Updated: October 5, 2022

Elderberry, also known as Sambucus, is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the Adoxaceae family. It is commonly grown for its edible berries, which are rich in antioxidants and have a variety of health benefits. Elderberry plants are relatively easy to grow and can thrive in various climates. If you are planning to grow elderberry plants, one of the questions that might come to mind is how quickly does this plant grow? In this article, we will explore the growth rate of elderberry plants.

Elderberry Growth Rate

Elderberry plants are relatively fast-growing and can reach a height of 6-12 feet or more within three to four years. They can grow up to 2-3 feet per year under ideal conditions, such as full sun exposure and well-draining soil. However, the growth rate of elderberry plants can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Soil quality: Elderberry plants prefer well-draining soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. If the soil is too alkaline or acidic, it can affect the plant’s growth rate.
  • Watering: Elderberry plants require regular watering, especially during the first year of growth. The plant should be watered deeply at least once a week.
  • Fertilizer: Elderberry plants benefit from regular fertilization, especially during their first year of growth. A balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is recommended.
  • Pruning: Proper pruning can encourage the growth of new shoots and increase the plant’s overall growth rate.

Elderberry Plant Growth Stages

Elderberry plants go through several growth stages before they mature and start producing berries. The growth stages include:

  1. Dormancy: During the winter months, elderberry plants go through a period of dormancy where they lose their leaves and stop growing.

  2. Bud Break: In early spring, the plant starts to come out of dormancy, and new buds begin to emerge.

  3. Vegetative Growth: During the spring and summer months, the plant grows rapidly, producing new leaves and stems.

  4. Flowering: Elderberry plants usually start flowering in late spring or early summer, producing clusters of small white or cream-colored flowers.

  5. Berry Development: After the flowers are pollinated, they develop into small green berries that gradually turn purple-black as they mature.

  6. Harvest: Elderberries are usually ready for harvest in late summer or early fall, depending on the climate.


Q. When is the best time to plant elderberry?

A. The best time to plant elderberry is in the early spring when the soil has warmed up and there is no risk of frost.

Q. How much sun does elderberry need?

A. Elderberry plants prefer full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade.

Q. Can elderberry grow in containers?

A. Yes, elderberry can be grown in containers, but it may not reach its full growth potential.

Q. How often should I water my elderberry plant?

A. Elderberry plants should be watered deeply at least once a week, especially during the first year of growth.

Q. Do elderberry plants attract pests?

A. Yes, elderberry plants can attract pests such as aphids, spider mites, and Japanese beetles. Regular monitoring and proper pest management can help prevent infestations.

In conclusion, elderberry plants are relatively fast-growing and can reach maturity within three to four years under ideal conditions. Proper soil preparation, watering, fertilization, and pruning can help promote healthy growth and increase the plant’s overall productivity. With its delicious berries and health benefits, growing elderberry plants can be a rewarding experience for any gardener.