The Q&A Archives: New Sambucus Nigra Black Beauty

Question: will be a very young plant and was wondering if it will grow as quickly as my other one. I realize that this plant is new to North America but is the accelerted growth rate a family trait? Again sorry for the length of this letter and I'm looking forward to any thoughts that you might have. Thanks in advance. Ed Brown.

Answer: The sambucus as a group are known to be fast growing, three or more feet per year, especially in the moist soil they prefer. According to Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, the Sambucus nigra or European Elder is a large multistemmed shrub growing to 10 or 20 or even 30 feet high and he classes it as deserving of the same "weed status as S. canadensis" so I would expect a similar performance from your new plant. In my own experience, however, I have found that variegated and red- or dark-foliaged varieties are often a bit less vigorous than their more typical green-leafed kin. I did find one reference indicating this particular variety will grow to only 10 feet within 8 years. Having said that, and knowing there can be some variation in growth depending on climate and cultural conditions, I am sure you will enjoy your new plant!

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