Sambucus canadensis


$3.00 - $30.00

1/8 oz.
1/4 oz.
1/2 oz.

Bare Root Plants

3 Pack

NEW IN POTTED 3-PACKS! Elderberry erupts with large, lacey sprays of white blossom clusters in June.  As the flowers continue to bloom, they fill in to create large umbels and exude a delicate citrusy fragrance, inviting myriads of little pollinators to come visit.  Flowers are replaced by succulent, burgundy berries that darken to a rich black-purple once they are ripe.  Bowed branches drape and ‘water fountain’ from the center, providing dense shelter for nesting birds.  The foliage turns a lovely burnished yellow in the fall.  

Sambucus canadensis prefers rich, well-drained soils and full sun or bright shade.  It is remarkably adaptable, though, and will usually grow well in most site conditions.  The shrub quickly reaches its full 10 foot stature and will burgeon outwards with suckering roots.  But a life in the fast-lane is rather short - extend the longevity of this beautiful and beneficial plant in your landscape by pruning it back hard every few years, cutting several of the stems all the way to the ground to encourage fresh growth.  

This bountiful bush is a haven for many nesting birds and provides highly nutritious fruits for many other birds, including Ruffed Grouse, Northern Cardinal, Gray Catbird, Northern Mockingbird, and Wood Thrush.  Some sources state that Eastern Box Turtles and Eastern Mud Turtles will also consume the berries.  The leaves are toxic, so browsing mammals rarely bother this plant.

Elderberry has recently seen a resurgence in popularity as a home remedy for preventing the common cold and other illnesses, as well as speeding up the recovery period.  Although this plant produces edible flowers and berries, these harvests need to be cooked before being consumed.  And as always, forage at your own risk – if you are not 100% certain of the species, don’t eat it.

This plants is also listed under the scientific name Sambucus nigra and is commonly called American Black Elderberry, Black Elder, American Elder, and Common Elderberry.

*This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity.  Please note the germination code. Seed of this species is kept under refrigeration (33-38 F) in our warehouse. The days in transit to you in colder or warmer conditions won’t harm the seed, but it should be put back in refrigeration until you are ready to plant or apply pre-sowing treatment.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots April/May October 2 years/12"
Potted 3-Packs N/A August/September 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep pots

Sambucus canadensis - Elderberry

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

7 Questions asked on Sambucus canadensis

I ordered six of these plants this year, and they are doing well! I have had people tell me since buying them that I need two different varieties or they will not produce fruit. Do I need another variety? If so, can you recommend a type that will pollinate with these? Thank you!
No, you do not need another variety. Our Elderberry are strictly the wild type (native) and they don’t have varieties.
Similar question, is this plant monoecious or will I need to purchase more than one to produce fruit? Thank you!
Hi Mandi. You will only need one plant to produce fruit. Sambucus canadensis has male and female parts in each flower.

They do sucker a bit, and the woody branches/stems are easily and fairly quickly replaced. I prefer to remove a few of the oldest branches in spring before they leaf out for a renewal pruning strategy.
Is this variety edible for humans?
Yes, the fall berries, and even the flowers, are edible. While much smaller than cultivated, commercial Elderberry plants, the wild fruit makes a delicious jam!
How quickly will these reach their mature size? We are looking to replace some lilacs that serve as a privacy screen. Thank you!
Hi Jessica. Elderberry grow fairly fast, and they spread underground. The roots we are shipping this Fall are 2 years old. I think in another 3-4 years it will be a large, berry-producing shrub, similar in size to most lilacs.
Will elderberry grow ok in clay soils?
Hi Anna, Yes! Elderberry should do just fine in clay soils.
To my understanding the native elderberry tends to grow quite wide, more so than it does tall. Is it possible to prune these in a way that they are more tall than wide? Sort of like making them into a multi-trunk tree.
Hi Lucas. Absolutely! Most of the native shrubs can be pruned early spring to coach them into more of a shape you desire. Always prune just above the node on the stem so the buds can form new stems.
Does this plant produce more fruit in fuller sun, or would partial shade also produce the same fruit?
Hi Kathy. Elderberry will produce fruits in both sun or partial shade conditions. You will want to keep an eye on the soil moisture, though - especially throughout the fruiting season. Water as needed to encourage and support juicy berry production.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

US Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Sun Exposure
Full, Partial
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium, Medium-Dry
up to 10 feet
Bloom Time
June, July, August
Bloom Color
Pollinator Favorite: butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, beetles
Bird Favorite: seeds, insects, fruit, nectar, nesting, perch
Deer Resistant
Recommended for home landscaping but potentially aggressive; could overwhelm small landscapes
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code