Elderberry es are one of my success stories- quick to produce fruit in a carefree way. We use the fruit in juices, syrup, wine, cider. I have Johns, Adams, York, Nova, Goodbarn, Samyl, Samdal, Sampo. The birds and I agree that Goodbarn is the tastiest!
Mostly pest free, but for birds and cane-borers. A couple years back SWD spoiled my later ripening crop, those are a real threat to all late summer fruit!
My plants languished for a couple years until I put the fertilizer to them- compost by the bushel per plant, wood ashes, etc.
Very easy to propagate from cuttings, dormant or summer. I plan to expand my plantings by 1000%!


One day’s harvest, this goes on for about 2 weeks…


Wow, nice harvest. What you have there is about all I need a year.

I notice that my sambucus nigra varieties, samdal, Samyl make fruit which is darker and seeder than my s.Canadensis plants. I also grow sambuckus rubra, red elderberry. It is a great insectary plant for early spring, and I find the growth habit is more attractive than the edible cousins, Canadensis and nigra.

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I like the ornamental nigra cultivars like Black Beauty and Black Lace. And the variegated cultivars. Very pretty plants.

I am going to pick wild elderberry from ditch banks today, are the named varieties much better in taste or is there not much difference from the wild ones? We only have the native black elderberries. My question is, is it worth me buying and growing named plants vs just collecting the wild fruit that grows everywhere here?

Named varieties like Adams, York, Johns, Nova produce largr berries in large clusters that ripen pretty uniformly in that cluster. Flavor is mild. Good for baked goodies. Goodbarn is sweetest, smaller berries. Wild ones will vary, flavor may be stronger. If they were growing wild around me and producing abundantly, I would probaby forage!
The medicinal component of the fruit is also of interest to me, and I have heard that Goodbarn is highest in anthrocyanins- antioxidants. I suspect that the nigra are high as well because of their intense coloration.


Thanks, plenty wild plants around so I will just continue to forage.

Coworker and I bought some small rooted plugs of several varieties last year.
Mine have not bloomed fruited, but hers (she’s a better caretaker than I am) have - she says ‘Bob Gordon’ has the largest & tastiest berries of any this year.

Can the Black Beauty and Black Lace grow in the shade. Can you tell me what the fruit is like. Thanks.

I would not grow them for the fruit. they don’t produce a lot compared to plants used for fruit production. They ripen very late too. I never bothered harvesting because I have others that produce like crazy. They can grow in the shade, but may not fruit till really big. The Lace looks decent in the shade. Black Beauty though loses it’s dark color and looks green in the shade.
I over did it, and have so much fruit I’m having a hard time storing it all and time to harvest. So I’m removing my elderberries. But only those for production. BB and BL are staying for their ornamental value,

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I don’t like the taste of raw elderberry, at least not wild elderberry.

My wife and I once went all over town collecting the wild elderberries so that we could make a wine. It really does make a fantastic wine, but removing the little stems can be tedious. I’d like to plant elderberry in the yard specifically for making wine. With the plants right here I can bag to prevent SWD and, by not having to drive all over town collecting a little bit at a time, one bit of tedium would be removed from the process.

Some people grow elderberry to make syrups or jelly.

I was doing this. I didn’t eat them raw. But Honeyberries, tayberries, black curramts, and wyebrries make a superior jam or syrup. Gooseberries too. I found if i didn’t mix elderberries with any of these, the raw elderberry syrup is rather bland compared to any of these other fruits. It makes no sense for me to grow something I have to blend to taste good.
It’s just my choice. They are a fine fruit and are extremely good for you. But with black currants, blueberries and honeyberries, I have pretty much the same healthy molecules, and taste is far superior.
I too thought about making wine, but I also have 2 grape vines for that.
Honeyberries can be used for wine too, and it’s a first class wine. Cultivars are being developed just for wine, much like grapes. Since I’m stretched to the max, some plants have to go. I can’t handle it all anymore, so elderberries are out. Something had to be cut.


For a fruit wine elderberry is very good, just as many people have told me over the years. We followed the recipe in the Winemaker’s Recipe Handbook and it came out full-bodied, and got praise. I also had very good luck with the blueberry wine (not the port, which I saw as too much of a waste of berries) until I started trying to make that with store-bought berries. The blueberry wine made with store-bought is something I’d never gift or offer to a guest.

What grapes are you growing?

Now that’s interesting. Google tells me they ripen before strawberries!

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Table grapes, not meant for wine Einset and Summer Royal.

Most honeyberries are tart and not the best for fresh eating. Some sweeter cultivars are being developed but are hard to get. I have 2 of them, young plants still. I have others I use for cooking.
Here is an example of so called wine honeyberries.

The fresh-eating ones sound like a good thing to get. What excites me about this is the idea of extending the fresh fruit season into May. I saw some posts on this site in a search that said there are varieties that are reported to yield 20 pounds per bush when mature. That’s just as good as a good blueberry variety! When I think of this as a cooking fruit, I think I’d go get gooseberry, redcurrant, and blackcurrant first.

Are these wine honeyberries sweet?

I don’t know? They rate them below the sweetest category (sweet plus). Two i see are rated sweet.
The University of Saskatchewan also produces the Boreal series which looks worthwhile too.
Not super sweet but good size and unique genetics.

I want to add them.

I have the super sweets developed by berries unlimited. Blue Banana, and Honey Gin. I have Aurora and many others. The newer ones look better. I’m going to scrape some for the newer, sweeter, and bigger fruited hybrids. I have not tasted BB or HG. So the jury is still out. Anyway here are some more info

Thanks for this, there really is such great variability in quality and yield from this fruit. Since the researchers who are breeding new varieties seem to be able to get such quick results, hopefully it won’t be long for some truly excellent varieties to emerge. There will be some spots I can squeeze a few of these into when the time comes.

I will try and remember to post about the sweet plus varieties I have. So far most have been disappointing except Aurora. Large yield on small plant, berries were tart, but flavor was super good and very interesting. The Boreal series from UofSas. was developed after Aurora, and if these three releases are improvements, they should be awesome, they look promising. Not sure how far this will go, but right now we have three major breeders working on them. Also a few other countries, and other private breeders are doing work. I like this plant, and the taste, I feel it has potential to be a major fruit.
I have some photos of Aurora

I made a honeyberry flip, this was my wife’s introduction of this fruit. She is very picky and she was impressed with the flavor.


I am bring this thread up again. Will two Black Beauty elderberry plants cross pollinate.