Rooting Elderberry Cuttings

Winter is a great time to fuss around with cuttings. In late December (~40 days ago), I took 11 cuttings from Samdal and Sampo elderberries (Sambucus Nigrum).

Here are 4 of the Samdal:

I left them in (homemade) potting soil, in a fairly bright area. They only got sun briefly, as they were ~8 feet from the sliding door, on top of a pool table (my workbench :slight_smile: ). Not only are they leafing out, but it looks like one of them is getting ready to bloom.

Originally, my only goal in rooting elderberries this winter was to send them out to people who wanted cuttings. But, as I mentioned in another thread, I’ve now got a bit of additional (nearby) property to put them into. That’s fortunate, as I doubt that they would transport so nicely with all the leaves.

All 4 of the Samdal cuttings in this pot formed nice roots.

I re-potted all 4 into their own pot (most 1 gal).

Here’s the other pot (this one open-bottomed) where I was attempting to root Samdal. It looks like they also have a good start on roots, even though their tops aren’t as far along. I’ve moved these down to the garage (~45-50F) in an attempt to slow them down.

Interestingly, none of the 4 Sampo (from the same breeding program as Samdal) rooted. So, I tromped out (through a bit of snow), snipped a 6-7’ long branch off the Sampo and cut it into pieces.

Here’s the new cuttings, potted up again. One container is on the pool table (for me), while the second (for others) is down in the garage.


Did you use rooting hormone or just plop the cuttings into potting mix? I just snipped some cuttings off one of my elderberries and put them in a bag of potting mix to see what would happen. I’m hoping to get a couple of extras to start a hedge.

I didn’t mention the rooting hormone in my notes from December, but I think I used it. I know that I’ve rooted elderberries in the past without it though. That time, I just stuck 4-5 cuttings in the ground (figuring that only a few would take) in 4 different spots. Almost all of the cuttings took in 3 of the locations, with the 4th location being a bit too wet (my guess).

Of the 4 spots, 2 were Samdal and 2 were Sampo, so I know that both can root. I’m not sure why none of the Sampo rooted this time. Maybe the Sampo branch I chose wasn’t as vigorous as the Samdal branch. That would make sense, as I cut the Samdal back very hard this spring (planning to remove the stump, but never getting around to it). It of course put out a ton of straight-up growth, some of which ended up as cuttings.


thats awesome :smiley:

I tried this once and learned some lessons. I got better rooting by keeping the tops cold without light for a couple weeks with bottom heat. I then put the under fluorescent lights in a warm area.

I actually stopped doing it with Elderberries because I found it much less work to directly plant the cuttings. I now take a screwdriver and jam it in the ground to the depth of the cutting. I like 2 buds under ground and 2 above. I apply a little rooting hormone to the bottom of the cutting and jam it in the hole leaving the top two buds exposed. In my area, doing this in November just after they go dormant works well.


I just stuck mine in the ground too, these root better than anything else. Quite amazing.
One elderberry I have is very cool, but I have had a hard time keeping it alive. It’s one of the variegated ones. Two Cultivars of Nigra exist Sambucus nigra ‘Pulverulenta’ is the one that is not easy to grow. The variegation is pure white. The other is cream color variegation and is as easy as other elderberries to grow and propagate. It is Sambucus nigra ‘Albovariegata’. With Pulverulenta I have yet to have a cutting take. The main plant is barely alive too. I have to figure out what it needs to thrive. It is so beautiful. Here is a photo from the net.


Elderberry is one of my favorite bushes,easy to propagate and grow. SWD have been spoiling some of my fruit harvest the past few years, they seem to really like it too!
I have rooted cuttings by direct sticking right in the ground, semi shade, moist locations seems best. Last year I pre rooted them just by having them in a bag of damp sawdust for 6 weeks in the cellar before planting them out and this worked well.

Of the 7 new Sampo cuttings I took on Feb 6th, only 1 rooted and it was a teensy tiny root. I’m not sure if it is that my Sampo produced a crop last year, while my Samdal didn’t (I’ve been hacking it back in preparation for removal) which gave it the extra vigor, or if Samdal is just easier to root.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while and decided to remove my Sampo bush as well, hopefully transplanting it to my shadier site. This means that I can put two of the jujubes (arriving on Monday from Trees of Antiquity) into the spots that Sampo and Regent serviceberry used to take up (full sun locations).

I spent a while today cutting down both Samdal and Sampo. I decided to experiment a bit and put several dozen from each into HD buckets, with potting soil.

Sampo, after a trim:

One of 3 buckets of Sampo cuttings:

Samdal cuttings (note that they are more vertical and un-branched):

It took almost an hour of digging to remove the Sampo. I’m planning to plant the jujube very close to the same spot, so I didn’t want to just try to cut it down. Besides, this way I can replant it, which should have a better chance of taking than a rooted cutting.

On the right of this pic is some of the roots I removed. One in particular was almost 15" long and went from the Sampo, past the serviceberry, past the SugarCane jujube, and all the way up to the Geraldi. Maybe elderberries don’t play nice in tight spaces :fearful:

I wonder if it would be easier to start a new plant from sections of the roots? I saved some in the bag from Arboreum with the wet sawdust, so maybe I’ll do something with it.

Finally got it:

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What do you do with them after you grow them? I have about 30 feet of row but have just let the birds have them. Making cough syrup doesn’t appeal much.

It’s not a bad idea to find ways to consume them. They are close to super fruit status as far as health benefits. I like berries so much I could never have too many of any berry. I’ll invent ways to consume them if i have too.

Elderberry and Elderflower Recipes

Elderberry Appetizer Recipes

Pate with Elderberry Gelee
Black Bean Elderberry Chipotle Dip
Easy Elderberry Jam Appetizers
Cocktail Meatballs

Elderberry Matcha Shake
Elderflower Syrup
Elderberry Shrub
Elderberry Spritzer
Rosy-Cheeked Restorative

Elderberry Butter Glazed Biscuits with Alsatian Sausage
Buttery Elderberry-filled TurnoversGreek Yogurt Parfait with Berries in an Elderberry Glaze Recipe
Greek Yogurt Parfait with Berries in an Elderberry Glaze
Elderberry Coffee Cake
Blueberry Elderberry Crumb Cake
Jam Filled Scones
Wellness Smoothie

Abe’s Request
Elderberry and Mint Jamtini
Strawberry Elderflower Champagne
Baked Goods and Desserts

Apricot-Almond Stuffed Pears With Elderberry Maple Glaze
Blueberry Elderberry Tart with Shortbread Crust
Buttermilk Cheesecake with Elderberry Glaze
Chocolate Mascarpone Elderberry Pie
Elderberry Cranberry Walnut Cake Roll
Elderberry Cream Cheese Brownies
Elderberry-Lemon Shortbread Bars
Elderberry MuffinsMango Elderberry Upside-Down Cake
Elderflower Fritters
Elderflower Sorbet
Gluten Free Coconut Thumbprints
Gluten Free Apple & Elderberry Crumble
Mango Elderberry Upside-Down Cake
Nanny Cake
Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies with Elderberry Jam
Pumpkin and Elderberry Marbled Cheesecake (Gluten Free!)
Saratoga Torte

Apple-Elderberry Chutney
Cran-Elderberry Chipotle & Pepita Relish
Cranberry Orange Elderberry Sauce
Elderberry Coffee Barbecue Sauce
Elderberry Chipotle Sauce
Strawberry Elderflower Jam
Main Dishes

Buffalo Chicken Wings
Elderberry BBQ Beef Tri-TipRecipe for Irresistible Beef Tenderloin with Elder and Berries, The Food Fairy
Elderberry Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Grilled Flatbread with Elderberry-Balsamic Drizzle
Nutty Elderberry Sandwiches
Elderberry Glazed Chicken with Olives and Capers
Irresistible Beef Tenderloin with Elderberries & Berries
Tilapia with Tropical Barbecue Glaze
Pan Seared Duck Breast with Elderberry Gastrique
Elderberry recipes for Side Dishes

Beet Salad with Elderberry Cranberry Vinaigrette
Spicy Carrots
Tomato Mango Salad with Curry Elderberry Orange Vinaigrette
Roasted Winter Squash with Elderberry Glaze & Spiced Walnuts


Stuffed Pears With Elderberry Sauce


I’m not as creative as Drew. I just make jelly out of them, mixed with blackberries. If I get enough to play with, maybe I’ll try other concoctions.

But I definitely don’t need anywhere near as many as I put in the bucket to root. That is just a for-the-fun-of-it experiment to see how they do. I’ve also varied where I am keeping the bucket (in sun vs protected under stairs).

Well I didn’t make all of those! I do have recipes for all though!
So if anybody needs any, let me know. I stole them all from the net.
I was thinking of wine, I could use help with that! Black currant wine sounds good too.

BobVance was kind enough to share a bunch of things with me in trade for a relatively few on my part in return, and I have a couple cuttings each of Sampo and Samdal.

One of the 2 he tried to root himself unsuccessfully, but I can’t recall which one. For NOW, both cuttings have leaves popping out, and I’m dying to see if they have roots, but afraid to lose whichever Bob already had trouble with, so I’m leaving them alone. They’re tucked away on the north side of the house in shade, shade may not be good for growing vigorous plants but it can be a huge asset when you’re trying to root in keeping new leaves from wilting the first time you hit a sunny 80-degree day…

btw and food for thought, I also got gooseberry cuttings and I had a couple dry just after bud break. To save the ones that weren’t already dead (all were pushed into the ground near the house about 4-6", leaving a bit less than that sticking out up top) I tried inverting an empty glass jar over 2 for a couple weeks to protect them from dessication. That was in early April, and those 2 are going strong yet…

Perhaps rooting elderberries, etc. under high humidity can help; you could put them in a mini-greenhouse, cover them w/ hotkaps, put large jard over them, etc…just don’t do it under direct sun as I suspect the jars, etc. would just fry your cuttings

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Elderberries in general are very easy to root. I know some are more trouble. The best time to root is when growing in the summer, or now! Old wood is best.

I don’t have Sampo, but Samdal and Samyl are the most productive elderberries I ever saw. Mine have over 15 flower heads per cane. I have not grown many actually, mostly ornamental types, which do not produce well.These are amazing!

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It’s been a while, so I figured that I should update this thread. It took longer than I expected to have the new yard ready to plant. If fact, I just started today. That meant that I needed to maintain my cuttings for quite a while, and it seems that I am better at getting them to root than keeping them alive. They don’t really like being house plants (at least the way I treat house plants with weekly waterings, if I remember…). There were only 3 left alive when I decided they would be happier outside. Regretable, I was forgetting that potted plants don’t like the way I treat them outside either :slightly_smiling:

So all of the original cuttings died. But, not all is lost. That half-hearted experiment I did with the 4 buckets of cuttings was still going. I only watered it a couple times, but it seems that rain helped me out just enough.

Of the Sampo (the one that was hard to root indoors), I had 3 root in one of the buckets and 15 root in another (I think I needed a bucket a while ago and dumped the 3rd one before they rooted). I also had 11 of 32 Samdal root. So I just planted these out directly. There were a few which looked iffy, so I doubled them up, 24 planting holes in all. The original Sampo I dug up dried up in the garage, but I planted it anyways, as it is a beast and if anything can come back, it can. With the Black Beauty from Drew (which just barely survived my especially conscientious treatment), that makes 26 elderberries, which will be way too much if half of them survive and produce.

Keep in mind that not everything that leafed out formed roots. And a few with roots didn’t have any leaves. I planted the ones with both and the ones with just roots (as 2nd cutting in a hole).



One of the better root systems:

cool for you, Bob. My cuttings were doing really well until I got sent away for ten days for work, and told my wife to water them twice. Regrettably, it wasn’t enough. Yours are looking good!

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Maybe the problem was that she waited until the day before you got back, then watered them twice :wink:

I think elderberry needs more consistently moist soil than most plants, so what might be over-watering for others is about right for them. I’m guessing that is what did my indoor ones in. It’s good we had a lot of rainy weather, as it was just enough for the ones in the buckets.


My wife makes elderberry syrup as a cold remedy. Most people think of these natural remedies as superstition, But many of them work better then the store bought options. Loquat syrup is an awesome cough medicine. Brand matters though. some of those are low quality. We make our own elderberry syrup from cuttings I rooted.


I really like those Danish elderberries. It is said to cut off the fruiting canes after harvest. You manage them like blackberries. I didn’t think this was possible, but besides having over 15 flowers per cane, New canes are growing super fast! These are going to be easy plants to grow. I would not mind picking up Sampo. I think i have a trade going, and need to root the other Danish cultivars. I better do that now! If the trade falls through, anybody know where I can get Sampo?

Assuming that mine live, I can get more started for you.

I got mine originally from Rolling River. I don’t see it in stock anymore, but they have quite a few others.