Growing elderberry from cuttings

Rooting Elderberry Cuttings: How To Propagate Elderberry Cuttings

Elderberries (Sambucus canadensis) are native to parts of North America and are seen as a harbinger of spring. The delicious berries are made into preserves, pies, juices and syrup. Elderberries are woody plants, thus starting elderberry from cuttings is a simple and common method of elderberry propagation. How to propagate elderberry cuttings and when is the best time to take elderberry cuttings? Read on to learn more.

When to Take Elderberry Cuttings

Elderberry propagation via cuttings should be softwood cuttings. These are the best for propagating elderberries due to the new growth that is just at the cusp of maturity.

Take your softwood cuttings in early spring when the plant is just breaking dormancy. Cuttings form new roots from leaf nodes on the stem and, voila, you have a new elderberry plant that is a clone of the parent.

How to Propagate Elderberry Cuttings

Elderberries are suited to USDA plant hardiness zones 3-8. Once your soil has been prepared, it’s time to plant the cuttings. You can take a soft cutting from a neighbor or relative or order them through an online nursery. While cross pollination is not necessary to set fruit, blossoms that are cross pollinated tend to produce larger fruit, so ideally, you should select two cultivars and plant them within 60 feet (18 m.) of each other.

If you are cutting your own, select a soft, springy branch that is just beginning to harden up and turn from green to brown. Cut the branch into 4- to 6-inch (10-15 cm.) long segments; you should get multiple cuttings from one branch. Pinch off all the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the cutting. Be sure to leave at least one set of leaves at the top.

Rooting elderberry cuttings may begin either in water or a soil mix.

  • You can place the trimming cut side down in a jar filled with water, submerging halfway. Put the jar in a sunny area for six to eight weeks, changing the water every so often. Mist the cutting every few days. Roots should begin to form by week eight. They will be more fragile than those begun in soil, so wait until they look sturdy before transplanting them into the garden.
  • If using the soil method for rooting your cutting, soak the cuttings in water for 12-24 hours. Then combine one part peat moss to one part sand and combine it with water until the soil is damp and crumbly, not sodden. Fill a 2- to 4-inch (5-10 cm.) container with the mix and stick the bottom third of the cutting into the medium. Secure a clear plastic bag over the pot with twist ties or a rubber band to create a mini greenhouse. Place the cutting in an area of bright but indirect light. Mist the cutting every few days as the soil dries out, and then replace the bag. After six weeks, the elderberry cutting should have roots. A gentle tug should meet with resistance, which will let you know it’s time to transplant.

Before rooting your elderberry cuttings, select a site and prepare the soil. Elderberries like a sunny to partially shaded area with fertile soil, amended with plenty of organic matter. The soil should also be well-draining. A soil test available through your local extension office will clue you into any amendments the soil needs before starting elderberry from cuttings. You may need to incorporate additional phosphorus or potassium before planting.

Now just dig a hole and bury the cutting with the base of the stem level with the soil line. Space multiple elderberries out by 6-10 feet (2-3 m.) to allow for a 6- to 8-foot (2-2.5 m.) spread by each plant.

By summer, you should have elderberry blossoms which can be used to make syrup, tea or lemonade. By the next summer, you should have an abundance of antioxidant rich, juicy berries high in Vitamin C and iron to make into preserves, pies, wine, and syrup.

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Elderberry plants can be expensive to buy, but it’s easy to grow elderberries from cuttings. All you need is a few hardwood cuttings taken in the late fall or winter and a bit of patience.

When my husband and I first moved to our off-grid homestead, elderberries were one of the very first things we planted. They’re a big part of our winter wellness strategy, and they go into all manner of tasty things like elderberry oxymel as a quick cough syrup, elderberry mead for long winter nights and even elderberry jam that our little ones love.

Beyond that, elderflowers make delicious liqueur and they feed the bees, both domestic and native.

We stopped by the nursery and I just couldn’t believe how expensive elderberry plants were. They were $30 each, about the same price as grafted apple trees. Now, a few years later apple trees are more than $60 each and I don’t even want to look at the price tags on elderberry bushes. Time for a different strategy.

While buying elderberry plants may expensive, with a little work and patience you can grow elderberries from hardwood cuttings. We’ve had great success propagating grapes with cuttings taken in the winter months, so why not try propagating elderberries?

Our original elderberry plants are still pretty small, as they’re notoriously slow growing for the first few years after transplant. I didn’t want to take many cuttings from them, so instead I ordered elderberry cuttings from Norm’s Farm which ships them out in January each year. I ordered 30 cuttings, and they shipped 45 (Thanks!), so here I am potting up whole trays of elderberry cuttings in our sunny attached greenhouse in early February.

How to Grow Elderberries from Cuttings

If you’re taking your own cuttings, do it when the plants are dormant for the winter. Make a slanted cut on the “root” side of the cutting so that you plant them in the correct direction. If you forget, you can still look at the buds on the stick and see which direction they’re pointing before planting, but making a slanted cut during harvest save a lot of time on the potting bench.

Elderberry cuttings should be about 6 to 8 inches long and include at least 4 buds.

Whether you’ve ordered elderberry cuttings online or cut them fresh from existing plants, the process is the same once they’re in hand. Start by soaking the cuttings in water for 24 hours to thoroughly rehydrate them. Then prepare a tray of pots with moistened potting soil.

Since the elderberry cuttings have been soaking in water, the “root” end will be wet which is perfect for dipping into a rooting hormone. I’m using a commercial rooting hormone powder, which is dependable and effective. It’s a synthetic version of the same hormone plants produce naturally.

You can also use willow water as a rooting hormone. Willows have a lot of natural rooting hormone, and soaking a few willow twigs in water helps to extract it for use with other plants. I imagine willow bark powder would also work as a natural alternative.

Dip the slant cut “root” end in the rooting hormone, covering the cutting about an inch up the sides.

Dipping elderberry cuttings in rooting hormone before planting. As you can see, the direction of the bud shows which way is “up” even without the slant cut at the bottom.

To plant, make a hole in the potting medium with your finger first. The whole is so the powder doesn’t get knocked off the elderberry cutting during planting, so don’t just slide the cutting into the soil. Then push the soil back around the cutting and tamp down.

You can reasonably plant 3-4 cuttings in a 5 to 6” pot. They’ll need to be transplanted to their own pot later in the spring, but this saves on space early on when not all the cuttings will survive.

Once the elderberries are planted, it’s important to keep them cool (but not cold) to encourage root formation. The ideal is about 40 degrees F, out of direct sunlight and wind. Direct sunlight and warm temps encourage quick top growth, at the expense of good roots.

If you live somewhere with a mild winter, a sheltered outdoor location would work well. In our case, I think the high this week is a whopping 3 degrees, with high winds. We won’t see consistent 40-degree temps until April at least. My elderberry cuttings are going into the basement, which is about 50 degrees, but moist and semi-dark.

Keep the soil moist but not soggy and wait. Solid roots and new shoots should be present after 8 to 10 weeks. At that point, the elderberry cuttings (or tiny plants) can be potted up individually or planted out in the garden in spring.

When planting elderberries, be sure to give them plenty of space. They’ll stay small for the first few years, but mature plants can be 8 to 10 feet tall…

How to root elderberry cuttings

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Want to start a patch of elderberry bushes, but daunted by the cost of buying bushes? Learn how to root elderberry cuttings and affordably start your own elderberry patch. It’s easy to grow elderberry bushes from cuttings!

This post contains affiliate links. to learn more.

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I got an exciting package full of elderberry bush cuttings this week! I’ve been wanting to add elderberries to our back garden area for some time, and this is the year.

So many folks reached out with questions about my process for rooting these, that I thought I’d go ahead and write up a post about it, to share the method I’m following. I don’t usually write a “how-to” type of post until I’ve done something many times and feel a lot of confidence about my techinique, and this is my first time rooting elderberry cuttings, so please consider this a “tips from the trenches” kind of post. I’ll look forward to updating this as the cutting grow!

I chose to purchase elderberry cuttings rather than rooted bushes, because cuttings are such a cost-effective way to start a patch of elderberry bushes. For much less than the cost of one elderberry bush, I now have six young plants getting started, that I’ll be able to plant out in the spring.

Where to get elderberry cuttings

To root elderberry cuttings, you need to start by getting your hands on some good dormant cuttings. You can take your own cuttings if you have an established bush available to you, or purchase them online.

Taking your own cuttings

If you’re fortunate enough to have access to a good elderberry bush (and permission to cut from it, if it’s not your own), you can take your own cuttings for rooting. Cuttings should be taken in the winter, when the plant is dormant. It’s ideal for the cutting to come from robust first or second year canes.

Using sharp shears, make your cut at an angle, slightly below a pair of leaf nodes. Around those leaf nodes is where the roots will start to emerge, so you don’t want to make your cut too close. You want two sets of leaf nodes on each cutting – one will be below the soil to allow for root development, and the other set will be above the soil for leaf development. Follow up the branch that you’ve just cut, and make another cut about an inch above the next set of leaf nodes – this time flat across. If your branch is long, you may be able to get a few cuttings out of just one branch.

If you’re not able to start rooting your cuttings right away, put them in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge until you’re able to work with them.

Ordering cuttings from a nursery or grower

If you’re not able to take your own cuttings, or you’d like to add a variety to your collection that’s not available locally, you can very affordably order cuttings online. Here are a few places that offer elderberry cuttings of various varieties.

Norm’s Farms

I ordered my elderberry cuttings from Norm’s Farms this year, and I just couldn’t be more pleased. The shipping was almost unbelievably fast, and they very generously included extras of each variety I ordered. The cuttings were clearly from young, robust wood, and had lively-looking leaf nodes just clearly full of vigor.

Edible Acres

These folks offer a bundle of 10 cuttings of a variety of cultivars for $20, making it an incredibly inexpensive way to get a large patch of elderberry bushes started.

River Hills Harvest

River Hills Harvest offers 4 excellent varieties at very affordable prices, and they also offer larger quantities of certified organic cuttings, which can be helpful if you’re looking to start an organic market-scale elderberry operation.

Rooting elderberry cuttings

Start with a 24 hour soak

When you receive your elderberry cuttings (or pull them out of cold storage), start by soaking them in cool water for 24 hours. Make sure the lower set of leaf nodes (the end with the angled cut) is completely submerged. Making sure the cuttings are well hydrated will benefit the rooting process.

Fill plant pots with an appropriate potting mix

Fill a fairly deep pot with a light potting mix – Norm’s Farms suggests regular potting mix, coconut coir, or blends such as a mixture of one part peat and one part Perlite, or one part peat and one part sand.

If you’re rooting many cuttings, it might actually be easiest to half-fill a clear Sterilite tote with potting mix, so that you have room for all your cuttings in one container, and can use the lid to retain a good level of humidity while the cuttings are rooting.

Dip in rooting hormone (optional)

Elderberries root easily – cuttings are even sold in large quantities as “live stakes” for pounding directly into damp ground, where they put down roots and grow as a naturalizing element for large landscape areas. Most propagators seem to agree that while rooting hormone can increase success rates and speed up the rooting process, it’s not truly a necessity for rooting elderberries, so this step is optional.

Because I keep rooting hormone on hand and have had great results using it with difficult-to-root species, I did go ahead and use it with my elderberry cuttings. This is the rooting hormone that I use.

If you’re maintaining organic certification however, or seeking to obtain it, your options for a rooting stimulant are very limited. If you’d like to give your cuttings an extra edge with the rooting process, willow water contains a natural rooting stimulant, and can easily be made at home. This article tells how to make homemade willow water for rooting cuttings.

Plant in an appropriate potting mix

Using a chopstick or a pencil, make a deep little hole in the potting mix for each cutting. You don’t want to scrape off the rooting hormone as you push the cutting into the soil, so “pre-drilling” a hole helps allow the hormone to stay on. Place the cutting in the hole, and gently firm the soil around it. The upper set of leaf nodes (the end with the flat cut) should be clearly above the soil – these need to be able to leaf out as the plant becomes established.

Water the cuttings so the potting mix is thoroughly dampened.

Choose a rooting location carefully

Now that the cuttings are potted up, it’s important for them not to dry out, and to stay cool as their roots develop. Choose a location that’s not in direct sunlight, and stays fairly cold. The folks at Norms Farms recommend 40 degrees as the ideal temperature for encouraging root growth. Check on them frequently to make sure the soil stays lightly damp. “Tenting” the cuttings by placing a plastic bag over the pot to maintain humidity can help prevent the cuttings from drying out.

Within 6-8 weeks, there should be good root development happening. In less than three months, new shoots should be growing good and strong, and plants should be ready for planting out in their permanent locations.

What makes a good location for an elderberry bush?

Elderberries grow best in full sun – at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.

Soil should be loose and well-drained, not overly sandy or heavy. If the soil where you’re planting them is poor, it’s definitely worth working in plenty of good compost before planting your new bushes.

Elderberries need a fair amount of space, and should be planted 6-8 feet apart, or a bit closer if you’re creating a hedgerow.

Growing near other elderberry varieties will improve the harvest. While elderberries are considered “partially self-pollinating”, harvests are significantly improved by growing them with another cultivar nearby.

I’m looking forward to coming back and updating this post with some photos of our elderberries planted out in their permanent locations! I hope this helps answer some of the many questions I’ve received about how I’m rooting our elderberry cuttings this year, and if you still have any questions, please feel free to ask away in the comments!

Happy growing!

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Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous?

June 10, 2015 0 Comments

F.A.Q. – Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous?

Have you ever wondered, “Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous?” Many people have heard that elderberry bushes are poisonous and yet have also heard that elderberry is good for you too. The truth is that some parts of the elderberry bush are poisonous and should not be consumed, but other parts, when harvested and prepared correctly, are completely safe to eat. To make the topic a little more complicated there are several species of elderberry and some are quite different than others. Knowledge is power, so if you are entertaining growing or harvesting elderberry for your own use, read on! Elderberry is an incredibly useful plant and deserves a spot in your home garden. There are many different species of elderberry and the following information will help you choose the one that is right for you. This article will also help you respond when your friends ask: Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous.

Varieties of Elderberry

(Sambucus nigra spp canadensis) is the species best known for its culinary and medicinal uses. The Black Elderberry in its various forms grows throughout the world and is known by those who cherish it by many different names. Common names for the Black Elderberry include Elder, Common Elder, American Elder, European Elder, Sureau, Holunderbeeren, Sambucus, Sambuci, Sauco, Holunder, Ellhorn and Boor Tree, to name a few.
The European Elder (Sambucus nigra L.) is a deciduous shrub that grows between twenty and thirty feet tall and can be pruned and trained into a tree form. It prefers a cool climate and is common in hedgerows in Ireland and England, and is cultivated for commercial use throughout Europe. The American Elderberry (Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis), also a deciduous shrub, rarely exceeds 13 feet in height and is more shrub-like.
The American elderberry is hardy throughout the US and Canada in zones 3 to 8. Commonly found growing wild in low-lying areas, along streams and lakes, in fence rows, in ditches and along road sides, too, the American elderberry produces new suckers each year and will form dense hedges.
Both varieties produce the deep purple/black berries (hence the name), used in wines, extracts, syrups and in pies, jams and other foods. A common misperception is that the European Elder is the edible variety of Black Elderberry and that the American Elder is not edible, or does not contain the same constituents for which the European Black Elderberry is known. In fact, they are now considered to be different varieties of the same genus-species, and current research on the American Black Elderberry indicates that it may actually contain more of the anthocyanin’s and polyphenols thought to give elderberry its health benefits. The seeds, stems, leaves and roots of the Black Elder are all poisonous to humans. They contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside. Eating a sufficient quantity of these cyanide-inducing glycosides can cause a toxic buildup of cyanide in the body and make you quite ill. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even coma. Most people recover quickly, although hospitalization may be required. The fruit of the elderberry is a tiny berry, about 1/8 to ¼ inch in diameter, and about 50% of the berry is seed. Cooking the berries destroys the glycosides present in the seeds, making the berries with their seeds safe to eat. As such, the fruit of the Black Elderberry should always be cooked before consumption. Interestingly, research indicates that exposing elderberry to heat actually concentrates the polyphenols and anthocyanin’s.
European Black Elderberry Black Beauty Elderberry
Red Elderberry
Blue Elderberry
American Elderberry

Red Elderberry

(Sambucus racemona var. racemona) earns its name from the bright red berries it produces. This variety of elderberry is restricted to cool, moist sites along the coastal mountain range extending from California north to Washington, and from Newfoundland to Alaska. It can also be found in the Appalachian highlands of Georgia and Tennessee. Red Elderberry does not do well in warm climates. Growing 9 to 12 feet tall, some references say that the fruit from red elderberries are edible; other references say that they are not. According to the Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 30, Issue 6, June 2003 issue, excavations of a late Holocene village uncovered tens of thousands of red elderberry seeds, leading researchers to believe that red elderberry was a diet staple of the native peoples living there. Most people believe that the seeds of the red elderberry must be removed before the berry is safe to eat, and that the berries should be cooked as well. The rest of the plant is considered toxic and should not be eaten.

Blue Elderberry

(Sambucus mexicana or Sambucus nigra var. caerulea), is commonly called Mexican elderberry. Blue Elderberry will grow in USDA Zones 6-10 and is native to California. It prefers canyon habitat in sunny, well-drained locations at elevations of up to 9000 feet. Historically, Blue Elderberry was highly prized by both the Spaniards and Cahuillas as an important food staple and resource. Native peoples would head to the hills in July and August when the fruit of the blue elderberry was ripening. The berries were harvested, carefully dried and preserved in considerable amounts. A favorite use of the dried blue elderberries was to cook them down into a rich sauce called “Sauco”. Only fully ripe berries should be consumed, and again, cooking the berries destroys the glycosides present in the seeds which can cause nausea and other gastro-intestinal upset. While the other parts of this plant have been used for everything from making baskets to flutes, all are toxic and should not be eaten.

Ornamental Elderberry

There are many cultivars of elderberry grown for the beauty they lend to the landscape. The lacy cut-leaved form named “Laciniata” and “Dart’s Greenlace” look similar to the finely cut Lace Leafed Japanese Maple. The purple leafed varieties named “Purpurea”, “Guincho Purple” and “Black Beauty” bare beautiful pink flowers and are quite striking. All in all there are over 40 elderberry cultivars grown specifically for their ornamental qualities. These beauties produce berries that are edible when cooked, and again, the rest of the plant is toxic and should not be eaten.

Summary in Answer to the Question: Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous

Elderberry has a very long history of culinary and medicinal uses and once you know which parts of the plant to use, and how to prepare the berries for consumption, the rest is pretty easy. Elderberry is a useful plant in any home garden and doing your research to determine which variety will grow best in your neck of the woods is worth the effort. Elderberry is a great choice for low-lying areas, in the back of a garden, or for use as a hedge. Prepare the soil well before planting as elderberry enjoys well composted material and good drainage. Plan on watering your new elderberry plant once a week or so for the first summer of its life. Pinch off flower heads during its first year of life, too, to encourage root growth. After that, stand back! And remember that if your elderberry bush becomes too big for your space, you can easily control its size through pruning and then keeping the area around it mowed.

This article “Are Elderberry Bushes Poisonous” is courtesy of Norm’s Farms for Elderberry Lovers everywhere.

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Sambucus nigra (Common Elder)

Sambucus nigra is also known as the common elder and whilst this shrub whose fruit is the elderberry is common in our hedgerows it is also very useful in the garden. The common variety makes an excellent hedge or can be added to a cottage garden to add height. In late spring early summer it has large flat-topped clusters of tiny white flowers and these are followed by the black berries used for making elderberry jam, cordial or wine. They are also very popular with birds.

Whilst the common elder is very useful in the garden even better are the black leaved varieties: Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’; and Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’. Both of these have beautiful black leaves and beautiful pink flowers. ‘Black lace’ has beautiful finely cut very delicate looking leaves and the flowers of ‘Black beauty’ have a sweet lemon scent.

Despite their delicate appearance the black leaved varieties are hardy though a particularly severe winter might result in it dying back to the base like a perennial in which case simply cut down the branches and new growth will appear in the spring.

The common green leaved variety is fully hardy.

Sambucus nigra growing guide

Sambucus nigra is easy to grow and does well in virtually any soil including heavy clay or light soils. It does best with moisture but grows more drought-resistant as it ages.

They like full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

They are hardy but as mentioned above the ‘black lace’ and ‘ black beauty’ varieties may need to be heavily pruned back after a particularly hard winter. This is not a problem and indeed both should be pruned back to ground level in early spring to get the best coloured leaves.

Flowering takes place late spring/early summer.

The elders grow to around a meter tall and wide.

Sambucus nigra propagation

Both the green and black elders grow very well from cuttings and you are sure to want to propagate – especially if you have the stunning black elder in your garden. Success rates with cuttings are particularly good from young plants but still possible with older specimens.

Take semi-ripe cuttings in the summer or early autumn. The cutting should have a woody base but soft top growth. Cut just below a leaf node and aim for a cutting of about 10cm long. Remove the lower leaves and leave only about 4 leaves on the cutting. If these are large leaves cut them in half so that the cutting doesn’t lose too much water. Dip the cutting in rooting compost and push gently into a pot of cuttings compost of planting compost mixed 50:50 with sand or perlite. Cover the pots with a plastic bag and place in a sheltered, sunny position. Keep the compost moist. Once they show signs of growth you can remove the plastic bag and keep the cuttings out of frost. They should be ready for planting out the following spring.

The green-leaved common elder will self-seed prolifically and you should be able to find young trees by searching the garden near to your parent plant.

Planting Combinations

Sambucus nigra is an excellent addition to a cottage garden.

The black elders look particularly good planted next to bright red and orange flowers such as those of crocosmia or heleniums.

How to Root Elderberry Cuttings

December 01, 2015 0 Comments

Norm’s Farms carefully creates our elderberry cuttings from 1st and 2nd year wood in the winter after the elderberries have lost all of their leaves and are fully dormant. Each cutting is made in the same way with the slope cut located at the “rooting end” of the cutting and the flat cut at the “leafing end” of the cutting. Each of our cuttings has at least two node pairs as well. These node pairs will produce roots and new elderberry shoots below ground and leaves above.
Norm’s Farms cuttings are shipped after February 1 of each year. When you receive your cuttings you’ll need a few supplies to root them, and, if you wish to root them directly in the ground, you’ll need to have prepared a small garden bed to receive them. Elderberries root best in cold to cool weather, and typically take 8 to 10 weeks to develop enough roots to allow them to be transplanted.

Supplies Needed:

To get your cuttings rooted you will need the following supplies:

  1. Rooting hormone or rooting stimulant, like Rootone, Super Thrive, honey, or willow bark.
  2. Large pots or a prepared garden bed.
  3. Soil-less potting medium like coarse sand, regular potting mix, coconut coir, or blends such as a mixture of one part peat and one part Perlite (by volume), or one part peat and one part sand (by volume).
  4. A spade, if you are planning on starting your cuttings outdoors in the ground.

Elderberry Cuttings are propagated following typical hard wood propagation techniques. When you receive your cuttings the first thing you want to do is soak them in well water or distilled water for 24 hours. Fill a large glass container like a canning jar with the well water or distilled water and place your cuttings in the water, angle side down. Place the jar in a cool location away from direct sunlight and let sit for 24 hours. After the 24 hour soak period it’s time to prepare the cuttings for planting.
Remove the cuttings from the container of well or distilled water, and place them on a paper towel to air dry for a couple of minutes. Empty a small amount of rooting hormone into a clean bowl. Dust the angled end of the cutting with rooting hormone, and tap the cutting against the side of the bowl to remove the excess rooting hormone.
Using Rooting hormone helps prevent fungus and bacteria from infecting your cutting and helps speed the rooting process. Most commercially available rooting hormone products contain a synthetic version of a class of plant hormones called auxins. These synthetic hormones are called IBA or NAA. Due to their synthetic nature, IBA and NAA are not approved for use in certified organic crop production. However, many gardeners and farmers–who lean organic, but choose not to be certified–use IBA and NAA, believing that these chemicals do not negatively affect the quality of their produce. If you want to use only natural products, both honey and willow bark water are reported to work well as a rooting stimulant.
Fill a large container with a soil-less potting mix and using your clean index finger or a pencil, create a hole in the potting mix into which you will insert the cutting. Doing so helps to insure that you won’t knock off too much of the rooting hormone when you plant your cuttings.
Plant up to three cuttings in each large pot by carefully inserting the angled end dusted with rooting hormone into the soil-less potting medium. Be sure to leave the top nodes located near the flat end of the cutting exposed as this is where the new elderberry plant will develop leaves.
Water well until the soil-less medium is soaked through. The best place for your elderberry cuttings to root is outdoors in a sheltered and shady spot. The shelter and shade will prevent the rooting cuttings from drying out due to too much sun or wind, and the cold winter air provides the best rooting environment possible by encouraging root growth rather than leaf growth. For added insurance, heal the potted cuttings into the surrounding soil.
If you choose to root your cuttings indoors in an unheated, sheltered and shady spot, be sure to check the pots weekly to ensure that the soil is still moist and water as needed. Keep the pot tented, as shown above, until the cuttings have rooted well. Placing the pot in a tray to collect any water that runs out of the pot is also a good idea. We can not emphasize enough how important it is for the space to be cool-cold. 40 degrees is ideal as that is the best temperature for stimulating root growth.
The best permanent location for an elderberry bush is one that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day and allows the elderberry to get about 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet around. Elderberry is one of those plants that “sleeps, creeps and then leaps”, meaning that it spends most of its first year establishing a good root system, begins to take off on the second year, and then grows vigorously during its third year. You can control the size of your elderberry bush by pruning away the old third year wood and removing any canes that are growing where you don’t want them to be. Check out our helpful article about growing elderberry; it covers everything from which species to consider, how to prepare the soil, which amendments to add, and the ongoing care and maintenance of elderberry, too.
Root and Shoot Growth after 6 weeks
Root and New Shoot Growth after 12 weeks

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