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PlantFiles: Elderberry, Black Elder, European Elder, Bourtree
Sambucus nigra 'Black Beauty'

Family: Adoxaceae (a-dox-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Sambucus (sam-BYOO-kus) (Info)
Species: nigra (NY-gruh) (Info)
Cultivar: Black Beauty
Additional cultivar information: (PP12305; Black Beauty, Gerda)
Hybridized by Tobutt; Year of Registration or Introduction: 1999

Synonym:Sambucus graveolens
Synonym:Sambucus peruviana

5 vendors have this plant for sale.

29 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
Pale Pink

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From woody stem cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From hardwood cuttings
From hardwood heel cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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6 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive HouseofFlowers On May 12, 2013, HouseofFlowers from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

From some of the posts, it appears that people are mixing this plant up with another similarly named.

Because I could not make up my mind, I have both Black Beauty and Black lace. They are VERY different plants. The black beauty grows much more slowly and seems to grow more horizontally than vertically. I have had it for about 2 years now, and I have pruned it and it probably stands close to 3 feet high. It does get branchy, but does not seem to be growing upward. The flowers are there but not as many as the black lace. Still, quite beautiful.

The black lace is completely different. The first year it wasn't very tall....the second year, it was practically touching the gutters. The branches out to the side will grow just as long as it is tall so I do have to prune it. Far more flowers and berries than its shorter counterpart, very fast grower and the leaves are much darker.

Positive northernswimmer On May 23, 2012, northernswimmer from Washburn, WI wrote:

I have a black lace elderberry that has been in my yard for four years. This spring the growing tips, where the gorgeous pink flowers are, are drooping and dying. Any clue to why this is happening?

Positive Kim_M On May 22, 2011, Kim_M from Hamburg, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have never seen a perennial plant grow this fast. I planted this plant last Fall at about 20 inches. It stands almost 6 feet tall and it's only May. Therefore hasn't been a year.

Positive 240169thstreet On Jun 15, 2010, 240169thstreet from Lafayette, IN wrote:

I have two Black Beauties for three growing seasons. One gets about 6 hours of direct sun and the remainder of the daylight hours partial sun. The other gets about 4 of direct sun and then partial sun. They both have grown very well with the former now about 7' tall and about 8-10' wide. The latter is about 5-6' tall and 6-7' wide. The one that gets the most sun blooms more profusely but the other does have quite a few blossoms. I have one other that is now in its second growing season but it is located further from the house and the deer keep nibbling on it so as a consequence its growth has been limited. No problems whatsoever with pests. I apply a balanced fertilizer twice a season and mulch them.

Positive gatodelsol On May 15, 2010, gatodelsol from Stanwood, WA wrote:

This shrub has grown successfully in my Pacific Northwest garden (in fact, so well I have to hard prune it to keep it from getting too large for its location! I'm keeping it to about 5ft tall by about 4ft wide). I absolutely love this plant! Even before blooming, the deep purple foliage is very striking, but when it blooms, the delicate pale pink blooms are such a gorgeous contrast - they might not last long, but it's quite a show when it blooms! I'm moving soon, and hope to have the same success with this lovely shrub in my new home - I definitely plan to have more!

Positive mdvaden On Jun 7, 2009, mdvaden from Beaverton, OR wrote:

Planted late summer 2008 at 24" tall. It over-wintered great through one of the Portland area's more snowy and cold winters with temps near the teens. Sprouted fine this spring 2009 with over 3' of stem growth before June 1st, and loaded with big flowers the last half of May with more opening into June. Foliage looks great, no pest problems. Planted on the south side of house in full exposure, 2" of mulch. 5' tall now, expecting 10' next year at this rate.

Neutral BlackDogKurt On Sep 6, 2008, BlackDogKurt from Seymour, CT wrote:

This shrub has never grown more than a foot tall for me and instead wants to spread out horizontally despite my attempts to get it to grow upwards. It has also never bloomed for me either.

Neutral peteunia On Mar 20, 2008, peteunia from Clear Spring, MD wrote:

I have had 2 Black Beauties since 2002. They grow very well in my zone 5 climate but they have yet to bloom. I think the first year I had one or two blooms on one and then the other but nothing since. I heard you were supposed to prune them after flowering but if they never flower then what. How do I get them to bloom.


Neutral Chickadee12 On Jan 19, 2008, Chickadee12 from Brookfield, CT (Zone 5b) wrote:

I love this plant to death, but unfortunately so do the slugs! I wish for it to grow big and beautiful, but I can't get the slugs to go away. I hope I can come up with something this year, I would hate to lose this beautiful plant!

Neutral braun06 On Jun 12, 2007, braun06 from Peoria Heights, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have seen great ones in nurseries but have been very unimpressed with it in my own yard. In full sun it still always remained green with spots of purple. I have some Black Lace and have liked them better so I removed my Black Beauty. I wouldn't recommend this plant but only for personal reasons. The flowers are pink but are around for maybe a week. All around its still just an elderberry to me. Black Lace is far more ornamental.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Jose, California
Susanville, California
East Canaan, Connecticut
Seymour, Connecticut
Boise, Idaho
Garden City, Idaho
Hanna City, Illinois
Portland, Maine
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Lansing, Michigan
Lincoln Park, Michigan
Omaha, Nebraska
Ithaca, New York
Nineveh, New York
Elizabeth City, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Burritts Rapids, Ontario
Beaverton, Oregon
Portland, Oregon (2 reports)
West Linn, Oregon
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Lexington, Virginia
Lynchburg, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Seattle, Washington (2 reports)
Stanwood, Washington
Vancouver, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Petersburg, West Virginia
Birnamwood, Wisconsin

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