Elderberry Cutting?

keilamarie(z5 Mass)July 22, 2005


I have a friend who has offer to give me a cutting of her elderberry bush along with another small elderberry srub. I'm sure the small shrub would transplant fine but is it possible to take cuttings from them? Do I need rooting stuff? I'm trading some irises for them since I'm just dying to have elderberry!

Also, I'm new at gardening and don't really get the cross polination thing so I was wondering if I really need two different kinds to get them to fruit or since it is already established at my friends I do not need to worry about this?

Any help would be wonderful,


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First the fruit. I believe elderberry are self fertile.

And a quick lesson; self fertile plants are sometimes more production if cross pollenated but will be fruitfull all on its own. Also note that if a plant does require cross-pollenation you would require a completely different plant than the one you have. In other words lets say you are give 2 starts of the "M5" elderberry and that the "M5" is self sterile. You would still need an elderberry other than the "M5" even though you have 2 plants. Even though you have two plants of the "M5" they are exactly the same and thus are unable to cross pollenate since they are exactly the same plant. You would need another elderberry other than the "M5".
Also some fruited plants, like most kiwi, have the male and female flowers on different plants. These are known as imperfect flowers while a flower with both male and female organs within the same flower are called perfect flowers. So back to the kiwi with its imperfect flowers, you would need a male flowering plant and a female flowering plant in order to ever get fruit. In most cases you can plant 1 male for several females. Also only the female plants will produce fruit.
And as if that wasn't enough imperfect flowers are often found on the same plant like with corn. The tassel is the male flower while the 'cob' with the seeds is the female. Many trees have flowers in this same arrangment, males flowers up top and females below. In this way the pollen (male) can drift down to the female flowers to pollenate 'em.
Now all this info is from a regular ol' gardener, me, with but a simple understanding of the workings of plants. For the more detailed information you may wish to post on the Botany forum.

Finally as to rooting cuttings of the elderberry. I have no idea. HA!!!! I would guess you could do so but that is not a plant I have tried to make more of. Now killin' em I have tried and failed at may a time ;o) HA!!!! Elderberries are everywhere in the moist soils of New Orleans. The only reason I can think of as to why a cutting may not take is that elderberries have a soft pithy center. I don't know if this would affect the rooting ability of 'em but it may.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 5:25PM
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keilamarie(z5 Mass)

Wow, thank you! I understand now-there is so much information you need to know to garden successfully! I'm not giving up as my yard is coming together so nicley! Thanks again!


    Bookmark   July 22, 2005 at 7:51PM
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Ha! I am always learning new stuff. Thats part of what makes gardening on any level fun. :o) You ain't livin' if you ain't learnin'!
Nothing but the best to you and yours in Mass. Oh but for some cool weather!!!! 100 out today with heat index of 113!!!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2005 at 4:48PM
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divaqs(z7 Seattle)

Hi All,

The link below goes to raintree nurserys information page on Elderberries.

A snippet from it is:
"Suckers or shoots will easily root."

My understanding was that you needed cross pollination to get berries from an elderberry..... Though if you have wild elderberries nearby, you should be fine.

Here is a link that might be useful: raintreenursery - elderberry info

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 12:49PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Numerous soft and semihardwood cuttings of elderberry i made this year consistantly failed because the did not survive long enough to produce roots, wilting within the hour. I beleive hardwood cuttings in the dormant season might be more sucessful, an plant to try it this winter.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 8:43PM
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juliat(z7 VA)

We get zillions of elderberry seedlings each year under our tree. If you still need a little tree next summer, let me know! (My email address is on my member page.)


    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 9:29PM
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Elderberry seedlings will wilt, and may lose all their leaves, but they will eventually come out of it. Don't know about cuttings, because southern elderberry puts out so many runners and offshoots, you don't have to root cuttings.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2005 at 5:34PM
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