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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.


Bloom Color White
Fruit Color Purple
Fruit Size Medium - Large
Ripens/Harvest Mid August
Shade/Sun 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.

Our Promise of Satisfaction

1 Year Warranty

Every order comes with our promise of satisfaction. If you aren't completely satisfied with your order, let us know within one year for a free one-time replacement or refund.

Questions & Answers

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Browse 22 questions Browse 22 questions and 99 answers
Why did you choose this?
Stark Bro's Store
more elderberry variety for myself
Joel M on May 30, 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
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
Elderberry's are delicious and healthful.
Heather K on Apr 8, 2020
I’m new to this plant and it was the only one available. But the description was within my needs.
Lisa D on Apr 8, 2020
To make elderberry jam and syrup
Marcia M on Apr 7, 2020
all that was left
David A on Apr 6, 2020
Food and medicinal purposes
Kay C on Apr 6, 2020
For future health benifits
Kathleen P on Apr 6, 2020
Nova and Johns are the only 2 available, so I got both for cross pollination.
G L on Apr 5, 2020
previous customer
Timothy O on Apr 3, 2020
I want an elderberry bush for pies and syrups
Dianah B on Apr 1, 2020
David R on Mar 30, 2020
Zone compatibility
Brenda H on Mar 26, 2020
Because I live in Florida zone 8b and this variety is hardy to zone 9
Lindan on Mar 25, 2020
Edward K on Mar 23, 2020
Wild ones here killed by state sprayers
Margaret W on Mar 22, 2020
With the COVID scare, these are antioxidant berries and recommended for health
Sheri C on Mar 22, 2020
I wanted a pendulous variety of elderberry as less bird predation.
Carol M on Mar 22, 2020
To partner with the Adams I got last fall
Greg S on Mar 19, 2020
Expected success in my climate, living in AZ has some unique challenges with heat in the summer.
Christi C on Mar 18, 2020
It looks to be a good pollinator for the Adams and is good for full sun and my zone.
Rachael M on Mar 18, 2020
Large berries and to add to others I have.
Pat S on Mar 16, 2020
did my research
Lester H on Mar 14, 2020
Read reviews online.
Dionne Z on Mar 14, 2020
It’s hard to find the juice, and I thought I could grow my own.
Teresa L on Mar 10, 2020
Always wanted to try elderberries.
Melanie F on Mar 9, 2020
Great deal, on sale ??
Mary H on Feb 29, 2020
Love elderberries
KAREN H on Feb 27, 2020
I have one elderberry plant already in my garden, but need another to have fruit.
Sandy G on Feb 23, 2020
Needed a pollinator for the other Elderberry bush.
Chris C on Feb 23, 2020
Seems like a good choice for an elderberry
Connie S on Feb 21, 2020
I’m a beginner vintner and several articles I’ve read said this berry makes great wine and is added to other wines to enhance their flavor.
Danny on Feb 13, 2020
Herbs used for Lyme and Corona Virus
Christina C on Jan 27, 2020
Why Not, We all need Elderberry
Mark C on Jan 25, 2020
It is native to North America. I believe I will have good results growing this variety.
glenna d on Jan 9, 2020
I chose this because I want to make Elderberry jam and as a food source (pollen & nectar) for my bees. I also needed a second type of Elderberry for pollination.
Karen E on Jan 8, 2020
I like elderberry and this one is familiar to me.
Carmen W on Jan 4, 2020
For the large berries to make syrup
Beth L on Dec 24, 2019
Need to pollinate another variety
Sharon C on Dec 15, 2019
I chose this to go along with The York Elderberry plant.
Karen D on Aug 11, 2019
Brother suggested to help with wet conditions in yard.
Ronald S on May 20, 2019
This bush has great health benefits, berries make delicious medicinal jam for family and for gifting, and I have perfect growing location - lower side of a sandy hill as it adjoins a swampy area on the edge of woods. Wild elderberry bushes grow on sides of ditches around Hemlock Michigan so I’m hoping for success at growing 3 bushes on my property (Johns, Nova, and York). Plan to dig holes, put composted cow manure in bottom, fill with dirt/humus, top with wood chips. Can’t wait for berries!
Catherine A on May 17, 2019
I use Elderberry for healing syrup. I have looked locally for weeks to find a bush. I was unable to find one as they are very popular in this area. Soooo I searched the internet and this company had the best reviews.
Carmen M on May 11, 2019
I'm interested in berry plants that are native and will attract birds
Karen D on Jul 5, 2018
I wanted a pollinator friend for my Adam Elderberry plant. My mom told me elderberries are sweet.
Elizabeth P. on May 27, 2020
We have a Adams
James J on May 24, 2020
Is a pollinator considered any second elderberry plant?
Casey C on Feb 28, 2020
BEST ANSWER: Yes you need 2 elderberry plants for pollination, they don’t need to be the same variety.
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
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.
How large in feet are these plants when they arrive to plant?
Kelly L on Mar 8, 2020
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
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 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.
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.
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!
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 (32ºF) and below 90ºF, 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.

Customer Reviews

4.9 / 5.0
21 Reviews
5 Stars
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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
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 4 years ago
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 2 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
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 6 years ago
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 3 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
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