Plant Encyclopedia

Black Lace® Elderberry

Sambucus nigra

Learn more

The Landscaper's 

AVN succeeds by helping you & your business succeed.

  • 6 Locations

  • Plant Experts

  • +100 years in the industry

  • +2000 Plants

Black Lace® Elderberry

Discover More Information On Black Lace® Elderberry

The Black Lace® Elderberry, scientifically known as Sambucus nigra, is a strikingly beautiful and versatile shrub that brings a touch of elegance to any garden. Recognized for its unique and intensely purple-black foliage, this plant creates an aesthetic similar to that of a Japanese maple. The finely cut, lacy leaves are a standout feature, setting it apart in the landscape.

Flourishing in hardiness zones 5 through 7, the Black Lace® Elderberry is a hardy and adaptable plant, capable of thriving in a range of challenging conditions. It reaches a mature size of 6 to 8 feet in both height and spread, making it a significant presence in any garden setting. This deciduous shrub is a top seller due to its stunning visual appeal and resilience.

Plant Attributes

The Black Lace® Elderberry, is a distinctive and ornamental shrub that adds a unique charm to any garden. This deciduous plant is categorized as a tall shrub, reaching a garden height of 72 to 96 inches, with a similar spread of 72 to 96 inches. Its most striking feature is its foliage, which exhibits a rare combination of purple and black shades, lending a dramatic effect to the landscape. The foliage color is most vibrant in cooler climates and may lean more towards green in hotter areas.

The plant blooms in early summer, displaying beautiful pink flowers that create an eye-catching contrast with the dark leaves. These flowers not only enhance the shrub's aesthetic appeal but also attract birds, adding a lively element to your garden. In terms of resilience, the Black Lace® Elderberry is known for its deer resistance, making it a practical choice in areas where deer browsing is a concern.

Landscape Use

The Black Lace® Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is a versatile and visually striking plant that offers a range of landscaping uses, making it a valuable addition to various garden designs and settings:

  1. Border Planting: Its dramatic, dark foliage and pink flowers make it an excellent choice for borders, where it can create a vivid contrast against lighter plants or serve as a backdrop to smaller, brightly colored flowers.
  2. Container Gardening: This elderberry variety is well-suited for container gardening, especially in urban settings or on patios. Its distinctive foliage and flowers bring a touch of elegance to container arrangements.
  3. Landscape Focal Point: With its unique appearance, the Black Lace® Elderberry can serve as a striking focal point in landscapes, drawing attention and adding an artistic element to garden designs.
  4. Groupings or Mass Plantings: When planted in groups or masses, this shrub creates a bold and cohesive visual impact, especially effective in larger gardens or public spaces.
  5. Perennial and Shrub Borders: Its adaptable nature makes it suitable for perennial and shrub borders, where it can complement a variety of other plants, adding depth and texture.
  6. Screening: Due to its size and dense foliage, this elderberry can be used for screening purposes, providing privacy and reducing noise in residential gardens.
  7. Wet Soil Areas: This plant performs well in wet soil conditions, making it a good choice for areas near water features or in parts of the garden with poorer drainage.
  8. Wildlife Attraction: The flowers attract pollinators, and if pollinated, the resulting berries can attract birds, enhancing the biodiversity of the garden.
  9. Erosion Control: Its root system can help in stabilizing soil, making it a practical choice for slopes or areas prone to erosion.
  10. Specimen Planting in Thematic Gardens: The Black Lace® Elderberry fits well in various thematic gardens, such as cottage gardens, contemporary landscapes, or rustic settings, thanks to its unique foliage and flowers.

Overall, the Black Lace® Elderberry is not just an aesthetically pleasing choice but also offers practical benefits and versatility in various landscaping applications.

Planting & Care

Planting Instructions:

  1. Timing: Plant in early spring or fall to give the plant enough time to establish its root system before extreme temperatures.
  2. Location: Choose a location with full sun to part sun exposure (4-6 hours of sunlight minimum).
  3. Soil Conditions: Prefers moist, well-drained soil but can tolerate a variety of soil types, including acidic or alkaline soils.
  4. Spacing: Space plants 6 to 8 feet apart to allow for mature growth.
  5. Planting Depth: Plant at the same depth as it was in the container. Ensure the root crown is not buried too deep.
  6. Watering: Water thoroughly after planting. Maintain consistent moisture, especially in the first growing season.

Care Instructions:

  1. Watering: Water regularly, especially during dry spells. The plant can tolerate some drought once established.
  2. Fertilizing: Apply a balanced granular fertilizer in early spring. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the application rate.
  3. Pruning: Prune immediately after flowering to shape the plant or control its size. It can be pruned back to the ground each year if desired, promoting fresh growth.
  4. Mulching: Apply mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.
  5. Pest and Disease Management: Monitor for common pests and diseases. Treat as necessary with appropriate fungicides or insecticides.
  6. Winter Care: In colder zones, provide winter protection with mulch or burlap, especially in the first few winters.
  7. Pollination: For berry production, plant alongside a compatible pollinator like Black Beauty®, Instant Karma®, or Laced Up® elderberry.

Additional Tips:

  • Toxicity Warning: Be aware that parts of the plant can be toxic to pets if ingested.
  • Staking: Young plants may require staking in windy locations.
  • Heat Tolerance: In very hot climates, the foliage may turn more green than black/purple.
  • Check Local Restrictions: Ensure that elderberry is not restricted or invasive in your area before planting.

By following these guidelines, your Black Lace® Elderberry should thrive and become a beautiful and striking feature in your garden or landscape.

Additional Information

Interested in

Black Lace® Elderberry


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Average; requires regular watering but can tolerate some dryness.
  • Botanical Pronunciation: SAM-bew-kuss NY-gruh
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Moderate to Fast
  • Average landscape size: Grows to a height and spread of 6-8 feet.
  • Special features: Border, Container, Landscape, Specimen or Focal Point, Attracts Birds, Resistant to Deer, Produces Berries, Foliage Interest, Fall Interest
  • Dramatic Foliage: Unique Lacy Black Foliage
  • Foliage color: Purple, Black/Purple
  • Blooms: Early Summer
  • Flower color: Pink
  • Flower attributes: Showy Flowers, Contrast with Dark Leaves
  • Garden style: Contemporary, Cottage, Rustic
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for adding a dramatic flair to gardens and landscapes. Works well in groupings, masses, perennial and shrub borders, or as a standalone specimen or screen. Suited for wet soils and can be used as a potted shrub on patios. Perfect for adding visual interest and attracting wildlife.
  • Companion Plants: Compatible with Black Beauty®, Instant Karma®, or Laced Up® elderberry for pollination and berry production.


Interested in a particular plant or have questions?
Please don't hesitate to contact us via this form or email, and we will reply as soon as possible.

Message sent! Thank you.

An error has occurred somewhere and it is not possible to submit the form. Please try again later or contact us via email.