Why do you say Elderberry selections instead of varieties?
We call them selections instead of varieties because they have been 'selected' from the wild, tested and grown commercially with success. This means the selections we are growing here in theUS are native to the US.
What is the American black elderberry selection?
The American Black Elderberry selection is known as Sambucus canadensis and they are much different than other elderberries grown around the world.
What is unique about the canadensis elderberry selection?
The canadensis elderberry does not contain the same precursors of cyanide as other elderberries, meaning they can be processed using little to no heat. Lower heat in processing ensures the berry maintains most of the beneficial qualities which are normally lost using high heat.
Where do elderberries grow?
Elderberry has the widest range of all small fruits in North America. It is known to grow from northern Quebec, Canada to South America. Elderberry is native to eastern North America. The American elderberry, Sambucus canadensis, typically grows in riparian areas as a bush. European elderberry, Sambucus nigra, typically grows as a small tree. Elderberries are successfully grown in almost every state in the US. We grow them commercially and they can also be grown in your backyard or garden.
How big will elderberries get, and how long do they live?
Elderberries will grow to be 10 feet tall in northern regions and as tall as 15 feet in southern regions of the United States. Longevity records for canadensis have not been kept long enough to know for certain, but the European elderberry plant can live 25 years. It is believed canadensis lifespan will be similar in length.
What locations are best for elderberries?
Elderberry prefers a heavy soil that is high in organic material, with an ideal pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Plants prefer ample moisture and can thrive even under poor drainage conditions if planted in raised beds. Bottomland is ideal, but adequately irrigated uplands also sustain elderberries. The plants can sustain short periods of flooding. The plants can do well in transition zones between wetlands and upland areas. Production will be maximized in areas that receive full sun.
How are elderberries reproduced?
Elderberries can be grown from seeds, cuttings, suckers, or rhizomes, but the easiest plantings are established with dormant hardwood cuttings and will produce a crop in the second year. Plantings established from seed will take 3-4 years to produce a crop. Each year we will have a number of cuttings and bare root plants to sell on our shop page. Stock is limited and most of these are purchased as a pre-order, so keep your eye out.
Can I propagate my own elderberries?
Yes, from dormant hardwood cuttings. It is best to take cuttings from plants that are at least two years old. Cuttings should be six-to- eight inches long and contain two or more pairs of opposite buds. We take our cuttings in when they are dormant, around January. They can be sanitized and stored with moisture in the refrigerator until ready to plant, we use sphagnum moss. We have had the most success with cuttings that contain only two pairs of opposite buds, we cut around 2 inches above the top and 2 inches below the bottom bud sets. Bottom cuts are made at an angle.
When should I plant my elderberries?
Place cuttings in growing medium in late January or February to have roots and be ready to plant in spring. It is advised if you are planting non-rooted cuttings in the ground, to plant them in as cold of weather as you can. The cool weather keeps them from leafing out from the top buds and the cutting can focus on making roots from the bottom buds. Plants may be set in ground from early spring to June, but late plantings will have little growth the first year. A single cultivar will give good pollination for adequate production. Pollination usually occurs by wind while insects play a minor role. Browsing by deer can decrease production significantly. Birds and small animals are also attracted to the elderberry fruit. In Missouri, full flowering occurs in mid-June. Production will increase rapidly the first three years.