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How to care for a Sambucus Black Lace plant

Updated April 17, 2017

Also known as black elderberry, the Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla "Eva" ("Black Lace") plant is a cold hardy shrub that grows in most soils and climates. Novice and experienced gardeners will equally enjoy the relative ease of growing this shrub along with the beautiful contrast of soft pink flowers set against dark purple-black foliage from June to August. Reaching heights of 1.8 to 2.4 m (6 to 8 feet), The Sambucus "Black Lace" plant works well as a hedge or against a fence, and in the autumn the flowers give way to dark purple elderberries often made into delectable syrups, jams and jellies.

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  1. Grow in well draining soil in a sunny location where it will receive full sun at least six to eight hours daily. This shrub will grow in just about any type of soil as long as it is kept moist.

  2. Water your plant just to keep the soil moist, but not soaking. If the soil does not drain well, peat moss or compost can be added. Water deeply one to two times weekly as needed, and maybe more during the drier summer months. As the plant matures it becomes drought tolerant and can go longer amounts of time in between watering.

  3. Fertilise the Sambucus "Black Lace" shrub in the early spring to encourage an abundance of flowers in the summer. Use a slow release specialised fertiliser for trees and shrubs. Do not fertilise after the end of summer or new growth will be encouraged that may not survive the winter months.

  4. Prune your shrub only after blooming in the late summer. Cut out dead and diseased wood, and cut back about 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) all around. Avoid pruning after August because buds for the spring begin to form in the fall and any pruning at that time will decrease the amount of flowers produced the following year.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soil
  • Fertiliser
  • Pruning shears

About the Author

Amy Hannaford teaches childbirth education classes and a healthy pregnancy series in Southern Oregon. Hannaford holds an Associate of Arts degree, a certificate in medical assisting, and has been a childbirth educator and birth doula for 20 years. She has been writing articles for Demand Media since 2008.

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