Propagating Elderberry Plants

Updated on August 22, 2019
Organic Mama profile image

Amelia has been an avid gardener since childhood and enjoys experimenting with natural and sustainable gardening methods.

The berries of edible elderberries are used for boosting the immune system.
The berries of edible elderberries are used for boosting the immune system.

Propagating elderberry is so easy I wondered if I could even write a whole article about it! So, if you have access to this versatile, hardy, and immune-boosting plant, I encourage you to start your own plants or multiply the ones you have.

The elderberry pictured here is a single year's growth and is about 6 feet tall.
The elderberry pictured here is a single year's growth and is about 6 feet tall.

Tips for Growing Elderberries

  • Not all elderberries are edible. If you plan to consume the berries, make sure that the plant you propagate from bears edible berries.
  • Elderberry is not self-fertile and will therefore need a pollinator in order to harvest fruit. It doesn’t have to be in your yard, just nearby, but the closer the better. So, if you are getting cuttings or suckers from a friend or neighbor, it would behoove you to get ones from more than one bush.
  • Water new plants regularly throughout the first summer.
  • For best results, plant elderberry in full sun. However, it tolerates shade well.
  • In some cases, a new plant will try to flower and bear fruit the first year. To encourage root growth and allow the main stem to stay straight, trim off the blossoms as they appear.

The elderberry on the left was propagated by transplanting a sucker.
The elderberry on the left was propagated by transplanting a sucker.

How to Propagate Elderberry

There are four main ways to multiply elderberry plants and your method depends upon what parts of the plant you have access to.

  1. Seed: I have never tried this method, because the other methods work so effectively, easily, and predictably. However, the birds around here multiply elderberry by this method regularly. My advice: leave this method to the birds.
  2. Do Nothing: If the plants are already in your yard and you just want more, then they will do the work for you. Within a year, they will spread several feet. Within two years, the radius will be about 10 feet.
  3. Transplant Suckers: If you want to grow elderberry in a new place—either because the original plants aren’t yours or because you want to start a new colony—one simple and dependable way is to dig up one of the small plants coming up near the original. This is known as a sucker. You will have to cut the root where it connects to the main plant, but maintain as much other root as possible. If the sucker exceeds 4 feet tall, it is best to cut it down to about 3 feet tall to reduce transplant shock. Save these cut-off sections for method four. Plant the sucker in the new location and water liberally. This is best done early in spring as soon as the ground thaws, or in the fall when the plant has lost its leaves.
  4. Plant Cuttings: This method is nothing short of miraculous. All you have to do is take a cutting from last season’s growth, use your fingernail to peel off a bit of bark around the bottom, and stick it in the ground about 6 inches deep. This works great in early spring when the stress on the plant is the least. The stick should be 2–3 feet long. Make sure the soil does not dry out for the next eight weeks or so. Voila! You have a new plant. I did this last winter, and every single stick I planted grew into a new plant.

These elderberry plants were all propagated from cuttings several months ago.
These elderberry plants were all propagated from cuttings several months ago.

Soon you can be well on your way to your own stand of elderberry. With some basic care, they will quickly fill unused space in your yard and provide attractive flowers and berries.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)