June 2023 - Blue Elderberry

blue elderberryBlue Elderberry (Sambucus Mexicana) is one of the most important food sources for birds in California, also supporting numerous butterfly and moth species. It is found in many plant communities from the coast to the mountains. This versatile shrub/small tree is fast growing, and in favorable conditions, a one-gallon plant may grow to fifteen feet tall within four years. It may reach 20 to 30 feet tall at maturity and just as wide. Blue elderberry grows in a variety of soils and is shade tolerant. It thrives in well-drained soil with full sun. For a more attractive plant form, do not irrigate after establishment.  In the absence of supplemental irrigation, Blue Elderberry develops gnarled branches and a stout trunk. Blue Elderberry is deciduous, greening up in late winter.  Cream-colored flowers in spring result in bunches of blue-colored berries that birds feast upon in late summer through the fall.   For more information on more plants that thrive in our area, please visit Water Smart Gardening in Santa Cruz County.