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Sambucus nigra 'Guincho Purple'

Common elder

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous shrub

Flower colour



Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Marcus Harpur, copyright GAP Photos (15151)

Plant details

Common elder is a robust large shrub or small tree, familiar for its sweetly fragrant flowers and edible blue-black fruits. It will grow almost anywhere, including difficult conditions such as waterlogged or very chalky ground. It has produced numerous ornamental varieties, including 'Guincho Purple', formerly called 'Purpurea'. This is a smaller, spreading plant, with the darkest of all sambucus foliage, bright green while young and rapidly becoming bronze, then deep bronzy purple, a perfect foil to the pink-flushed blooms. In autumn, leaves turn rich red. To produce the best coloured leaves, prune plants back to ground level every year in early spring.

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Sambucus

Species: nigra

Cultivar: Guincho Purple

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Purple

Feature: Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline, Dry, Moist, Boggy, Sandy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 600cm

Spread: 600cm

Time to prune: March to April

Flowering period: June to June

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