Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Gerda' (PBR)
black elder (syn. Black Beauty)
- 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: purple black autumn fruits are attractive to birds
- Hardiness: fully hardy
- 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.
This fantastic new variety of elder has intense, black burgundy foliage and sweet, lemon scented, pale pink flowers in early summer, opening from dark red buds. Darker than other varieties it makes an excellent ornamental plant for a site in sun or partial shade. As an added bonus the purple black autumn fruits are highly attractive to songbirds.
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Q:I bought one a couple of years ago - last summer it started off well but then suddenly (within a very short space of time) every single leaf dried up and fell off. There was also evidence of brownish mottling on the leaves (originally I thought bugs had been chewing on the underside of the leaves!). If it's relevant, last summer was jolly wet.
Now it's spring again, the plant made very small shoots and I hoped it was going to recover - these shoots have been very slow to mature and a close inspection doesn't bode well.
The shrub is located in a pot on a South facing garden in the West of England - it's one of my favourites, but I don't know what went wrong or whether to bother getting a new one. I'd hate to loose another.
I thought these were supposed to be pretty tough plants. Any idea what might have gone wrong?Asked on 4/24/2013 by esslw from West of England
These plants are generally quite tough, but they are prone to a soil-borne fungal disease called Verticillium Wilt. I'm afraid there is no cure for this, so if you think this might be the cause, then you should remove the plant with as much of the rootball and surrounding soil as possible. You should also take care not to spread this soil to other areas of the garden. Once the plant is removed, you can then re-plant with something that is resistant to this disease. This includes all the conifers and grasses, as well as Cercidiphyllum, Crataegus, Gleditsia, Betula, Eucalyptus, Liquidamber, Morus and Salix spp.Answered on 4/25/2013 by Helen from Crocus
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. EmmaAsked on 4/13/2010 by emma freeman
A:Dear Helen Many thanks for list of plants I have ordered several of them. RegardsAnswered 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 DoctorAnswered on 4/14/2010 by emma freeman
Q:Sambucus Berry Advice
Hi There, I have a Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Gerda' - black elder (syn. Black Beauty) that I purchased from you some time ago. This year it's produced a lot of berries, do you know if these are edible? I'm hoping to make some jam out of them. Thanks in advance. LouiseAsked on 9/21/2009 by Louise Gale (Intl Vendor)
A:Good luck with it,- I will be very pleased to hear how it goes. Best regards, Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/22/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
A:Hi Helen (a.k.a Plant Doctor) I've done some research online, seems it's good to make jam and wine out of, so I'm going to give the jam a go. I'll let you know what it's like. :-) Thanks LouiseAnswered on 9/22/2009 by Louise Gale (Intl Vendor)
A:Hello Louise, I am not an expert but it was my understanding that all
the Sambucus berries are edible once they have been cooked, but I would
be wary about eating them from from cultivated varieties such as yours. I'm sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/22/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Sambucus nigra pruning,- will it effect the flowers?
Hello Crocus team, I have a question about Sambucus nigra. I notice that you recommend cutting it to ground level in the Spring for the best foliage effect. If this is done, does it still flower? Many thanks. AnneAsked on 8/31/2009 by Anne Brambleby
A:Hello Ann, This hard pruning is used if you want your Sambucus to have better foliage, but it is done at the expense of the flowers. You may get some, but you will get more if it is left un-pruned. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 9/1/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
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