Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva' (PBR)
black elder (syn. Black Lace)
- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist, well-drained soil
- Rate of Growth: average
- Flowering period: June
- Flowers: pale pink
- Other features: almost black, dissected leaves and blackish red berries in autumn
- Hardiness: fully hardy
This recent introduction has almost black, dissected foliage and from May to June pale pink, musk-scented blooms emerge from beautiful creamy-pink buds. It makes an excellent shrub for all styles of gardens and has the added bonus of having blackish-red berries in autumn which are attractive to birds and when ripe can be used to make a wonderful wine. For best foliage colour grow it in full sun, otherwise it can fade to a greenish-bronze.
- Garden care: To achieve the best foliage effect cut back to ground level each year in early spring and apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
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Q:My specimen of nigra black lace did not flower this season despite cutting down to ground level in spring and mulchinany suggestions to where I went wrong?Asked on 8/1/2014 by F.c b from East Sussex
By cutting it back hard in spring you are encouraging it to put on lots of strong foliage, however if you are growing it for its flowers, then you should not prune it at all.Answered on 8/4/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:Would the Sambucus Nigra tolerate chalk !Asked on 7/24/2014 by Miss plant
Provided the pH is not too high and you incorporate lots of composted organic matter before you plant, it should be fine.Answered on 7/25/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:If the plant is grown in a bed and cut to ground level every Autumn, what will the typical height and spread be?Asked on 7/10/2014 by Kent from Oxted
It is hard to be precise as so many external factors can affect how quickly a plant grows,- how much light, or water it gets, the nutrients in the soil etc. but it could be anything up to 2mt.
Hope this helpsAnswered on 7/16/2014 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:Hello, I bought one of these 5 years ago. At the time it was about 3ft single stem and planted at the back of a border getting partial sun, thinking it would rise up, except it never really has. 5 years on it is only perhaps 4 ft and while showing some leaf and flower does not do a great deal. Should I be pruning back harder or is this just the wrong spot..?Asked on 7/6/2014 by Grumpyjac from N.Hampshire
If the plant is not thriving, it is a sure sign that it is not happy where it is. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why it is not flourishing from your description, but if it is getting a reasonable amount of sun, the soil is not too heavy and reasonably fertile, and you feed and water regularly, then it should start to pick up. As for pruning, I would avoid this until it is actively growing.Answered on 7/8/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:could I grow sambucus in a pot please ?Asked on 7/5/2014 by cymraes from wales
This plant will be happier in the ground, but if you have a very large pot and can make sure it is kept really well fed and watered, then it should be OK.Answered on 7/8/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:I planted black elder at very back of a wide sunny border . It is in shade mostly as still small and the leaves turning green , will they turn black when the plant reaches a height to get full sun most of the day ?Asked on 6/29/2014 by AB from Herefordshire
The foliage that gets a good amount of sun will maintain a good,deep plum colour, but the foliage that is in the shade will fade to greenish bronze.Answered on 7/1/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:I planted a sambucus nigra last year. This year, it has a couple of stems but they are growing horizontally rather than upwards and outwards. Should I stake the stems?Asked on 6/29/2014 by Eileen58 from Near Brighton
If there are spoiling the shape of the plant, then yes I would stake them for now and then cut them back hard in the winter.Answered on 7/1/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:I planted a blackcurrant bush 2yrs ago although it is very small and seems to be holding its own it is very small and hardly grown in this time?Asked on 6/29/2014 by barb from hull
This can be caused by a number of things including soil type, aspect and the available water, light and nutrients. If you can try to improve its growing conditions, then you should see an improvement in growth.Answered on 6/30/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:My plant was covered with ants so I sprayed my plant with a propriety ant spray, most of the leaves have fallen so I am left with twigs however there is new growth. I have two sambucus and I treated the other one with the same spray and this plant is fine. What can I do to save my plant?Asked on 6/19/2014 by edaa32 from berkshire
I am not sure what you have used, or if it was suitable for spraying on plants, so it is difficult to be too specific. Unfortunately though is that there is little you can do now apart from making sure the plant is kept well watered and you could give it a light dose of general purpose fertiliser (Q4 is ideal). If the damage was not too severe it should soon put on new growth.Answered on 6/26/2014 by helen from crocus
Q:I have a sambucus nigra that has what looks like a large, vertical sucker. Do I prune it, top it, or eliminate it?Asked on 6/9/2014 by Bud from Blaine, WA (near the Canadian border)
If the shoot looks different to the parent plant, then it should definitely be removed by cutting it back to its base.Answered on 6/12/2014 by helen from crocus
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