The elderberry (Sambucus) is a family of flowering shrubs with red to black berries, depending on the variety. This vigorous shrub grows in a range of soil conditions, soil pH levels and nutrient levels. For best growth, plant elderberries in loose, well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade. According to the University of Minnesota, elderberries grown in shaded conditions experience stunted growth and reduced berry production. Though some elderberries produce edible fruits, many species are toxic.
Look for a plant that has new green growth on it. Select a young elderberry that is between 1 and 3 feet tall. Larger plants are more difficult to transplant.
Look for a straight, healthy shrub with a single stem coming out of the nursery pot. Choose a plant that has healthy, green growth on it. Depending on the season, the plant will be in flower or fruiting. Look for undamaged flowers and plump healthy fruit.
Select a young elderberry in the spring and transplant it into the garden. Early spring planting exerts the least stress on a young plant, but this hardy shrub can be successfully transplanted any time of year when the ground is workable.
Dig a hole that is slightly larger and as deep as the nursery pot. Slide the young elder out of the nursery pot and place it in the prepared hole. Fill in the soil and water the area to settle the roots in the ground.