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Elder

Sambucus nigra 'Madonna'

Elder 'Madonna'

This attractive, yellow & green variegated shrub often shows tints of pink and orange and is quite fast growing. Elder' is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word 'Aeld', meaning fire, probably developed because the center of elder stems was used as tinder to start fire, while the hollow stems of young branches were used as bellows to blow air into a fire. It's easy propagation and resistance to pests explains the popularity of Elders with gardeners.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Flowers can be collected in Spring, best collected early in the day before the flowers buds open fully. Berries can be collected in Autumn,

Propagation

Cuttings
Take semi-ripe cuttings in the summer or early autumn. The cutting should have a woody base but soft top growth. Cut just below a leaf node and aim for a cutting of about 10cm long. Remove the lower leaves and leave only about 4 leaves on the cutting. If these are large leaves cut them in half so that the cutting doesn't lose too much water. Dip the cutting in rooting compost and push gently into a pot of cuttings compost of planting compost mixed 50:50 with sand or perlite. Cover the pots with a plastic bag and place in a sheltered, sunny position. Keep the compost moist. Once they show signs of growth you can remove the plastic bag and keep the cuttings out of frost. They should be ready for planting out the following spring.
Notes
When planting out select the location with care as Elders omit a long lasting hormone preventing any others from growing in the same spot.

Special features

Geography

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Alkaline, Neutral, Acid
Frost hardiness
Hardy

Uses

Notes
This low maintenance shrub can be grown as a specimen in smaller gardens but can also be grown as a screen/hedge in larger and wildlife friendly gardens.

Personality

Family
Adoxaceae
Flower colour
White, Cream
Scent
Strong

Problems

Can be susceptible to verticillium wilt.

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