Sambucus ‘Black Lace’ (Elderberry)
My Sambucus 'Black Lace' (Elderberry) is now three years old and has never bloomed. I planted it in a sunny area and water it three times a week (to at lease 3") plus have given it plant food several times during the growing period. It is has tripled in size but never a flower. What else can I do? I was very anxious for the berries to feed the birds. Thank You
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
There are several issues that can cause a plant not to flower. The most likely in your case seem to be excessive fertilizer or the age of the plant, as explained in the following article:
Don't add the plant food any more for a couple years and see if that does the trick. If not, it is probably just that the plant is too young.
This could be a case of metaphorically killing it with kindness. Elderberry, being a native plant, will be fine without supplemental fertilizer. Simply add a 2 inch layer of compost around the base of the plant annually. In dry conditions, water deeply once a week to encourage roots to go down in search of it. Put a straight-sided can like a tuna can near the plant to test how much your typical watering pattern and make sure you are giving it one inch of water. I know it likes moist soil but the top several inches do not need to be constantly moist. If your soil is sandy, water drains through faster. More frequent, deep watering may be necessary. Finally, the shrub needs 6+ hours of direct sunlight for best fruiting.