How to Care for Elderberry


Elderberry bushes grow wild in several regions in the United States. And although they will grow quite happily on their own, elderberry bushes thrive with just a modicum of care. The more care you give them, the tastier their berries will be. Although quite bitter when eaten on their own, the elderberries on your bush can be used to make delicious wines, juices, jellies and jams.

Step 1

Give your elderberry bushes at least 1 inch of water a week. The best time to water is early in the morning or late in the evening when the sun is at its lowest point. When watering your elderberry bushes, direct the stream at the base of the bush and avoid wetting its leaves.

Step 2

Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant. This will help the bush retain moisture and cut down on weed growth.

Step 3

Hand weed any weeds that crop up around the base of the elderberry bush.

Step 4

Prune the elderberry bush. For the first two years of its growth, an elderberry bush should be allowed to grow wild. After that prune the bush in early spring, using a pair of sharpened sterilized pruning shears to remove all of the dead canes from the bush.

Step 5

Wait until your elderberry bush is at least 2 years old before harvesting its fruit in late summer/early fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Organic mulch
  • Pruning shears


  • Gardening Knowhow: Planting Elderberries
  • Oregon State University: Grow Elderberries
  • Veggie Gardening Tips: Enjoying Elderberries
Keywords: care elderberry, water elderberry, prune elderberry

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.