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Steve my local B&Q is full of Black Elder so perhaps worth taking a look there (if you have one) if your GC doesn't have it.

You can cut elders as hard as you problem at all.

I wouldn't move your elder.  However, cuttings are so easy, so quick and can be taken now.  You will have a new plant next year


Looks like it Bev, may even be Black Lace


I've got one and I cut it back hard at the end of March and NOW starting to show blossom heads. I've chopped loads off it in the 3 years and yes it's like a Buddleigh, doubt I could hurt it if I tried. Love the flowers. Seems to self set easy. Already passed 2 on. 


I would like to take cuttings from mine........what is the best way to do this? Any advice appreciated

Little weeeed

Mine is 6ft tall but no flowers. It's about 3 years old but this is the first year it has grown so much. Is it too late for flowers now? And as shazbod asks, how do you take cuttings?



I was told when I bought mine to cut it down to about a foot or eighteen inches each spring.  Had it a couple of years and it is flowering well this year.  I'll have to move other plants out of the way  I would also like to know about cuttings

So would I!  Anybody got any advice about that?   My trusty 'Reader's Digest Encyclopaedea of Garden Plants & Flowers' was published before Sambucus Black Lace must have been bred, as it's not included in there!  It's an excellent book for telling how to take cuttings from every plant there is, otherwise!   

I have my own problem with mine - we bought it earlier this year and planted it in a bare corner of the garden, with other, smaller, different-coloured shrubs well-spaced out in front of it.  We wanted it to be a nice, dramatic, black background for the other shrubs.   So far, though, it has only continued to grow along its two (only) stems, getting very leggy and spindly and now they are bending right over like willow!   My wife wants to stake them up, but I suspect I should prune them a little, to (hopefully) encourage it to bush.   We DON'T want to cut back to the ground, as we would like it to grow into a large shrub in the corner eventually.  The new leaves are green, but some say they will turn darker later?  It only gets direct sun for a few hours in the early morning, so I'm hoping it gets enough sun to get the leaves black?  Trouble is - pruning it now is like taking off most of this year's new growth... any advice?


It's just a variety of bog standard elder. Hardwood cuttings would be the way to go for propagation.

Sparko, cut it back hard at the end of winter, that's what makes it bush out. If you don't you'll just have an extension of what you've got.

You can snip the ends off now if they're swamping other things


As Nutcutlet says, cut it hard back to almost ground level at the end of the winter - it will throw up lots more growth.  Feed, mulch and water.    To make a big bush I'd coppice it hard every two or three years.

Old gardening saying - Growth follows the knife.

I've just bought one! Would it be ok to put in a large pot, then plant in garden next year?

Unless there's a good reason not to I'd plant in September.


They are as tough as old boots and they root very easily,  hard or semi hardwood cuttings will do now!


Yes - the one Golden Rule I've always remembered about shrubs (and trees) is that the best time to plant them is SEPTEMBER!   All my old gardening books say that.  Of course, I've broken that rule with my new shrubs this year (new house, new shrubbery), but I'm always aware that September is the best time to plant shrubs in their proper positions.   It gives the roots time to establish over the Winter.


Will they still flower if you cut them hard in the winter or spring, or do you lose that years flowers?


Interesting to read this. I've read to prune after flowering and to cut back hard in spring. Confusing. So for 2 years I cut mine hard back in spring but it had no flowers, or hardly any, those years. So, last year I pruned it fairly hard after flowering, not pretty for a bit, then it grew a lot and looked better. This year it had lots of flowers, but is bigger than usual. I didn't get around to pruning after flowering this year, but now the birds are loving the berries so I'm glad I left it.

But now I'm a little confused as to when to prune it as I would like it a bit smaller and I want flowers too.


I wonder if the conflicting advice is because some people grow these as foliage plants and don't want those pink flowers. Others want a flowering shrub.

You prune to get what you want; late winter for foliage, after flowering if you want the flowers.

Interesting discussion.
I planted a Black Lace last spring in my new garden. I want (of course!) both foliage AND flowers but it's primary role is (with other shrubs) to provide a 2 - 3 metre high screen on our boundary.
My plan was to cut it back to abt 3' each spring for a few years until I have the bushiness and shape I'm looking for and just accept fewer flowers for those years.
Once I was happy with the shape of the shrub I thought about maybe cutting half back after flowering and the other half in spring.
Do you think this might give me best of both worlds?