If you live in the Southeastern United States, you've probably seen an Elderberry Bush, but you might not have known what it was. Elderberry plants grow in moist ditches and creek banks all over Alabama and Georgia but is native to almost every state. It's a beautiful plant with a graceful habit. Elderberry shrubs will grow up to 10 feet tall in one season, even after being cut to the ground.
The large deciduous plant has soft stems with lovely pinnately compound leaves that are bright green.
In summer, flat white flower clusters form which develop into purplish black berries in late summer.
Elderberry is very easy to grow. The plant likes moist soil in full sun, but it is very drought tolerant. It spreads by suckers, so give it plenty of room. To control its size, you can cut it down in late winter, but it will still get very tall.
My favorite setting for Elderberry is beside a creek or a pond, but we don't have one. Our first plant was a gift from the birds, after we built our greenhouse and opened the nursery. I like to think they were showing their appreciation to us for growing native plants for them. Now elderberry shrubs keep popping up in the moist soil all around the greenhouse. You can order one from us at Shady Gardens Nursery .
Elderberry is a great shrub for attracting wildlife to your garden. The large showy flowers attract pollinators, and birds love the delicious berries.
Elderberries make excellent jelly, pies, and even wine.
Recently I learned that Elderberries have medicinal value as well. Do not confuse Elderberry with American Elder or Elder Flower. When ingesting plants or their parts, it is important to know the botanical name and not just the common name. American Black Elderberry is Sambucus nigra or you might see it sold as Elderberry canadensis which is a common sub-species.
Dr. Oz recommends Elderberry Syrup for inflammation. And recent studies show that Elderberry Syrup can greatly reduce the length and severity of colds and flu. One study even revealed that Elderberry Syrup works better than Tamiflu, cutting sick days drastically, and without nasty side effects. Additionally, Elderberry syrup might also help with sinus infections, sciatica, chronic fatigue, cancer, and even aids. Elderberry sounds like a miracle cure to me. For verification of this remedy, check out Web MD.
Natural Elderberry Syrup can be purchased from health food stores, but you can make your own. I got my recipe from Kelly the Kitchen Kop. If you don't have an Elderberry Bush or are reading this when the berries are not in season, you can order Elderberry Syrup from Amazon.
My husband has always said he believes God put a natural cure out there for every ailment we can have. And I think he is right!