Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’)

Black Lace Elderberry

  • Really Easy Care and Fast Growing
  • Lacy Foliage of Dark Leaves Emerge in Early Spring
  • Lemon Scented, Soft Pink Blooms in Early Summer Bring Butterflies
  • Glossy Purple Berries Make Tasty Jam or Wine
  • Wonderful for Mass Planting
  • Ornamental Contrast to Evergreen Trees and Shrubs
  • Cold Hardy
  • Grows in Full Sun or Partial Shade
  • Can Be Tightly Pruned and Kept in Containers
  • Foliage Looks Great in Cut Flower Arrangements

The exciting Black Lace® Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’ PP15,575) takes the traditional notion of a rangy old, plain Jane Elderberry and throws it out the window. With dark purple-red, deeply dissected foliage and a fragrant light pink bloom, this glamorous variety rewrites the way we can use the Elderberry in the landscape!

Developed in England in the late 1980’s, this is commonly known as the European Elderberry. It’s noted for stylish, dark purple-red, narrow leaves and puffy, lemon scented, pink blooms in the spring.

This dramatic shrub looks stunning with its almost-black foliage. The elegant leaves are almost as ornate as real black lace.

Young stems are purple, and gradually become a grey-brown as they age. The light pink flowers are exquisitely visible, floating on top of the dark foliage of the Black Lace Elderberry.

The whole plant is sophisticated, including dark fall berries that occur if you plant a pollination partner.

Use Black Lace® as a high-impact accent plant or plant it as an informal hedgerow. The Black Lace Elderberry is the perfect plant for the back of a mixed perennial garden. Or, keep it in a container on your patio.

Add excitement to your yard by using the Black Lace Elderberry as a hedge or foundation plant. This unique beauty even makes an ideal specimen plant or tree.

When this amazing plant first came onto the scene, it won “Best Plant of the Year,” and its reputation hasn’t wavered. Planting some Black Lace Elderberry is a no-brainer if you want beauty, berries, and excitement in your yard!

How to Use Black Lace® Elderberry in the Landscape

You could consider this plant as a living sculpture. Black Lace Elderberry is not a perfect, rounded, uniform little ball like Green Gem Boxwood. Instead, the overall look of this stylish upright shrub is free-form, a bit flowy and wild.

You can place a single plant where it will have the space it needs to stretch out and become the magnificent specimen it wants to be. Or, keep it pruned into a tall, narrow waterfall of fascinating purple-black foliage.

Use several plants in a curving row to effortlessly create a marvelously organic flowering hedge around your patio. It provides an airy sense of privacy and elevates the look of your space.

For a hedge, plant them 4 – 5 feet apart on center. You’ll measure from the center of one to the center of the next. If you want to grow an individual plant, give it 7 – 8 feet of wiggle room.

It would make a unique and memorable anchor plant at the corner of your foundation planting. You’ll love the way it resembles Japanese Maple, but adds beautiful, bright berries in fall. You’ll also appreciate how low maintenance it is.

Keep it pruned in a large pot on the patio. It will definitely take on the Thriller role and bring a lot of excitement to your balcony, porch or patio. Black Lace® would look great in large, unglazed terra cotta, or plain concrete containers. Make it pop it against brightly glazed pots of any color from gray, red, dark blue, bright yellow, deep pink, and so on. You name it!

Place one on either side of a wide gate to create a wonderful sense of anticipation to what’s beyond. The lush, ferny dark foliage beckons and the fresh lemony scent of the wide clusters of tiny, precious, fragrant pink flowers enchant you and your guests.

Use several across your property line. You’ll extend the height and improve the looks of any landscape fence.

They’ll behave as a perfectly chic backdrop to so many other plants, (including those little Green Gem Boxwood balls)! With the outstanding, wispy texture of the deep leaves, they’ll partner beautifully with flowing Ornamental Grasses, spiky Yucca, stolid evergreens or rounded Rose bushes.

Black Lace® Elderberry plant thrives in wet or moderately wet soil. They can be used in Rain Gardens to filter water runoff from roofs and streets.

You can see where all this is going, right? These fabulous plants are versatile!

Tips for Care

Plant it in just about any soil in either full sun or partial shade and give it regular water. Then, just watch it grow!

This forgiving Elderberry is complimented by hard pruning. After the first year, cut it back down to 12 inches tall to encourage a bushier plant. Every 3 years, hard prune in the spring to maintain it’s shape and remove unwanted growth.

Tip prune it each year to keep it shorter or remove the outside stems all the way to the ground to keep it in a narrow, columnar shape.

Dark purple berries ripen in the fall and can be used like its American counterpart, the Sambucus canadensis for jams and wine. The birds and wildlife enjoy these juicy dark little berries, but don’t let them eat all of them. Cook them with sweetener to make fabulous wine and tasty preserves.

For the best fruiting, plan to pair it with a York Elderberry, Black Beauty® or Laced Up® Elderberry as a pollination partner. Use a single plant, or several Black Lace® together if you don’t want to grow berries.

The plant requires a thick layer of mulch for consistent surface moisture and to keep the root system cool in the heat of the summer. Apply 3 to 4 inches of an acidic mulch out 4 feet from the center of the plant. Feed with Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Premium Fertilizer late in the winter and after fruit sets in the summertime.

This beautiful plant attracts butterflies and birds and jealous neighbors. Don’t be surprised to get lots of curious questions from visitors to your garden.

Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’) Details

Common name Black Lace Elderberry
Botanical name Sambucus nigra 'Eva'
Hardiness zone 4-7
Growth rate Fast
Height 6 - 8 ft.
Width 6 - 8 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Widely Adaptable
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Flower color Pink
Leaf color Deciduous