Blue elderberry has long been cherished for its edible blue berries that produce prized elderberry wine, syrup, jams, and you name it. Even the flower clusters are edible and medicinal, making a great aromatic tea. Ethnobotanical uses of blue elderberry by Native Americans are too numerous to list in full, but include dyes for basketry, arrow shafts, whistles, firestarter, and food. Every part of the plant has some documented medicinal use as well. Countless species of birds, small mammals and large mammals feast on the berries, while deer and elk browse the leaves and stems. Blue elderberry is a large, suckering, deciduous shrub or small tree that can reach up to 30′ tall. Adaptable to various sun conditions, in the wild blue elderberry grows on streambanks in riparian corridors, at the bottom of slopes and canyons, near seeps or springs, early-seral forest, on the edges of meadows, or out in the open on a sun-baked ridge where it found a little extra unseen moisture. Blue elderberry’s adaptability makes it a great native plant for a native planting, orchard, pollinator garden, habitat restoration project, or small vineyard. It is tolerant of many soil types but prefers good drainage with regular moisture. Blue elderberry is a tough and easy plant to grow, but give it enough space to thrive as they are very fast growing. Blooms May-July depending on elevation. Blue elderberry has a fountain shape and responds well to pruning. Western native. The white flower clusters are attractive to many types of pollinator, including bees, flies, butterflies and beetles.
Blue elderberry (Sambucus nigra spp. caerulea) seed packets contain approximately 200 seeds.
Seed Germination Instructions
60-90 days cold-moist stratification. Sow outside in fall.