Plant of the Week: Strait-Laced™ elderberry


Fastigiate Black Lace™ elderberry
It's Halloween so it seems like a good time to highlight a plant with some Nightmare Before Christmas appeal. I could have gone with the obvious, like Ghost® weigela, but instead I'd like to present a plant that Morticia Addams would covet: Strait-Laced™ Sambucus.

Imagine Black Lace™ Sambucus but narrow and columnar. Strait-Laced™ elderberry has the same deeply cut, dark purple foliage and pink flowers as Black Lace™, but grows upright with an occasional twist to one side or the other. If you want a sedate, traditional silhouette, this is not the plant for you. But if you or a customer wants something really different from everything else in the neighborhood, Strait-Laced is your plant.

Strait-Laced™ Sambucus nigra will grow 6-8' tall and 2-4' wide. It doesn't need pruning in production; its natural inclination is to grow vertically without much (any) branching. You can prune it as a young plant to get a couple of branches on it - they, too, will grow straight up. 

It will grow in full sun or partial shade, with more intense color in full sun. It is hardy to USDA Zone 4. Although not selected for its fruit production, it will produce black berries if planted near Black Lace™ Sambucus.

Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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