It, Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’ is more functional than ornamental here, used to provide shade for seating in a prime garden viewing spot. Added: The original receipt was finally located for the purchase of this shrub, from Heronswood, shipped June 14, 2004.
The foliage was claimed to be golden, but it is more greenish to my eyes. But that’s okay, as well.
There are fluffy white flowers in mid-spring. The petals drop like flower shaped sequins onto the seating beneath as the breezes blow. It is not only okay, I love it. Sometimes when I go inside, there are tiny flowers in my hair.
Later the green multitudes of berries will turn very dark, like a rich red wine. Some people make wine from them, but here the birds devour every last bit of luciousness quickly. And that, too, is okay.
Some plant facts about golden elderberry, Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’:
Common Name: American elder
Type: Deciduous shrub
Zone: 3 to 9, some sources said 4 to 11
Height: 5 to 12 feet, about 15 feet here in southeast Tennessee USDA Zone 7a
Spread: 3 to 10 feet
Bloom Time: June to July, May here, sometimes even late April
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet, we don’t have wet and it is often quite dry in summer
Maintenance: Needs pruning
Flowers: Showy Flowers, Fragrant Flowers
Fruit: Showy Fruit, Edible Fruit
Wildlife: Attracts Birds, Attracts Butterflies
Tolerates: Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Uses: Erosion Control, Hedge, Rain Garden, umbrella to shade seating from the sun
Grow in average, medium to wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best golden foliage color in full sun. Tolerates wide range of soils, but prefers moist, humusy soils. Spreads by root suckers to form colonies. (That must be in wet soil, there has been minimal colonization here.) Prune out dead or weakened stems in early spring.
A fast-growing deciduous shrub, Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’ is often seen as a broad, spreading, multistemmed plant, with pinnately compound, 12 to 14-inch-long yellow leaves arranged along the arching branches. But it can be effectively pruned into a nice, small, single or multi-stemmed tree with regular pruning to remove suckers growing from the base of the plant. When in bloom, golden elderberry is literally smothered with 6 to 10-inch-wide clusters of yellowish-white blooms. These are followed by a multitude of small, dark red berries which are quite popular with birds, and can be used in pies, jellies, or fermented to make a wine. Here, we let the birds have the berries, and greatly enjoy watching the birds feasting on them.
This post is part of my dear friend Gail of Clay and Limestone’s Wildflower Wednesday. Be sure to pop over there to see what other wildflowers are showing on the fourth Wednesday of each month.