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Elderberries

 

An incredible native berry packed full of antioxidants and widely used as a health tonic, elderberries are a must have for any yard or garden! Elderberries attract a bonanza of pollinators on their umbrella-shaped flowers (especially lightning bugs) and then produce copious amounts of berries around August. Wild elderberries tend to have smaller clusters and smaller individual berries and are highly favored by many species of birds. We also carry many cultivars which produce much larger clusters of juicy berries. These berries are not eaten raw, but are cooked and made into delicious wine, jellies, jams, syrups, tonics, and more! Flowers are also used to make teas and drinks.

Elderberries enjoy moisture and can be found growing wild in our area next to streams and ditches (but not in them). They enjoy full sun and will fruit better in those conditions but can also tolerate fairly heavy shade. Deer love to browse on young elderberry plants, but once established, elderberries are extremely resistant to deer, quickly growing above the browsing height of deer.

Plants will grow about 6-12' tall and about 10' wide depending on the conditions, but tend to grow on the taller side in our climate. They can be spaced as close as 4' apart for production or for a hedge. No major pests or diseases to worry about, they are the perfect no spray fruit for our area.

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A mature elderberry plant next to our house. This one is approximately 12 ft tall and 10 ft wide.

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Elderberries in bloom. Our native elderberry species doesn't have as fragrant flowers as the European ones, and so they are not as useful for making teas and other drinks, but they are fantastic for attracting native pollinators, especially lightning bugs!

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