Elderberries are popular for their unique taste, while providing great ornamental and ecological value. They are very cold hardy and an easy-to-grow plant. The berries grow in dense clusters and are a nutritious fruit which ripens in late August through early September in this area. They can produce abundantly, even in partial shade.
The berries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants and have been demonstrated in research to strengthen the immune system. When ripe, the entire cluster should be removed and the berries stripped from the cluster or frozen for later use. The berries have a dark purple juice and must be cooked.
The berries provide a great food source for wildlife and birds, as well. The large white flowers attract butterflies and other nectar-loving birds. The flowers also can be used themselves in preparations, such as in desserts, adding a light, sweet, scent and flavor that some describe as akin to muscat grapes. They can also be lightly battered and fried or made into a liqueur or cordial.
Elderberry plants are generally free of pests and diseases. They are self-fertile but will produce more with a second variety planted for cross-pollination. We offer 3 options:
John's will produce 15-30 pounds (30 in outstanding years) of berries annually. It is our highest yielding variety and offers berries which are sweet with a touch of tang. John is highly adaptable to different soil types and usually produces fruits the second year after planting.
York offers large berries on very large clusters. It ripens a bit later than John's. It was developed in New York in 1964 and is one of the most popular elderberry varieties.
Height at maturity: 10'
Spread at maturity: 6-8'
Hardiness Zones: 4a-8a
Container Size: 2.5" (John's) - 4" (York) - 2"W x 5"D (Native Wild)
Height at time of sale: 3-6"