Johns Elderberry

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Larger berries on more vigorous plants. Fruit ripens about two weeks later than Adams. Carefree plants require little to no spraying. Green foliage has an appealing gloss to add landscape interest to this bush. Giant clusters of white flowers bloom in spring, becoming soft, nearly black berries in late summer. Both the elderflowers and the ripe elderberries are edible. Cold-hardy. Ripens in mid-August. Best pollinator: any other elderberry variety.

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Since 1816, Stark Bro’s has promised to provide customers with the very best fruit trees and plants. It’s just that simple. If your trees or plants do not survive, please let us know within one year of delivery. We will issue a one-time merchandise credit to your account equaling 125% of the original product purchase price. Read more about our warranty policy.


Bloom Color White
Fruit Color Purple
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Ripens/Harvest Mid August
Shade/Sun Partial Shade - Full Sun
Soil Composition Loamy
Soil Moisture Well Drained
Soil pH Level 5.5 - 6.5
Taste Sweet
Texture Firm, Juicy
Years to Bear 2 - 3
Zone Range 3 - 9

Zone Compatibility

This Variety's Zone Range 3 - 9
My Hardiness Zone ?
The USDA hardiness zones offer a guide to varieties that will grow well in certain climates. Each zone corresponds to the minimum winter temperatures experienced in a given area. Make sure that your hardiness zone lies within the zone compatability range of this variety before ordering.

Size & Spacing

Mature Size

When your plant matures, it will be approximately 6 - 10' tall x 6 - 8' wide.

Recommended Spacing

We recommend spacing these plants 6 - 8' apart to ensure room for growth.


This variety requires another one for adequate pollination.

Cross-pollination by a different variety is key to its growing and bearing success. Plant one of these varieties within 50' for best pollination.

Tools & Supplies

Having the proper tools and supplies when growing your own can make the difference between a good harvest and a great harvest! Here's a list that our experts recommend for this variety.

Planting & Care

Learn all about how to grow elderberry plants in The Growing Guide. An entire section of our website dedicated to your growing success.

Shipping Information

Estimated Delivery Date

This item is currently out of stock.

Arrives when it's time to plant

Your success is our priority. We work hard to make sure that your order arrives at the ideal time for planting in your location based on your local climate conditions.


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Questions & Answers

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Browse 26 questions Browse 26 questions and 104 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
I need second bush
Mike M on May 3, 2021
I was told this was a good source of Sambucus and I prefer to grow my own.
Ruby M on May 2, 2021
I need second bush
Mike M on May 3, 2021
medicinal benefits
Eileen L on May 2, 2021
I was told this was a good source of Sambucus and I prefer to grow my own.
Ruby M on May 2, 2021
For syrup
Mary C on May 1, 2021
I am building a polinator garden. These will be perfect!
Michele U on May 1, 2021
Cheapest and also seemingly best?
User on May 1, 2021
I want to make elderberry syrup and I heard they are easy to grow
Cynthia B on Apr 24, 2021
it was the prize
Lal E on Apr 24, 2021
Keep hearing good things about elderberries! So I'm going to experience the taste!
Kimberly H on Apr 24, 2021
First one didn???t survive and need this to pollinate my two Ranch elderberry bushes
Mike H on Apr 23, 2021
Recommended by a friend who also is a customer
Kathy C on Apr 22, 2021
My dad would love these
Hailee M on Apr 20, 2021
elderberry grow here in my zone yet hope they cross with the wild and can get more and hardie for my area
W H on Apr 18, 2021
I make elderberry syrup for my family and I want to be able to grow my own.
Erin W on Apr 18, 2021
Medicinal purposes
Kathye H on Apr 18, 2021
Purchased Elderberry from stark before, they grew fast, 1st yr taller than me, perfect for fast privacy, w/ plenty pretty white flowers, and berries make great syrup.
2tectee on Apr 17, 2021
Plant characteristics.
John J on Apr 12, 2021
I needed a companion pollinator for my other Adams Elderberry. They will both be in my front yard landscape.
Lori T on Apr 10, 2021
flowers fruit pollination
landscape attributes
CHARLES B on Apr 9, 2021
Very beneficial plant for your health
Richard J on Apr 9, 2021
Had good reviews. As a first time elderberry grower just seemed to fit with what I was looking for,
Sharon Y on Apr 3, 2021
Good pollinator for my existing Elderberries.
Regina R on Mar 31, 2021
To go with the York elderberry already have.
Elizabeth H on Mar 31, 2021
as cross pollinator
david D on Mar 26, 2021
I???m in California being able to purchase certain items can be difficult even if it???s not available in here..I came across Stark Bros and they have elderberries and are able to sale them to me...they also informed me what???s compatible in my area so I have successful harvest.....
Melissa F on Mar 19, 2021
recommended (in book)
Laurence D on Mar 19, 2021
I have been trying to get these for years, I hope they don't arrive dead. These things will help your body naturally fight viruses. Just start eating these before you get the virus or whichever .
Hannah J on Mar 17, 2021
Gerald H on Mar 15, 2021
I have one of these already, and it is thriving. I found room for another!
Tisa H on Mar 8, 2021
I needed a cross pollinator.
Pamala J on Feb 27, 2021
Because it tolerates full sun partial shade, pollinator for John's elderberry, sweet, soft fruit bearing later than John's elderberry
Marie D on Feb 21, 2021
York would be lonely without it
william T on Jan 26, 2021
Interest in growing.
David M on Jan 26, 2021
My mom wants
Penny D on Jan 21, 2021
It looks like the wild elderberry that grow here in the mountains of North Carolina and I believe they will thrive and blend in perfectly with the other plants here.
Joy W on Jan 18, 2021
I have 3 other plants for great pollination
STEVEN D on Jan 17, 2021
I have spot on my land that I feel berry bushes will do well.
Benjamin M on Jan 7, 2021
Required a pollinator for my Adams, so it will be nice to have elderberries in the garden.
BRIAN C on Jan 6, 2021
Just want to try
SHELLEY M on Dec 29, 2020
Need a different pollinator.
Roy D on Nov 9, 2020
Foraged elderberry blossoms for the first time this spring and now I want one for my own. Made delicious fritters and I'm looking forward to the prospect of making wine and jam.
Gina M on Oct 21, 2020
Wanted another Different Variety to put along with the others I have all ready.
Charles K on Oct 18, 2020
more elderberry variety for myself
Joel M on May 30, 2020
I wanted a pollinator friend for my Adam Elderberry plant. My mom told me elderberries are sweet.
Elizabeth P. on May 27, 2020
love elderberry flowers in drinks. and make jam/syrup as well. collected wild ones. now I can grow my own.
ANITA D on May 26, 2020
We have a Adams
James J on May 24, 2020
I remember my grandmother making Elderberry jam and its very hard to find.
Sal S on May 15, 2020
Debbie D on May 10, 2020
To make Elderberry Juice.
Rosemarie T M on May 8, 2020
cross polination
kathleen j on May 4, 2020
medicinal benefits
Eileen L on May 2, 2021
For syrup
Mary C on May 1, 2021
I want to buy some elderberry trees. But I live in California will these grow ok here? How big can they be shipped
Kim M on Feb 9, 2020
BEST ANSWER: They are closer to a bush. Less than 12'
Is a pollinator considered any second elderberry plant?
Casey C on Feb 28, 2020
BEST ANSWER: If you search elderberry bushes on THIS website, they will have compatible pollinators listed.
How large in feet are these plants when they arrive to plant?
Kelly L on Mar 8, 2020
is elderberry a vine ?
NINON on Jun 11, 2018
BEST ANSWER: No, it is a bush. I planted mine last spring as a small 'stick' and it grew to about 6' tall and about 4' around in one season. Got berries last year as well.
When is the best time transplant elderberries?
elmer l on Feb 6, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Usually it is spring, before they leaf out. Once they do, you really risk damaging or killing the plant. I'd get it done the minute that the ground thaws
Do deer like elderberry bushes?
Joey F on Mar 23, 2019
BEST ANSWER: I live in the city,so that is not a problem, too many houses and no cover. Here is a paragraph from a USDA publication: Elderberry is planted because of its forage and cover
value, productivity, adaptability, and ease of
establishment. It is a useful ground cover for
stabilizing stream banks and eroding sites. It provides
food, cover, perching, and nesting sites for many
species of birds and food and cover for various other
wildlife, and it is important as browse for mule deer
and elk. In the spring the leaves may be strongly
scented and less palatable, but they sweeten and
become more palatable by fall.
I would assume white tail deer would eat them also. I have not seen any in the wild destroyed by deer, but yards are not the same. If you have something they like better, they will eat that first. Better yet if your neighbor has something they like you will be safe.
do they come up all over the place from the roots?
Banny on Apr 6, 2018
BEST ANSWER: Mine has been in the ground for 2-3 years. Perhaps my soil has too much clay but they seem to not be spreading that much. You can always prune the new growth you don't like
I noticed that you don???t provide the scientific names of your elderberry plants. I???m looking for the European variety. Which one is it? And can I pair it with an American variety?
Tracey K on Jan 31, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. The John's Elderberry is Sambucus canadensis, the American black elderberry.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
Do elderberries require full sun?
Kelly H on Jun 3, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I???ve grown several types of elderberry. Most of them got partial sun and did very well. I have two small ones right now that do not get any direct sun, but get lots of light and are planted where they get good drainage on top of a hill. They are doing very well too. I make sure and check their soil moisture frequently the first two years. After that, they are settled in well.
how long before elderberry bares fruite?
alexandra o on Mar 18, 2020
BEST ANSWER: For my plants, the first summer saw fast growth of branches up to about 4 feet. The second summer saw the production of many flower / fruit clusters and growth up to 6 and 7 feet tall.
Will this produce berries the first year?
Missy B on Dec 27, 2019
BEST ANSWER: My elderberries were loaded the first year. Make sure you plant a pollinator. In my case very vigorous growers.
Can you keep elderberry bushes in pots?
Shauna C on May 5, 2020
BEST ANSWER: I've never heard of it, but doesn't mean you can't try. All the Elderberries I've been around grow quite tall in the natural. I guess all you can do is try it.
What type of soil does it like?
Alex V on Apr 11, 2021
BEST ANSWER: They preferer Loamy just like most plants and trees. Loamy Soil is the mixture of clay, sand and silt soil which consists of additional organic matter and is very fertile compared to other types of soil. It is well suited for cultivation as the plant roots get a sufficient amount of water and nutrients for their growth and development.
Do elderberry bushes grow well in rocky ground?
Resi M on Mar 20, 2021
BEST ANSWER: The shrubs thrive in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 10, so you'll have many options. ... Elderberries can grow to 12 feet tall (3.6 m.) and are often vase shaped. The shrubs prefer rich, rocky soil, and, in the wild, grow in valleys, woods and clearings
Is it a good time to plant in Pennsylvania Philadelphia area? Thank you
Lalka on Oct 24, 2020
BEST ANSWER: We appreciate you reaching out to us. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees:
1) when the ground is not frozen.
2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F.
3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to reach back out to us. Have a great day!
How big are your elderberry plants at shipment?
Walt B on Mar 18, 2020
BEST ANSWER: mine were about 8 to 10 inches tall. They grew really fast the first year And even give me a few fruit clusters.they have literally exploded in size and fruit clusters already this year, year two.
how close do other elderberries need to be for pollination?
Robin A on Sep 3, 2019
BEST ANSWER: We recommend these plants be spaced 6-8' apart for optimal growth and health.
Is there an elderberry variety that is better for pies?
Leisa W on Aug 17, 2019
BEST ANSWER: All elderberry varieties are quite simillar in flavor. The different varieties ripen at different times, which appeals to many gardeners.
Are all of these part of the sambucas nigra variety?
Katherine M on Jul 18, 2019
BEST ANSWER: No, they are all sambucas canadensis.
When is best time to plant an elderberry plant?
Robin G on Jun 19, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Thank you for your question. Because weather and soil conditions vary so much from year to year and even within your zone, it's best to think of your planting time as a range of favorable conditions instead of an exact time.

You can plant new plants and trees: 1) when the ground is not frozen, 2) when daytime temperatures are above freezing (32??F) and below 90??F, and 3) when extreme weather (blizzard, hail, torrential rain, etc.) is not in the forecast. Be sure to keep plants watered if you're transplanting in warm and/or dry weather.
Is it poisonous to dogs and cats?
Peggy S on May 2, 2019
BEST ANSWER: Raw elderberries are toxic if not cooked, and can even be harmful to humans. Always cook elderberries!
How is this shipped? Is it bare root? What size can I expect?
Suzanne C on Apr 17, 2018
BEST ANSWER: You have a choice; please see the "Choose an option" dropdown menu above and the options will show you the sizes for each option.
I see the bare root is 8-12" but what is the easy start pot?
Peggy C on Mar 5, 2018
BEST ANSWER: An EZ Start pot is a 4x4x10 pot that creates a dense root system within the pot. It has large holes in the bottom that have allowed the roots to grow out and "air-prune" themselves, forcing the plant's energy back into root development. These trees/plants will establish more quickly and get off to a stronger start.
Has anyone grown this in coastal southcentral Alaska? If so, how are the berries?
Susan W on Oct 17, 2020

Customer Reviews

4.9 / 5.0
22 Reviews
5 Stars
4 Stars
3 Stars
2 Stars
1 Star
Wow! How could it be any better?
My first time dealing with Elderberry plants. I head read that they have shallow roots & must be watered frequently, so was surprised to see the long (about 18") tap root on the bare root Johns Elderberry plant I received from Stark Bros.
After digging a hole about 24" deep and putting some water in it, my wife held the plant in place while I filled in around it with 1:1 hummus & manure:garden soil, tamped it down & watered it thoroughly. Only required watering 1 time after that. I live in zone 6b.
That first season it grew 4 ft tall & produced 5 clusters of dinner plate sized blossom clusters & then berries!
THIS season so far it is now over 6 ft tall with 15-16 canes, each with a cluster of blossoms growing on them, & I am excited about the coming crop.
For 2-3 years now home made Elderberry syrup has done wonders for my frequent upper respiratory infections, & the same for my wife, Pastor & Choir director that I've shared it with. I bought this plant to supplement the berries I buy on line. I thank GOD for the wonderful medicinal plants He created, & Stark Bros. for making these available.
June 16, 2017
over 4 years ago
Planted 2 bushes each of Johns, Adams, and Nova in 2017.
Some berries in 2017, but not enough to fool with. Left them for the bugs and birds. 2018 was another story however. Bushes had grown to between 5 and 8 feet tall and were literally covered with blooms and then berries. Harvested first berries (3.5 pounds) from bushes on 7/15/2018, primarily from the Johns bushes. Started harvesting every 3 to 5 days thereafter. To date (8/16/2018), I have harvested a total of 54 pounds of elderberries from these bushes and they are still producing. Berries were weighed before processing - no stems nor trash included in weighed figures. I have given away 20 pounds of the berries and made jelly from the rest. I originally thought 6 bushes wouldn’t be sufficient to supply our needs, but I quickly realized that was a foolish notion. I figure that with the success that I have had anyone should be able to duplicate these results. Thanks to Stark Brothers for the plants and helpful info on their web pages.
August 16, 2018
A great medinical plant
I am a herbal medicine maker and elderberrs make a wonder syrup combined with cloves and ginger.
March 23, 2018
over 3 years ago
All I can say is Wow, ordered Adams and Johns and had berries the first year. Very prolific grower, will give you a nice hedge within a year. Berry clusters ripen at different times so you need to watch them and harvest as they ripen.
May 21, 2017
over 5 years ago
First year good indication
We planted 3 bushes this last March. Two took right off and reached a height of 6' this summer. The third was a little slower but did well eventually. All had flowers and berries. Looking forward to next year's crop to turn into some tasty wine.
December 14, 2016
Adams & Johns
UNBELIEVABLY large root systems !!!! Very healthy bear root plants ! Bought 6 sets last year and going back for 8 more sets this year. All flourished well in first season. Only drawback .... need to dig bigger holes. Very Happy to oblige.
February 4, 2017
Elderberry bare root shrub
I planted these two elderberry shrubs in a garden area that get sunlight in the p.m. only and they are both doing well. This area is a special habitat for flying pollinators.
May 13, 2018
over 4 years ago
Johns elderberry
Purchased the elderberry last year. It was shipped well and looked healthy. I put a wire fence around it when winter came so the rabbits and deer would not nibble on it. It is June and I have kept the fence around it as the rabbits still want to taste it. It has filled out and grown. I am very pleased with my purchase as it had to have been a very healthy plant root to start with.
June 24, 2019
over 2 years ago
Johns Elderberry
I was very happy with the bare rooted plants I received. They were large plants in very good condition and a really good price.
May 5, 2016
over 7 years ago
Sill waiting
Still waiting on fruit, but bush has multiplied like crazy. Many new shoots come up every summer. Maybe I'll get fruit this year.
May 9, 2016
over 6 years ago