Elderberry plants provide attractive green foliage, tiny, delicate blossoms and edible berries. Use the berries for jams, jellies or red wine. Growing elderberry plants is not difficult, provided the soil is rich in nutrients and well-drained, and pruning and watering is performed according to this plant's specific needs.
Test the soil around the elderberry plants. Amend the soil, if necessary, to reach a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Pull weeds from around new plants, but be careful not to disturb the roots. Apply a 4-inch deep layer of mulch such as wood chips or peat to help prevent weeds.
Keep the soil moist. Water at soil level when possible. Watering the soil directly with a soaker hose helps to prevent fungal diseases, such as powdery mildew.
Feed each elderberry plant with a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer. Follow the label instructions for dosage. Apply 1/8 lb. of ammonium nitrate for each year of age of the plant as an alternate fertilizing option.
Prune dead or weak-looking canes yearly from plants that are 3 to 4 years old, in late winter. Leave an equal amount of first-, second-, and third-year canes when pruning.