Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Eva' (PBR)

black elder (syn. Black Lace)

2 litre pot £12.99 Buy
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Never under estimate the power of foliage and the lacy black leaves on this shrub would shine out close to the silver-green foliage of buddlejas or phlomis

Val Bourne - Garden Writer

1 year guarantee

  • 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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11 Questions | 12 Answers
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  • Q:

    Hello
    I have a sambucus nigra that needs to be moved. It is currently in a border but there isn't enough room for it really. When is the best time to dig it up and is it likely to survive the move?
    Thanks!
    Asked on 11/25/2013 by Mrs B from Kent

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      The best time to move it will be when it is completely dormant, so either early or late winter would be ideal. As for the chances of survival, this will depend on how mature the plant is and how much of the root-ball you can dig up. As a very general rule, plants that have only been planted for a year or too are much easier to move than more mature plants. If you do attempt it prepare the soil well in the new area and make sure it is kept well watered in the first year or two after moving.

      Answered on 11/26/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    My Sambucus nigra leaves are falling, it has not flowered this year, and appeared to have been affected by
    last winter. It is in a concrete pot
    Help please.
    GJ
    Asked on 10/1/2013 by Greta from Ipswich Suffolk

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      These are deciduous plants so they do lose their leaves each autumn and then remain bare throughout winter until they put on new growth in spring. I am not sure what size pot yours is in, but it may be a little too small as they are pretty big plants. Ideally they will need a very large pot - and they like to be kept really well fed and watered if they are to thrive.

      As for the lack of flowers, there are many reasons for this, but given time and the right conditions, there is no reason why this one wont. Try to pot it up (or plant it out) and make sure it has plenty of sun. You could also try feeding with sulphate of potash to give it a bit of a push.

      Answered on 10/2/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    Hello.
    Can you tell me the best time to plant Sambucus nigra.
    Asked on 9/9/2013 by Starry eyed from Edinburgh

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      As it is container grown, you can plant them at any time of the year provided the ground is not frozen. The best times however are in the autumn when the soil is still warm enough to encourage root growth but the plant isn't in active growth, or the spring before the temperatures start to rise. You can also plant in mid-summer as long as you make sure the plants are kept well watered.

      Answered on 9/10/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    Can I cut back a Sambusca plant now or should I wait until spring. It is about 3 metres tall and has a wonderful flowering season.
    Asked on 9/1/2013 by Lyn from Cheshire

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello there
      The best time to prune your Sambucus is in the spring, so I would wait until then if you can.
      How much you then cut back it back by depends on what you want from the plant,-if it is for the foliage then cut back all the stems to a framework just above the soil level in the spring before the new growth starts. This will encourage the large colourful foliage. If you are growing it for the flowers then remove only the oldest stems, and cut back the younger shoots to about half their length.
      Hope this helps

      Answered on 9/2/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
  • Q:

    I have purchased a sambusca recently. Having kept It a pot for a while it became quite tall and leggy. I have transferred it from pot to ground and wondered how to encourage side shoots to fill it out. Is it acceptable to pinch out the shoots from the two leggy branches as it is looking a little naked at the moment?
    Asked on 8/21/2013 by Newgardener1 from Corby, Northants

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello there
      Yes you can cut back the bare stems to encourage it to bush out, but also in the spring to get the best foliage you can cut it back to ground level, however this does mean that you probably won't get many flowers that year. Also in the spring apply a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
      Hope this helps

      Answered on 8/22/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
  • Q:

    how and when, do you take cuttings from the sambucus black lace! please can you advise.so many friends and my neighbours have asked me for cuttings from mine but i havent a clue how to take them. i have had my beautiful plant for many years,it would be lovely to share it with friends who appreciate it as much as i do.
    Asked on 8/15/2013 by titch from todmorden

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      These can be propagated from softwood or semi-ripe cuttings from spring to midsummer, or hardwood cuttings in winter.

      To take softwood cuttings in spring, cut lengths of semi-ripened stems about 20cm (8in) long. Remove any leaves which are still hanging on and with sharp secateurs make a horizontal cut just below a node and a sloping cut just above a bud at the top. Never use the whippy thin bits at the tip of a branch for you cuttings. Dip the base of each cutting into hormone rooting powder and insert them in pots (containing seed and cutting compost) so only a quarter is above ground. Water and label.

      To take semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer, select a healthy shoot from this season's growth and cut a length 4-6inches long just above a node. Remove all except the top 2 leaves, cut a sliver of bark from one side of the base of the stem and dip in rooting powder. Pot up in potting compost and water well. Keep the cuttings in a humid, frost-free place. Rooting will usually occur by autumn.

      Hardwood cuttings can be taken in late autumn to late winter. After the plant has finished flowering, select a healthy shoot from the new growth and cut it to 4-6 inches just above a node. Remove all except the top 2 leaves, cut a sliver of bark from one side of the base of the stem and dip in rooting powder. Pot up in potting compost and water well. Keep the cuttings in a humid, frost-free place. In winter they can take up to 3 months to root.

      Answered on 8/16/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    Hello, My Sambucas nigra has not flowered for two years. I have pruned it hard and whilst it grows well I have no blooms and berries. Any advice please.
    Asked on 8/15/2013 by heavenlyscent from Bourton-on-the-water, Cotswolds

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      If you prune these shrubs hard each year, then you will get more impressive foliage, but at the expense of the flowers. If you want to get more flowers, then they do not need such drastic pruning - just remove wayward or damaged stems in late winter.

      Answered on 8/16/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    Hello Crocus team, I have an agapanthus plant which had 15 flowers last year and was beautiful, but this year there arnt any flowers on it at all, I fed it in spring and cant understand why. Hope you can help. Also could you tell me what the best feed for my black sambucus is. Thank you

    dorothy leyland
    Asked on 7/14/2013 by plantdotty

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello,

      Unlike many other plants, Agapanthus tend to flower best when their roots are restricted. They also prefer not to be particularly well fed, and they must receive lots of sun to flower well. I suspect then that the reason yours does not have many buds this year is down to one of those things.

      As for the Sambucus, you can feed this with a good general purpose fertiliser such as Vitax Q4

      http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.Q4/sort.0/

      Answered on 7/15/2013 by Helen from Crocus
  • Q:

    Gardeners World magazine has a Sambucus nigra Porphyrophylla 'Eva' growing in a container. Will this keep the plant small or still grow to 3m x 2m. Is there a small version available for containers?
    Asked on 2/24/2013 by snail from Northamptonshire

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor

      A:

      Hello
      Sambucus nigra Eva can be grown in a pot and like you say this will restrict its growth so it will not reach the full 3m x 2m. If grown in a pot I would recommend each spring replacing the top layer of compost. Water regularly during the growing season so it does not dry out and feed with a balanced feed throughout the growing season. The size can also be limited by pruning.

      Answered on 2/26/2013 by Anonymous
  • Q:

    Plants for boggy area?

    Dear Crocus I have an area in my woodland that is really, really, boggy, can you advice on what plants would be suitable. Many thanks. Emma
    Asked on 4/13/2010 by emma freeman

    2 answers

    • A:

      Dear Helen Many thanks for list of plants I have ordered several of them. Regards

      Answered on 4/13/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
    • A:

      Hello Emma, There are a few plants that will thrive in boggy soil - here are some of the best:- Gunnera manicata http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/gunnera-manicata-/classid.2880/ Osmunda regalis http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/ferns/classid.1834/ Carex elata Aurea http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/grasses/carex-elata-aurea/classid.77799/ Ligularia http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.ligularia/ Astilbe Fanal http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/astilbe-fanal-%C3%97-arendsii/classid.2579/ Zantedeschia http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.zantedeschia/ Sambucus http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.sambucus/ Rodgersia http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.rodgersia/ Hostas http://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.hosta/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

      Answered on 4/14/2010 by emma freeman
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