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Elderberry Plant Stages of Growth

Updated: March 27, 2022

Elderberry plants are a popular choice for those looking to add a beautiful and functional plant to their garden. These plants produce delicious berries that are perfect for making jams, jellies, and other tasty treats. The growth stages of an elderberry plant are important to understand in order to properly care for them and ensure a good harvest.

Stage 1: Germination

The first stage of an elderberry plant’s growth is germination. During this stage, the seed begins to sprout and grow roots. It typically takes about 10-14 days for the seed to germinate.

Stage 2: Vegetative Growth

Once the seed has germinated, the plant enters the vegetative growth stage. During this stage, the plant will focus on growing leaves, stems, and roots. This stage can last anywhere from 1-3 years depending on growing conditions.

Stage 3: Flowering

After the vegetative growth stage, the elderberry plant will begin to produce flowers. These flowers are typically white or cream-colored and have a sweet scent. Flowering usually occurs in late spring or early summer.

Stage 4: Fruit Production

The final stage of an elderberry plant’s growth is fruit production. Once the flowers have been pollinated, they will begin to develop into berries. Elderberries typically ripen in late summer or early fall and can be harvested once they are fully ripe.

It is important to note that elderberry plants require proper care throughout all stages of their growth in order to produce healthy and abundant fruit.

How to Care for Elderberry Plants

Here are some tips on how to properly care for your elderberry plants at each stage of their growth:


  • Plant seeds in well-draining soil
  • Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
  • Place in a warm location with plenty of sunlight

Vegetative Growth:

  • Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
  • Water regularly, but do not overwater
  • Prune back any dead or damaged branches


  • Provide support for the plant to prevent branches from breaking under the weight of flowers
  • Water regularly to prevent drought stress
  • Remove any dead or damaged flowers to encourage new growth

Fruit Production:

  • Harvest berries when fully ripe and dark in color
  • Keep plants well-watered during fruit production to prevent drought stress
  • Prune back any dead or damaged branches to promote healthy growth

By following these tips, you can ensure that your elderberry plants grow and produce abundant fruit.


Can elderberry plants be grown in containers?

Yes, elderberry plants can be grown in containers. However, they will require more frequent watering and fertilization than those planted in the ground.

How long does it take for elderberries to ripen?

Elderberries typically ripen in late summer or early fall and can be harvested once they are fully ripe.

Are elderberries easy to grow?

Elderberries are relatively easy to grow as long as they are provided with proper care and growing conditions.

Are elderberries edible?

Yes, elderberries are edible and can be used in a variety of recipes including jams, jellies, pies, and more.

Are elderberry plants prone to pests and diseases?

Yes, elderberry plants can be prone to pests and diseases such as aphids, powdery mildew, and borers. Proper care and maintenance can help prevent these issues.