Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’ BLACK BEAUTY ™

purple-leaf black elder

  • © Richie Steffen / Great Plant Picks

Outstanding Qualities

The best of the purpleleaf elders, BLACK BEAUTY retains its deep burgundy-purple foliage color from spring to fall. This robust shrub can create a dramatic effect in the landscape in just a few years. Once the large, lush leaves emerge in the spring, they are followed in May by lacy, rose-pink flowers. Use BLACK BEAUTY to create an eye-catching backdrop for the perennial border. The leave color is best in full sun, shade will dull the tone.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 10 ft. 0 in. (3.05 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 15 ft. 0 in. (4.57 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 12 ft. 0 in. (3.66 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 to 8

Flower Color: pink

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun

Water Requirements: regular to occasional watering

Seasonal Interest: purple foliage & late spring flowers

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: silver, gold, chartreuse

Great Color Partners: purple, pink, burgundy

Culture Notes
This elderberry grows best in rich well-drained or moist soil, but will adapt to sandy sites or clay and tolerate short periods of standing water. The best and most vigorous growth will occur with regular watering and fertilizing, although it will tolerate more occasional watering during dry weather. Plant it in full sun for the best foliage color. This elderberry will tolerate light to open shade but the purple foliage color will be more muted. A light pruning in winter to remove dead and broken branches and older twiggy stems will keep it looking tidy in the garden. Vigorous growing plants can be cut to the ground every year or two to encourage robust whips of growth that will have the boldest foliage.