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Wholesale Black Elderberry Bareroot Shrubs
If you’re looking for a rising star in the berry genre, elderberry is the one to watch. Elderberry (genus Sambucus) a deciduous shrub with many varieties native to different areas of the U.S. While most elderberry shrubs are, in essence, the same, they do come in several cultivars. These include the common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), black elderberry, red elderberry, blue elderberry, and dwarf elderberry.
In the spring, these bushes sprout beautiful flowers that, come late summer, transform into berries packed with antioxidants. Elderberry shrubs are becoming more and more popular among homeowners for their aesthetic qualities and practical benefits.
Why Grow Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberry shrubs are a colorful and spectacular addition to any garden or landscape. Gorgeous white or pink flowers bloom in the spring against luscious green foliage. Then in mid-summer, striking elderberries begin to take their place and ripen through mid-September, creating a dazzling display.
Elderberries are good for much more than just their looks though, as they also boast a myriad of health benefits. Ripe elderberries are known for their immune-boosting vitamins and antioxidants. They also help with digestion, weight loss, skin care, diabetes management, bone strength, and more. Many people take them daily as a syrup to promote strong health. Elderberries can also be used to make jams and jellies, pies and other baked goods, ferment into wines, and in other delicious recipes.
These shrubs are also popular for their ability to proliferate rapidly. In fact, elderberry is one of the quickest-growing tree species in the world. Routinely pruning elderberry shrubs leaves you with plenty of material to use as mulch or compost for your landscape. They also help garden growth by attracting pollinators with their large flowers, benefiting the environment as well.
How to Grow Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberry shrubs can thrive in a variety of different conditions, so long as their minimum moisture and nutrient requirements are met. On average, they grow to be 10-15 feet tall with a round, wide shape.
Soil Conditions for Elderberry Shrubs
Moist or wet soil with good drainage to prevent root rot is ideal for elderberry shrub growth. Soil should also be fertile (or amended to increase nutrients) and slightly acidic, with a preferred pH between 5.5-6.5.
Light Conditions for Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberry shrubs should be grown in either full sun or partial shade. It is better for them to be cool and moist rather than hot and dry, so keep this in mind if you’re deciding between a spot with excessive sun exposure or a partially shaded area.
Planting Elderberry Shrubs
Plant elderberry shrubs in fall or early spring. At the time of planting, shrubs should be watered thoroughly and compost or manure should be mixed with the soil to provide a nutrient boost to the new roots. It is recommended that you plant elderberry in pairs or groups to take full advantage of their cross-pollination capabilities and facilitate a higher fruit yield. Allow enough space in between your shrubs for foliage to receive good air circulation and to accommodate wide growth. Individual plants should be approximately 6-10 feet apart, in rows 10-16 feet apart.
Ongoing Elderberry Shrub Maintenance
Elderberry shrubs generally do well when you let them grow wild. There are, however, just a few periodic upkeep tasks you should complete after the first year of growth. Elderberry is easy to maintain and long-lasting, once established, living for up to 60 years.
Fertilizing Elderberry Shrubs
Fertilizer can be applied to elderberry shrubs upon initial planting, but then should not be used again until the next growing season. Starting the second year, you can apply fertilizer annually in early spring to promote root strength and fruit production.
Watering Elderberry Shrubs
Keep elderberry shrubs well-watered for the first year of growth until they become established. They will need about 1-2 inches of water per week, depending on your climate. Established plants can tolerate some drought, but should still be watered supplementally during dry periods. Soil should be kept moist, but not waterlogged.
Pruning Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberry shrubs should not be pruned for the first two years. Beginning in the third year, shrubs should be cut back in early spring or late winter. Remove dead, weak, and diseased canes, as well as canes older than three years to encourage the growth of newer, more fruitful canes.
Suckers will pop up often and should also be pruned, unless you intend to let shrubs grow unchecked. Pruning suckers will prevent the plant from becoming invasive and keep the shrub denser and more manageable. The area around elderberry shrubs also needs to be weeded consistently, or their shallow roots will be competing with the weeds for water and nutrients.
Propagating Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberry shrubs are very easily propagated if you want to expand your supply. In late fall or winter, hardwood cuttings can be taken for propagation. In spring or summer, cut softwoods. Sucker and root cuttings may also be used for proliferation.
Harvesting Elderberry Shrubs
Elderberries ripen between mid-August and mid-September. In the first year, your shrub may produce a small yield, but the second year is the most fruitful. Try to wait until berries are dark purple or nearly black, as this is when they are the ripest. You may need to harvest them sooner though to get to them before the many birds and mammals that eat them too.
The easiest way to collect berries is to snip the clusters, then strip the individual berries after. Unripe berries and stems are toxic, so be sure to remove them before cooking, processing, and/or storing.
For all of your wholesale and retail elderberry shrub needs, look no further than Cold Stream Farm! We can supply bareroot elderberry shrubs and elderberry shrub transplants to nurseries, plant businesses, and individual property owners near our Michigan location, as well as deliver throughout the entire continental U.S.—no minimum order required.
Place an order for the elderberry shrubs you need online today or call us at 231-464-5809 with any questions about the shrubs, trees, and other plant products we offer!