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How Deep Does Elderberry Plant Need to Be Planted?

Updated: March 26, 2022

Elderberries are a great addition to any garden or landscape. These flowering plants produce delicious and nutritious berries that can be used for making jam, wine, and other culinary delights. However, before planting an elderberry plant, it is important to know how deep it should be planted. In this article, we will explore the proper planting depth for elderberry plants.

Elderberry Plant Basics

Elderberry plants are deciduous shrubs that can reach up to 10 feet in height. They produce clusters of small white flowers in the spring and summer, followed by dark purple or black berries in the fall. These plants are hardy and can grow in a variety of soil types, although they prefer well-draining soils.

Elderberries are also very low maintenance and require little attention beyond occasional pruning and fertilizing. However, proper planting depth is crucial to ensure a healthy and productive plant.

Planting Depth

The planting depth for an elderberry plant depends on several factors, including the size of the root ball and the soil type. In general, elderberry plants should be planted at a depth that allows the root ball to sit just below the soil surface.

If the soil is heavy or clay-like, plant the elderberry slightly higher than ground level to avoid water pooling around the plant’s base. This will help prevent root rot and other fungal diseases.

On the other hand, if the soil is sandy or loamy, plant the elderberry slightly deeper than ground level to ensure that the root ball remains moist and does not dry out too quickly.

Planting Process

When planting an elderberry plant, there are a few important steps to follow:

  1. Choose a location: Elderberries prefer full sun but will tolerate some shade. Choose a location with well-draining soil and good air circulation.

  2. Prepare the soil: Remove any weeds or grass from the planting area and loosen the soil to a depth of about 12 inches.

  3. Dig a hole: Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and deep enough to allow the root ball to sit just below ground level.

  4. Plant the elderberry: Place the elderberry plant in the hole and backfill with soil, gently tamping it down around the root ball.

  5. Water: Water the plant thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

  6. Mulch: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and suppress weeds.


After planting, water your elderberry plant regularly, especially during dry spells. Elderberries prefer slightly moist soil but do not tolerate standing water. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer in early spring and again in mid-summer.

Prune your elderberry plant each year in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Remove any dead or diseased wood, as well as any crossing branches or suckers.


Can elderberry plants grow in containers?

Yes, elderberry plants can be grown in containers, although they may not produce as many berries as plants grown in the ground.

When is the best time to plant an elderberry plant?

The best time to plant an elderberry plant is in the early spring or fall when temperatures are cooler and there is ample rainfall.

Do elderberry plants need a lot of water?

Elderberry plants prefer slightly moist soil but do not tolerate standing water. Water regularly, especially during dry spells.

How long does it take for elderberry plants to produce fruit?

Elderberry plants typically begin producing fruit 2-3 years after planting.


Proper planting depth is crucial for the health and productivity of elderberry plants. These hardy and low-maintenance plants can be a great addition to any garden or landscape. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your elderberry plant is planted at the correct depth and thrives for years to come.