General Discussion:

Black Beauty Elder

Messages posted to thread:

Carol01-Jun-03 06:36 PM EST 5a   
NancyM03-Jun-03 04:46 PM EST 5   
Carol03-Jun-03 08:09 PM EST 5a   
Susan03-Jun-03 09:10 PM EST 6a   
Carol04-Jun-03 04:15 PM EST 5a   
Dan19-Jun-03 05:43 PM EST 6   
Carol M.19-Jun-03 07:44 PM EST 5a   
Merren29-Jul-07 12:44 AM EST 5b   

Subject: Black Beauty Elder
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 01-Jun-03 06:36 PM EST

Has anyone had experience with the Black Beauty Elder shrub? I just planted one. How quickly do they grow?

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: NancyM
Zone: 5
Date: 03-Jun-03 04:46 PM EST

We don't have 'Black Beauty', but I do have 'Goldfinch', a cut-leaf golden variety that I think is closely related. I planted it as a 1 ft shrub last summer in a fairly dry raised area amongst rocks, in 1/2 day shade and a north-west exposure. It survived the winter with virtually no dieback and is now about 3 feet high and looking absolutely gorgeous. A native elder that's also on my property, under large trees and about 6 years old is about 10 feet high right now.

Will be interested in seeing how big they both are going to get, too. But both of mine will be restricted by the level of moisture and shade they get. You should be able to expect Black Beauty to get up to 12 feet high or so, depending on where you place it.

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 03-Jun-03 08:09 PM EST

Thanks, Nancy. Mine is in sun/part shade in good moist soil. It replaced a Sand Cherry, so I'm missing something of size right now. I'm hoping it will grow quickly. 3 feet after 1 year would be good!

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Susan
Zone: 6a
Date: 03-Jun-03 09:10 PM EST

'Black Beauty' is a form of Sambucus nigra - a European Elder while 'Goldfinch' is a form of Sambucus canadensis - American Elder. However both types of elders are quite similar in growth habit - the American Elders are hardier. If you are not trying to train them as trees, Elders are generally best cut back severely each year. I cut my no-name American Elders back to about 2' each spring and by flowering time they are 6-8' tall! (They sucker heavily from the roots and form a ticket if left alone...)

Carol - you might want to look at this page if you haven't already seen it...

Incredible looking plants!

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Carol
Zone: 5a
Date: 04-Jun-03 04:15 PM EST

Thanks, Susan. I had seen those pictures - they're gorgeous! If mine grows to look half that good, I'll be delighted. I just want a good sized shrub - not a big tree, so I appreciate the pruning advice. I have Lady's Mantle planted in front of it. I think the colour combination will be nice, but right now, the Lady's Mantle is almost as tall as Black Beauty! Here's hoping for a milder winter than we had last year!

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Dan (
Zone: 6
Date: 19-Jun-03 05:43 PM EST

One of the cautions we have about the Black Beauty is that it needs full sun in order to keep those dark leaves. Apparently, the greater the shade, the more green the leaf. As it is very new to us we haven't really had a few years of growing experience to verify this.

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Carol M.
Zone: 5a
Date: 19-Jun-03 07:44 PM EST

When I attended Chelsea this year they were introducing a 'sister' to Black Beauty called Black Lace. It has the dark leaves which are very much like Japanese Maples, and the pretty pink flower clusters. With its hardiness it supposed to be a good alternative to the Japanese Maple. Unfortunately it's been developed in England and won't be available in Canada until next year.

Subject: RE: Black Beauty Elder
From: Merren (
Zone: 5b
Date: 29-Jul-07 12:44 AM EST

have two of them and want to know how to prune and how to encourage a shrub like plantand how to get them to flower

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