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I have a beautiful sambucca bought in August and planted in a pot which has thrived and looked beautifull, however over the last 8 weeks most of the lower leaves have dropped off leaving only the top newest leaves,  Is this normal? if not, whats the likely problem?


I have a sambucus Black Lace too and it's doing the same thing - normal, it's deciduous and will lose it's leaves in winter.


Yes indeed, it is autumn, just let it rest  - then  wait till spring and see those glorious young leaves arrive from the virtually black buds - stunning. 


As everyone has said, this is normal. As long as you can see buds then it wil grow back next year. They respond well to pruning, though I like mine tall. One of my favourite plants.


Thank you, good to know it's okay, wouldn't want to lose it as it's a beautiful plant! 



I've got a black elder, not Black Lace, leaves like common elder but black. I cut it back each year, then it throws up very tall shoots which break off. Should I dump it and go for Black Lace or does that do the same thing?


 I would only cut back a proportion to rejuvenate it or to keep it within the bounds of available space.   I would take out up to a third of the total number of branches to keep some young growth, but if you cut it right back every year you'll never see it's full glory. 

Is the one you have Black Beauty, sometimes known as Gerda?  It's a beautiful shrub 


It could be Black Beauty, it was a roadside plant sale purchase, 'black elder' on the label.. It's really more purple than black. It's been on a warning for some time, I don't think it's anything special and doesn't please me very often. So - that says it all really. It's going. I'm redoing that piece of garden this season, it will be without the elder.


Maybe it was from a self-sown seedling rather than a cutting 


That's possible. It has a tendency to green up at the tips after midsummer. A seedling is a strong possibility.

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