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:Is there a particular tiome of year to plant a Sambuca?Asked on 11/6/2015 by SandyR from Harpenden
The best times to plant are spring or autumn, but you can plant in midsummer if you make sure it is kept well watered, or winter if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.Answered on 15/6/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:I have a patio, but no garden and wonder if this plant would do well in a large pot.Asked on 21/5/2015 by Gardener from Tunbridge Wells
A:really prefers to be in ground as once planted does not like to be up rootedAnswered on 4/6/2015 by mike from swansea
It can be grown in a really large pot, provided it is kept well fed and watered - although it will be happier when grown in the ground.Answered on 27/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:My Sambucus is usually beautiful. The leaves are starting to come but seem to be v dry and brittle and v stunted in growth. I wondered what to doAsked on 17/5/2015 by Worried from Nantwich,Cheshire
Most parts of the country have had an unusually dry spring and this has caused a lot of plants to be a stunted and dry. Therefore, I would make sure the plant gets loads of water and a little general purpose fertiliser and hopefully it should pick up.Answered on 29/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:I dug up my sambucus nigra from its previous spot because it was shady and ctowded and clearly was not thriving. I have planted it a very large pot with drainage material at the base using a good multi purpose compost and placed it in a spot where it gets more but not continous sun.It is now apparently even unhappier with no shoots at all. Have I killed it?Asked on 23/4/2015 by Shirley from Herefordshire
It is difficult to say without seeing it, but lifting and moving plants can sometimes do more harm than good if they suffer from root damage. The only thing you can do now is make sure that it is not planted too deeply and gently scrape the bark with your fingernail - if it is green just below the bark then it is still alive.Answered on 5/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Hi - I have a Sambucas nigra and this year I have dug it up to move it. When I dug it out there wasn't much soil around the roots and although I have potted it up in good compost, it has just wilted completely. It's been over a week now and there is no sign of it recovering. Shall I cut it back hard to the base - will it have more chance of shooting again if I do this? Thank you.Asked on 22/4/2015 by Mrs B from United Kingdom
If the roots have been damaged when moving it, then it may be touch and go I'm afraid. It will help if you cut it back a little, but you will need to be patient too. Just make sure it is kept well watered, keep your fingers crossed and in time it may rally.Answered on 5/5/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:I had a acer dissectum dwarf crimson queen. for nearly 40 years this year it has not come into leaf and is dead. can the sambucus black lace be pruned to the dwarf mushroom shape that my lovely tree was. I like its leaves and colour etc. does it have to be cut down every year to ground level -I'm not woried about the flowers - to replace the acer would be years to get to the size as mine was and we wont be here to see it !!Asked on 17/4/2015 by painterb from Kent UK
I'm afraid nothing will have such an elegant shape as the Acer, but the Sambucus will remain more compact if it is cut back each year.Answered on 21/4/2015 by Helen from crocus
Q:Planted small sambucus Black lace Eva 26.7.14. Leaves are appearing now and it is 1 ft high and does not seem to have grown at all. It is in its own position in a lawn which tends to be wet (lots of moss in grass!) and is south facing. Very disappointing and wondering whether to put in pot? HELP TrudyAsked on 3/4/2015 by biker from Colchester Essex
If the soil is heavy and wet for any length of time, or if the base of the plant is having to compete with the lawn, then it probably would be happier in a large pot.Answered on 8/4/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:I see that the expected height is 3m, spread 2m if unpruned. I want flowers so I wont prune it hard, but can I prune it a bit to keep it a little smaller (I'm not worried about the height but a 2m spread might overpower the border I am planning to put this in)Asked on 31/3/2015 by chalky1 from purley
Yes, if you prune it you can restrict its height, but it may be at the expense of the flowers.Answered on 2/4/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
I have a Black Lace elder that was planted last year. It is now almost the end of March, it about 2 ft tall and has small leaves just started to grow. I need to move it as am having a patio extension - is it safe to move and as I have never pruned it would it be safe to do so or just leave it alone.
ThanksAsked on 22/3/2015 by secretvenus from Winchester
Generally the best time to move deciduous plants is when they are dormant, so I would move it as soon as possible.
I wouldn't prune it hard this year as it is still a young plant, but once it is established in it's new position, you can cut it back hard in the spring but this is often at the expensive of the flowers. Hope this helps.Answered on 26/3/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
we planted a small Black Lace at the end of last year (it'a about 2 ft tall) and as newbie gardenner, I'm frightened of pruning it back to the ground, as I've seen suggested in various places, as it seems a bit extreme!
It's mid February just now and I can see some little buds forming - seeing as it's only been in the ground for about 8 months, and is still a fairly young plant, am I best to leave well alone?Asked on 16/2/2015 by lunaestrella from West Yorkshire
A:I do not prune mine to the ground, ever, and it is large and black and luxuriant. I do prune it for shape though.Answered on 8/6/2015 by Gaston from Bedford, NY
I agree with you, I would another year until it is more established before cutting it back hard.
Hope this helps.Answered on 24/2/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
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