London (change)
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21/02/2012 at 22:46

Hi, have a sambucus black lace -  have read different sites, some say it should be cut back hard now to encourage thicker growth and to keep it controllable others say to prune/cut back after flowering - any ideas please? mine is about two years old , about four foot but is very thin, I would like it to be bushier and not much higher. am grateful for any advice

22/02/2012 at 13:28

You can treat them a couple of ways. Firstly like you mentioned by pruning them back hard in early spring, treating them much like you would a buddleja. This method tends to get the best leaf colour out of them.  Secondly is to let it get on with it and just give it a light prune here and there to keep it in check. If the thought of cutting it right back is a little daunting you could always just cut a stem or two down to ground level, this should help to bulk it out too.  Good luck.

22/02/2012 at 18:25

Thank you - it gets so confusing to newby gardeners like me when you start reading around - why don't they say there are two ways and not just give one or the other?

will probably bite the bullet and cut it down as have been caught out with other plants by just trimming and they have then ended up quite 'thin' so fingers crossed

27/02/2012 at 09:43

I've got one of these which was planted about 7 years ago, and in that time I've treated it both ways, and it's thriving!  It was getting far too tall so I cut it down to half it's height in early spring and it was fine.  Other years I cut it back after it flowered in autumn- and it was fine!  It really doesn't seem to mind what you do with it!  It'll keep on growing, though,so it does need a good 'haircut' once a year to keep it under control.

04/03/2012 at 01:37

I have a couple of different Sambucus... I prune them hard to about 12"... This maintains the best leaf colour as mentioned before... They still reach heights of 7ft every year,,,,,

04/03/2012 at 12:57

hi, i have a black lace sambuca i have trimmed it back to its second bud on the branch , which has given it a much better shape. i'm sure it will still grow to the top of my fence and look amazing.  i'm thinking of buying another in the golden colour, but have heard its not as hardy ......

16/05/2012 at 09:56

I have a sambucus and have had it for 3 or 4 years,it had lovely pink flowers on it and made quite a show.  last autumn I cut it back to half but there are no buds coming on yet. the inside of the cutting is white has it died? do I dig it up or any suggestions please.

16/05/2012 at 12:15

I would be patient till at least mid June and then, if there's no growth, dig it out.

I have a black lace that I've allowed to grow tall but I've removed the lower branches to create a shady canopy for woodland plants.  Since I did that 18 months ago, the stems are thick with new buds of purple foliage.

The golden form is much less hardy though I have one in a sheltered spot that is doing well.  It's parent, further along the boundary and more exposed has been frozen back to a shadow of its former self as a result of the last 4 hard winters here but both have lovely fresh golden foliage with bronze tints in spring so it's worth finding a spot for one.

16/05/2012 at 21:42

thankyou obelixx for that I will wait with bated breath,

21/06/2012 at 15:05

I'm thinking of getting one of these shrubs but want to know if I can grow it in a pot that's about 45cm> Not too bothered about how big it will grow.

    21/06/2012 at 17:07

Hello Joan 3,

A Sambucus 'Black Lace' would usually like a bigger root run than you can give it in a 45cm diameter pot, even if you plan to cut it down to get good foliage each year. Why not try using your pot for an alternative black foliage plant, for example you could put in three plants of Actaea 'Black Negligee', which would look splendid.

Emma team

01/07/2012 at 09:56

Emma, thanks for the advice, will check into that.

05/10/2012 at 17:50
05/10/2012 at 18:48
Vivian. The golden one you want is Sutherlands Gold. It's totally,hardy, easy and reliable. Grown together, maybe with,eucalyptus, and you will have glorious foliage colour,throughout,summer
19/03/2013 at 20:47

when will it be possible to bug a sambucus black lace at garden centres. I am aware that garden centres prefere to sell evergreen shrubs at this time of year

19/03/2013 at 20:50
Green fingers Steve I'd have thought they be available now , have a look. I have one , hardy in my clay cold garden
19/03/2013 at 20:54
Greenfingers Steve, prob late spring when leaves have formed.
Just checked out Stephen smiths garden centres....I buy shrubs from them occasionally and they are very good......and they have Sambucus Black Lace available. Good to plant now....not when ground is frosted though....And it will have extra growing time if you have to wait for your GC to stock it...?
19/03/2013 at 20:56
Also easy to take cuttings ...I have two extras growing from last year
08/05/2013 at 15:31

I have to move my black lace elder.The buds are just coming out.Would it harm the plant if I cut it back now along with moving it?

08/05/2013 at 15:37

How big and old is it Patricia? I wanted to move mine but when I starting digging I realised there was no chance without heavy machinery. If you can get it moved, cutting it back won't hurt it.

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