Elderberries, questions

leokat75May 8, 2008

I am wanting to plant some Elderberry. Ideally I have room for one BIG (eventually BIG) Elderberry. The problem comes in I have read mixed reports on whether or not these are self fertile. Ideally I want to plant the PNW native blue Elderberry. Does anyone have experience with these or know whether or not one single plant would produce fruit.

I can squeeze in two plants if it is needed for fruit, but do they need to be two different varieties? I assume not otherwise the natives would never fruit in the wild, hence the information I have been given that I "need to plant two different types" is confusing me. I have books and nursery sites that are all in disagreement.

Also, if anyone grows the native blue Elderberry, how is it? Have you made wine or preserves with it? Any feedback on how the flavor compares to the other varieties?



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Not sure about Elderberries, but with some plants - Blueberries being one - it's not that you need two different varieties it is that you need two that are not from the same gene pool. When buying blueberries, the easiest way to do that is to get two different cultivars (thereby, the two different varieties) because you know they are genetically different. I have a wild Elderberry and it does set some fruit, but not a lot.

The following link does say for Elderberry:

If growing selected clones for the fruit, you need to plant at least two different cultivars for cross pollination.

Or you can have one named cultivar and one species plant. You might find this article helpful, it speaks about cultivars to some extent.

It's not that you have to get cultivars, as I said that is just an easy way to know that you have plants with genetic differences. The real key is that you need your plants to bloom AT THE SAME TIME or at least have overlapping bloom times. If you don't, there is no way they can help each other.

Here is a link that might be useful: Floridata

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 2:33PM
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I don't know if they are self fruitful, but I do know with the kind that grow in the east you can't have just one... they colonize rather quickly, even in less than ideal growing conditions like I had in Chicago. They really can't be squeezed in. Maybe those in the west are different.

Blue Ridge Mountain Girl

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 8:46PM
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I know that is the case, they will spread. The area I have set aside is good sized, plenty of room for ONE to spread out and colonize, but TWO plants that will both spread and colonize would end up being a "squeeze".

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:42PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

I have a Sambucus canadensis (American Elderberry), and it produces a lot of fruit. I only have 1 and there's no other in the neighborhood, probably even in town⺠Be aware that when it spreads, or colonizes, it appears 6 ft. or better from the main plant base.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 6:57PM
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That's funny. I have one native one, it was here as a small tree when we moved in in 2003 (it's taller now) and it has never thrown up a sucker. Blooms and sets some fruit.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2008 at 7:21PM
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