Introduction to Growing Elderberries

Do you want to begin growing elderberries? Or, have you been growing elderberries for a long time and simply want to get fresh ideas or helpful suggestions? This growing corner will teach you how to grow elderberries.

Planting Summary

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  • 3’–6’ between plants
  • 10’–12’ between rows
  • Plant at same depth as grown in the nursery, all roots should be well covered.


  • Keep soil moist throughout the establishment period
  • Between flowering and through harvest, 1 inch water via rain or by hand is recommended


  • No fertilizer in the planting year
  • In succeeding springs, mix 1 cup 10–10–10 per plant in a circle around the plant
  • Does well with various animal manures – apply manure or compost after plants begin to grow
  • pH: 6.0–6.8

Weed Control

  • Thorough, manual weeding is necessary, but do not cultivate deeply. Roots are fibrous and shallow. Generally once established a thick planting will suppress weeds on its own.
  • Compost or straw mulch will help

Special Considerations

  • Elderberry plants are generally free of pests
  • Birds absolutely love elderberry and an un-protected bush can be stripped clean as soon as berries turn color! Netting seems to work best.
  • Plants will fruit in second year, and those canes should be removed late that fall, and every fall thereafter, cut out the fruiting canes. The growth habit of these new varieties makes it easy to prune and maintain a nice bush.

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