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Sambucus nigra 'Black lace'

Common elder

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous shrub

Flower colour



Flowers, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace'

Plant details

Common elder, Sambucus nigra, bears sprays of tiny white flowers in early summer followed by small black fruit which can be cooked and eaten, or used to make a refreshing summer drink.

Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' has very finely cut, almost black foliage, which is the perfect foil to the pink-flushed blooms. In autumn, its leaves turn a rich red. To produce the best coloured leaves, prune plants back to ground level every year in early spring. It works well when planted on its own or as part of a hedge.

For best results, grow Sambucus nigra 'Black Lace' in moist but well drained soil in full sun to partial shade. However, it will tolerate waterlogged or very chalky ground.

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Sambucus

Species: nigra

Cultivar: Black lace

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Flower colour: Pink

Foliage colour: Purple, Black

Feature: Flowers, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Moist, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 600cm

Spread: 600cm

Time to take cuttings: June to August

Reader reviews


ive read that black elders dont like to much sun because it can burn the new growth.Is this true? Also if you cut elders back too hard (like you suggest)they wont flower the year after.Ive found that if they are cut back hard you will get denser foliage.


I cut mine back every year and this year in particular after a 'severe' cut back, it is flowering even better than previous years.

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