London (change)
19 messages
13/04/2012 at 22:14

I have the above plant and I badly pruned it last Autumn, is it to late to prune it back hard, i have read that I can prune it back to about 20cm in March so was wondering should  I leave it until next spring.  I didn't realise that it grew so big and it is at the front of our house and grew to the window, so thought I would move it to the back garden, when will I be able to do this.  

regards Chris

13/04/2012 at 22:57

I pruned mine back early last month and it's already showing lots of new buds.  I don't have any experience of pruning this late, but elders are very tough....

13/04/2012 at 23:20

I have never got one to live more than a year yet, and that is without even showing them the pruners !

14/04/2012 at 00:43

I prune mine back every spring, but haven't had any flowers yet.

Sheila Cule

14/04/2012 at 07:18

I've got one in a pot which was stood on the garden......had to take a saw to the roots that came through the bottom so that I could move the pot! Opportunist little beggar! Shows how good elders can be at settling in. Mine flowered last year, only half a dozen clusters, but I think that was more because it was in a pot and the roots were constricted (mostly!). If it's too big, I cut the elder back at anytime of the year, and it's lasted 4 yrs so far.

14/04/2012 at 08:10

Do they flower on the previous year's wood?  I cut mine down last year, not touching some small/young shoots.  Those were the only branches that flowered.

14/04/2012 at 08:14

I forgot to mention - they take easily from cuttings.  I'm an absolute novice at propagating and managed to get three cuttings to survive last year.  I'm planning on planting all three in a windbreak area.

14/04/2012 at 10:32

I am a bit of a novice with gardening and really couldn't say what they flower on, I cut my plant down by half and it is sprouting leaves so I think I will leave it for this year and see if it flowers, I will try and see if I can take cuttings when I have researched how I do it! perhaps you can point me in the right direction!

Thanks for the responses.



17/04/2012 at 16:58

I have taken a couple of cutting from mine, which is the black-leaved variety. I think I did it last summer or autumn (I have a feeling it was demonstrated on GW on TV at the time). I think I just pulled off a small shoot and cut its top growth back to two main leaves, then put it at the edge of a pot of compost with some perlite added for drainage. Both cutting have rooted, although I nearly lost one because the pigeons pulled off the new growth. I have now put old hanging-basket frames over them both for protection.

Elder is very strong and persistent. You can cut it right back to near the ground and it will shoot back up again in the spring/summer. I don't know how you'd get rid of it, but I am told it is lucky to have elder in your garden.

18/04/2012 at 20:50

I was given a neglected potted example a while ago. How tall will they grow, as tall as a common Elder, and what are the flowers like? I presume they don't fruit?

18/04/2012 at 21:32

My purple-leafed elder (I don't know what variety - I inherited it) has pink elder-shaped flowers.  It grows six or seven feet in a year, so I'm guessing it would make a good-sized tree if I didn't chop it down.  I think some of them are smaller....

18/04/2012 at 21:49

Thanks Laura. Mine has spent a year or two at a friends neglectedly crammed into a small flowerpot so it looks as if it'll soon be racing away.

19/04/2012 at 09:11

12 years or so ago I planted a golden sambucus nigra but it has really struggled with the last few hard winters and is now, finally, no more.   However, its purple leaved cousin, Black Lace, planted a few years later, is doing very well just 30 feet along in the same sort of place.  It has now grown quite tall and the autumn before last I lifted its canopy by cutting out all the lower branches to head height.  It now makes a very good small tree with dappled shade beneath for things like hellebores and ferns and hostas.

19/04/2012 at 10:27

I grew Black Lace a few years ago. It looked like a lovely small Japanese maple in the garden centre but it grew into a very thirsty big shrub, much bigger than the space I had allocated to it, so out it came after a year. Regular hard pruning in autumn/ early spring apparently reduces the amount of flowers, as it flowers best on year old wood, from what I understand. Maybe Obelixx can put me straight on that if I am wrong.

19/04/2012 at 10:44

I think you're right Goldilocks.  Mine certainly had far fewer flowers last year after the major hacking but it has recovered well and I expect normal service this year and yes, it does look like a maple till it blooms.

21/04/2012 at 16:01

Thanks for all the information and advice, it has been really useful. I will try and take a couple of cuttings and next year will move the one at the front to the back garden and cut it back hard.

Again thanks for the chat.



21/04/2012 at 17:10

I've just found a cutting I took a couple of years ago has turned into a decent siezd shrub about 30 feet the other way along the border in a more sheltered position. 

Happy Obxx.    Good luck with yours.

30/06/2012 at 16:05

I have to sort out my daughters garden it is very waterlogged, so I have bought a golden sambuca, some carex grasses, Lobelia cardinalis anything else that will do well in these conditions

30/06/2012 at 18:22

Astilbes, hemerocallis, chelone, primulas especially candelabra types, hostas, astilboides, ornamental rhubarb, rodgersia, iris sibirica, gunnera if you can protect the crown from winter frosts as it's not very hardy...........

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