Elderberry, Blue (Sambucus caerulea) - 25 Seeds

Southern Seed Exchange

$2.95 $5.90

Blue Elderberry (Sambucus caerulea) - 50 Seeds

•American grown seeds
•USDA Zones: 4-10

Our favorite among the elderberry plants, sambucus cerulea is a large, deciduous shrub, which can grow to be 30 ft in height and 20 ft in width. It is distinguishable from other elderberries by the glaucous powder coating on its bluish-black berries. Blue Elderberry can adapt and thrive in many different environments. It is fast-growing, but is easily pruned to keep small or in shape. It is a vigorous grower with shallow roots and can perform well as a deciduous edible hedge or windscreen. Once established, it is very low-maintenance for its lifetime, making it a great plant for the lazy gardener - and if you don’t harvest its fruit, the wildlife surely will! Native Americans used virtually every part of this special tree for either food, medicine, or materials to make tools.

Culinary Properties:
Elderberries are considered minor fruits, in comparison to blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Although raw blue and purple elderberries are bitter and unpleasant tasting if eaten raw, and contain alkaloids that may cause nausea, they can be cooked or processed to make jams, jellies, wine, pies, flavored vinegars and teas. Uses for elderberry syrup include as a homemade soda base, a mixer for cocktails, an immune system booster, a base for elderberry ice cream, as a garnish for other ice creams, or as a glaze for poultry. Elderberry syrup is also great in a classic Cumberland sauce.

Medicinal Properties:
Elderberries are clinically proven to boost your immune system and are extremely useful for fighting the flu. It contains compounds that keep the flu virus from attaching to the cell, so it can shorten the duration of your illness and possibly lesson the severity.

Planting Instructions:
OUTDOORS: By far the easiest method is to direct sow outdoors in the fall and let Mother Nature do it's thing over the winter to break the dormancy. Sow at 1/4" depth, 10 feet apart, and 3-4 seeds per plant. Keep moist, but not wet.

INDOORS: Starting inside, elderberry is a long term, multiple stage process that needs BOTH scarification (soaking) and stratification (warm/cold treatment) to break the dormancy. Basically, we're trying to replicate what occurs naturally in nature. It's a long process, but one that we find is extremely rewarding. Elderberry is finicky and it’s such a gratifying feeling when you first see seedlings pop up. This paper is an excellent source to compare techniques and germination rates...


Germination rates vary wildly depending on technique from 5% with no seed prep to this technique which achieves roughly a 73% germination rate which is quite high for Elderberry. We highly recommend it.

The fastest method is to soak the seeds in sulfuric acid for 10 mins and then thoroughly rinse. The seeds are then ready for Stage 2. The slower, but safer and easier method is to soak the seeds in HOT (175F) water for 10 minutes, allow to cool and continue to soak at room temperature for 24 hours.

After the soaking (scarification), the seeds will need a warm period. Place the seeds into a plastic bag with moist peat moss and place it into a warmer area of roughly 72-75° for 60 days occasionally checking to ensure the moss remains damp.

After the warm stratification, we will move to a cold period to break the dormancy. Place the damp peat moss seed bag into the refrigerator for 60 days occasionally checking to make sure moss remains damp. Here’s a link to a video demonstrating the cold stratification technique… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2XVXBqSWaI

After that process (I know it's long), sow seeds at 3-4 seeds per pot at 1/4" depth with pH 5.2 to 5.14 mix and put pots in a warm, sunny area. Water regularly to ensure the soil is moist, but not wet. Allow 45 days to germinate.

The seedlings can be transplanted when they are a few inches tall.

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*All information is provided for educational purposes only.

Collections: Fruits