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Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla 'Gerda' PBR AGM

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Shrub

Habit

Bushy

Fragrance

Flower

Toxicity

All parts may cause discomfort if ingested although the berries can be edible if cooked

Resilience

Hardiness

H6 (hardy - very cold winter)

Colour

Flower

Pink in Summer

Foliage

Dark Purple in Autumn, Spring and Summer

Fruit

Dark Black and Dark Purple in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

2.5-4 metres

Ultimate spread

2.5-4 metres

Time to ultimate height

10-20 years


Preferred common name

elder 'Gerda'

Family

Adoxaceae


Sambucus can be herbaceous perennials, deciduous shrubs or small trees, with pinnate leaves and umbels or panicles of small creamy-white flowers followed by red, white or black berries

'Gerda' is a deciduous shrub or small tree, with deep purple foliage from spring to autumn and flat heads of small, pinkish-purple flowers, followed by purple-black berries

Synonym(s)

  • Sambucus nigra 'Black Beauty'

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade

Aspect

  • North-facing, East-facing, South-facing or West-facing
  • Sheltered or Exposed

Cultivation

Easy to grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soils and also thrives on extremely chalky sites

Soil

  • Well-drained or Moist but well-drained
  • Acid, Alkaline or Neutral
  • Chalk, Clay, Sand or Loam

Propagation

Propagate by softwood or hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Coastal, Low Maintenance, Hedging/Screens or Wildlife Gardens


How to care

Pruning

Pruning group 1. Will tolerate hard pruning to restrict the size

Pests

Can get blackfly and glasshouse red spider mite

Diseases

May be subject to verticillium wilt