How and why to plant it in the garden

If it’s an age-old tree attached to the orchard, it’s elderberry (or sauco, both accents are correct). Cultivated by farmers for a long time for its multiple benefits and its uses that it has both in the garden and in medicine because we can take advantage of everything from the elderberry. With the wood we can make tools and utensils, the fruits can be eaten and its aerial part can be used to make home remedies and to fight against pests and fungi in other plants. We will see how and when to plant elderberry in the garden.

elderberry tree

Elderberry is a perennial tree or shrub that reaches an average height of 10 meters, so you don’t need a lot of space to grow it. There are several species of elderberry, the most common being the Sambucus nigra,​ black elderberry, common elderberry,. Many of them are edible and hardly need care and grow quickly.



The most viable option if you don’t want to buy an elderberry to transplant or germinate the berries, is to propagate the elderberry by cutting it and then planting it, as I did. For this, you have to wait until it loses all the leaves and cut semi-woody branches of about 30 cm that have at least 3 buds. We are going to cut at a 45º bevel. The cutting can be reproduced in late autumn or winter.


We will place it in a sandy substrate in partial shade, nailing the stems about 10 cm apart, we will wait until spring for the buds to begin to sprout and in this way we will know that it has already taken root and we can plant .


To plant elderberry or sow it we can do it in several ways, the berries can be sown protected at almost any time of the year, but if we want to plant elderberry we will do it in the spring, when all danger of frost passed and the bush can develop perfectly.

Whether you buy the tree or want to plant the elderberry cutting, you should always prepare a hole twice as wide as the pot in which you place it, in order to be able to work the soil and give it conditions optimal for root development.

In general, I mix the earth that I remove with a good quantity of compost or earthworm humus. Although it does not require excessive nutrients, it will be helpful during those early years.


To plant our elderberry we must take into account the normal conditions in which it develops. It is a plant of temperate and subtropical climates, it grows near the banks of rivers and in areas with abundant humidity but well drained. Deep soil is much better for its development. It is undemanding in terms of soil, but it likes those that are rich in organic matter. In temperate climates it can be placed in full sun, but in very hot climates it is worth providing hours of shade or partial shade.

elderberry tree


As I told you, it is a plant that grows along rivers and in temperate climates, so it will be quite demanding in terms of watering and especially in spring and summer. Its roots are not excessively deep, so watering should be more regular, but always make sure the soil drains well and there is no long-term flooding to prevent fungus infect elderberry.


Normally the elderberry does not need to be pruned any more than we do because we need its wood (to make elderberry sticks). If we want to prune, we must wait at least until the third year of having planted it. To prune the elderberry we will wait for spring and we can remove the dead or diseased branches, also if we are looking for production we will take the opportunity to prune the branches that are more than 4 years old, since they are less productive and we will favor the growth of new canes. If one seeks to obtain the best production of its berries and fruits, this occurs in canes of one and two years.

elderberry tree


The uses in the orchard are more than interesting, apart from the good wood that we will have in size, we will be able to prepare a elderberry porridge to keep mice and moles away from the garden.

In addition, the branches of the nails of Sambucus nigra in the burrows of these rodents and moles, it will make them quickly give up, repelled by the unpleasant odor that this plant gives off.

The elderberry infusion Prepared with the dried leaves of this shrub, harvested before flowering, it is used as a fungicide, especially asagainst rust That is against mottling of pear and apple trees. Another very interesting use is as insecticide against aphids (What home remedy for aphids), green caterpillars That is thrips.

The flowers They serve us to attract large predators of garden pests such as hoverflies and the fruits serve us bird food, in such a way that it may serve us to leave other fruits alone.


The Elderflower They will be harvested in the spring. Exceptional properties are attributed to the infusion of elderberries for skin imperfections, inflammation of the gums or to wash the eyes, especially if they are harvested on Saint John’s Day or the day before. It will be necessary to dry the flowers in a place in the shade cool, dry and very important, well ventilated. The flower color it should not vary once they are dry, or at most yellow a little.

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elderberry or shrub

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