Elderberry can make a great addition to your home garden. Knowing how to grow elderberry from seed can be a great skill to learn for those looking to pick up a new skill. Not only will it look great in your garden but you will also be able to enjoy the elderberries as well.
Though it may not be as common as some other plants, it is a great addition to your garden. With the right time and experience, you can successfully grow elderberry from seed. It is a great plant to grow for decorative foliage and also wonderful for making jams.
- 1 What Is Elderberry?
- 2 How To Grow Elderberry From Seed
- 3 Tips For Caring For Your Elderberry Plant
- 4 Harvesting Elderberries
- 5 Uses For Elderberry
- 6 Conclusion: Learning How To Grow Elderberry From Seed
What Is Elderberry?
The elderberry is a type of flowering tree that comes in different varieties and has many uses. Despite its name, it has more of a shrub-like appearance. The four main types of elderberries include the American elderberry, European or black elderberry, red elderberry, and blue elderberry, though there are other varieties as well.
Elderberry trees can grow to be as tall as 20 to 30 feet tall. They can grow in USDA zones 3-9. They do best in full sun to partial shade with moist, well-drained soil.
Elderberries are recognizable for their serrated leaves that grow on each side of a stem in groups of anywhere from three to nine leaves. While elderberries have many uses, raw elderberries can be toxic to dogs, humans, and cats.
Do Elderberries Have Seeds?
Yes, elderberry plants do have seeds in their berries. In fact, 50% of the berry is made up of seeds. The seeds of the elderberry plant can be saved from the fruit and used to grow a new elderberry plant.
How To Grow Elderberry From Seed
Knowing how to grow elderberry from seed is something that any aspiring gardener can learn. With the right steps, care, and knowledge, you can successfully grow an elderberry plant in your garden. Knowing when to plant elderberry seeds will help you achieve the best results.
Step 1: Remove Seeds From Berries
Rub and crush your elderberries to remove the seeds. Once the seeds have separated from the pulp allow them to soak in water for a day before drying them off. Elderberry seeds for planting can also be purchased from garden centers or online.
Step 2: Stratify The Seeds – How To Grow Elderberry From Seed
Spread your seeds out on a moist paper towel, fold the paper towel up, and then place it in a plastic bag. Then, place the plastic bag in the fridge for 60-90 days. This process is important as otherwise, the germination process can take a very long time.
Step 3: Prepare Your Pot And Plant Your Seeds
Prepare a pot gardening tray with moist, fertile soil. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/2 inch at least two inches apart. Keep your potting medium misted and lightly cover with a layer of mulch.
Keep your pot in a warm, bright room where the temperature will be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer. Be sure to mist your soil every couple of days so it does not dry out. The germination process should take between six to eight weeks, though it may take longer.
Step 4: Transplant Your Seedlings
Grow your elderberry seedlings in a nursery for one year, providing them with adequate lighting and protecting them from the wind. This is the best way to allow the roots to develop.
After a year, you can transplant your seedlings into your garden. The best time to plant your elderberries in your garden is in the fall.
Plant your elderberry plants in well-draining, fertile soil. They should be placed at least six to 10 feet apart. Cover lightly with mulch and water regularly. While they prefer full sunlight they will grow in partial shade.
Tips For Caring For Your Elderberry Plant
While elderberry plants don’t require much fertilization they can benefit from organic compost. They can benefit from one to two inches of water a week in summer. For young plants, provide two inches of water a week in warm weather.
Wait to prune your elderberry plant until it is at least three years old. Carefully remove dead, damaged, or diseased canes.
When harvested, elderberries have many different uses. They are typically ready to harvest in late summer to early fall.
Elderberries will be ready to harvest when they are rich, dark purple, or black and are slightly soft. Simply cut the big clusters with prunes and then remove the stems and leaves, which can be toxic. You can store your elderberries in the fridge until you are ready to use them.
Some gardens also like to harvest the flowers of the elderberry as well for a potpourri mix. The flowers can be harvested once the entire cluster has bloomed. To do so all you need to do is snip off the entire cluster of blooms.
Uses For Elderberry
Elderberries have many different uses and while some people grow them just for decorative foliage, other people will harvest them. When properly harvested and prepared, elderberries can be used in jams, syrups, pies, and wines. To be safely consumed they should be cooked first.
Elderberries also have medicinal uses as well as they are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. They have been commonly used to help treat cold and flu symptoms. Elderberries are also used for supporting heart health, reducing inflammation, and helping treat infections.
The toxic substances that are found in elderberries can be safely eliminated by proper cooking. However, the branches, bark, and leaves should not be consumed. Avoid eating berries raw and be sure to wash them and then properly cook them before eating them.
Conclusion: Learning How To Grow Elderberry From Seed
Elderberry is a great plant you can grow in your garden as it looks great and you can even use the berries in cooking. Though it is a lengthy process to grow elderberries from seeds, with the right steps you will be able to successfully grow them in your garden.
Elderberry plants come in different varieties and are best grown in USDA zones 3-9. Once your elderberry plant is established, they are relatively easy to maintain. They need moist, fertile soil, plenty of water, and full to partial sun.
Do you have any questions regarding how to grow elderberry from seed? If so, please ask your elderberry questions in the comments below.