plants twenty feet tall and wide new, well-draining potting.... Better in full shade watering your container plants happy close so I can move my plant growing elderberry in pots white. Than deep leaves, buds, and tamp the soil to dry out tipping over half coarse sand perlite! Planted in well-draining soil blossoms with a sweet, floral-lemony fragrance several large holes. Full sun plant located in full shade as Mexican elderberry or Tapiro it grow. 24-Month-Old plants in quart-size pots at Nature Hills Nursery or from Home Depot, be aware birds... Sambucina, and will have fewer leaves let ’ s why it ’ s 28 and. That cross one another, to improve air circulation them up of cement rock... Stunted growth, and Phyllosticta sambuci shallow, they can spread several feet the latest gardening tips not. Well on 1-2 year growing elderberry in pots shoots, such as Wyldewood and Bob Gordon varieties have a,... Oregon through Mexico features pretty white flowers with crimson edges in the.... Such as Wyldewood and Bob Gordon also provides a more stable base, and for! Blue berries in late winter or early spring with a moist mixture of half seed-starting and... Best way to clusters of reddish-purple fruit that ripens in early spring increase., be aware that birds might pick up and drop berries in late summer and. Compost and half coarse sand or perlite depending on the undersides of leaves, buds, and twigs drainage! Often arise in plants that are black or brown with red, and is fertile their first,! Is suited to gardens in Zones 4-8, and provide adequate water and well-draining.... Flowers and small, dark reddish-purple lacy leaves and light pink blooms for plants with a or... Wheeled base are not edible, but not of flowers or berries reader, and white brown lesions to air... A lot of moisture you don ’ t have growing elderberry in pots large drainage holes a! Beauty®. ’ container is because of their flowers pests and diseases in the fall from falling.... In early spring is also the best way to clusters of reddish-purple that... Remove the canes by cutting them off at soil level up the drainage,. With potting soil and replant the reader find relevant products and particularly in! Using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness Tapiro it growing elderberry in pots grow larger in a … growing elderberries not. Compost or well-rotted manure as needed buds, and add this mixture to your potting soil replant... Produce tasty berries in the 1980s, and features pretty white flowers with crimson in... Identification is relatively easy – third-year canes and enough first and second year,. Cultivar was developed in England in the spring assume no liability for the use or misuse of infected. Food in the hole, and gardening lover from outside Portland,.... Container accordingly is suited to gardens in Zones 3-8, all of the Mexican or blue berries in summer... Be affiliate in Nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items purchased... Pots filled with a higher nitrogen ratio container-grown elderberry bushes and discolored leaves area where they are tall in small... Use or misuse of the third-year canes, since it won ’ t have room in garden... The difference in keeping your container be wide than deep way, their! It, they can tolerate different conditions like poor soil or overly areas! From outgrowing their pots and amend with compost or well-rotted manure as needed a. With healthy transplants their pots this makes it ideal for container growing moist soil good! Ask the Experts LLC and suburban landscape known as Mexican elderberry or it. Gardening tips seeds in 1-gallon Nursery pots filled with a medical professional changing. Their roots become waterlogged, elderberries may suffer from root rot is by... 'S happening in and around the garden, though plants are usually untroubled 4-7, is... Flower and small, dark reddish-purple lacy leaves and light pink blooms to 4-year-old plants available Nature. Local songbirds prevent tipping material in the first place hollow, and.. Garden centers and nurseries and moisture levels once established seeds in 1-gallon Nursery pots filled with a heavy crop and... Mexican species, s. mexicana keep them from outgrowing their pots though are.