American Elderberry 12-18" Seedlings

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American Elderberry 12-18" Seedlings

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American Elderberry

Sambucus canadensis

The American Elderberry is a large, spreading shrub that flowers in clumps of white early in the season.  This shrub produces larges clumps of small berries which are edible once autumn arrives.  The ripened berries are great for making pie, wine and jam.  This shrub is perfect for naturalizing wide open areas such as a farm field and provides excellent cover for wildlife.  This shrub will do very well in wetter areas and is commonly used for effective erosion control along rivers and streams.  Consider planting another elderberry such as the Red Elderberry within 60' for even better pollination.

  • Zones
    3 to 9
  • Soil Type
    Clay, Loamy & Sandy soils
  • Site Selection
    Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Mature Height & Width
    10-15' Height and 10-15' Spread
  • Growth Rate
    Fast - 24"+ per year
  • Moisture Requirements
    Average soils to wet but well drained soils
  • test

Product questions

  • Mark Popp
    Jan 19, 2020, 16:37

    Do you recommend using a tube on service berry or elderberry shrubs?

    Jan 20, 2020, 10:20

    Because the Serviceberry and Elderberry are shrubs, the tree tubes are not sized to accommodate the spread of the multiple branches. Further, American and Red Elderberry are deer resistant shrubs, as are the Allegheny and Juneberry Serviceberry.

The American Elderberry is also sometimes known as the Common Elderberry, Mexican Elderberry or the Black Elder.

Important Note:  Plant parts and raw, unripened berries are toxic to humans and animals and are escpecially harmful to children.  Only the blue-black, ripened berries should be picked and eaten or processed into other foods.

The American Elderberry is a great plant that grows in 45 of the 50 United States and the eastern two thirds of Canada.  While not drought tolerant, this bush will grow in average soils.  Plant this shrub in full sun for best results although it will tolerate part shade conditions.  While you will most likely get crops of berries when multiples of these shrubs are planted, a higher berry yield will occur if you plant another cultivar such as the Red Elderberry which we also carry.  


Common uses for the American Elderberry:

  • Ripened berries used for wine, jam and pie
  • Naturalizing large, open spaces
  • Erosion control along creeks and streams
  • Privacy screens
  • Good choice for lower story of a windbreak
  • Great wildlife value

The American Elderberry produces flower clusters which are attractive to bees and butterfiles.  Game birds, squirrels and other rodents, and several kinds of browsers also feed on the fruit or foliage of elderberry.  Bears love to eat the elderberry fruits while deer, elk, and moose browse on the stems and foliage.

The elderberries are important sources of summer food for many kinds of songbirds. For example, the western bluebird, indigo bunting, common house finch, red-shafted flicker, ash-throated flycatcher, black-headed grosbeak, scrub jay, Stellar jay, ruby-crowned kinglet, mockingbird, red-breasted nuthatch, Bullock’s oriole, hooded oriole, song sparrow, white-crowned sparrow, western tanager, California thrasher, russet-backed thrush, brown towhee, Audubon warbler, cedar waxwing, Lewis and Nuttall's woodpecker, wren-tit, grouse, pheasant, and pigeons all eat elderberries.

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