Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Black Beauty® Elderberry

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Do you want a reliable, easy-care large shrub that handles just about any condition and delivers amazing, deep, dark foliage? Then you need to include Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Black Beauty® Elderberry Bush PP12,305 (Sambucus nigra 'Gerda') in your landscape!

First introduced in Europe and brought to the United States in 2004, Black Beauty® was field-tested and approved as a Proven Winners® selection. You can count on its performance as a stylish structural element in your landscape. You'll fall in love with the unique, exotic hue of the bold foliage.

Black Beauty® Elderberry is an exquisite ornamental shrub, but not many people know about it. Why not turn some heads with these wonderfully chic plants? When you first see this shrub you'll be astonished by its exotic foliage. Long, lance-shaped leaves range from deep-purple to black. Even the young stems are deep, delicious purple.

The stunningly elegant, pale pink flowers contrast beautifully against the dark leaves in early spring. As if that wasn't enough, clusters of pink blossoms delight your senses with a delightful lemon scent! Butterflies and beneficial insects are drawn to the lovely floral scent and sweet nectar!

The blooms give way to glossy black Elderberries in fall if you pair Black Beauty® with a pollination partner like Black Lace®, Instant Karma® or Laced Up® Elderberry, or another Sambucus nigra. Elderberries have been prized for generations for their varied uses. High in antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutritional value, pick them to use in yummy jams, syrups, and wine.

If you don't pick them, then the local birds will certainly appreciate the annual berry production! You can also use Black Beauty® as the only variety if you don't want to mess with berry production. A type of European Elderberry, Black Beauty® homeowners across USA growing zones 4 - 7 will love this fabulous plant.

Planting and Application:

With an easy-breezy, organic shape and fabulous dark foliage, this special plant brings a fresh sensibility to modern landscapes! There's sure to be space somewhere in your yard for this unique, one-of-a-kind ornamental!

A single plant looks remarkable as an accent or focal point. Try one at the corner of your foundation plant to anchor the structure to the landscape. Go big and use these shrubs as your entire foundation hedge! Add a columnar Black Tower™ Elderberry on the corners and the smaller Black Lace® under your windows to not block your view!

Use several across your property line. You'll extend the height and improve the looks of any landscape fence. Creating dramatic hedges, privacy screens, and showy backdrops that just seem to make everything else pop! For a solid hedge, plant them 8 feet apart on center. You'll measure from the center of one to the center of the next.

Have a low spot that stays damp? Black Beauty® Elderberry works beautifully in these areas. Create a Rain Garden to help filter water runoff from your roof or street. They will naturalize if allowed and even slow erosion and stabilize soil on banks.

Small yard? Try growing it into an expressive tree form, exposing the lower trunks, and encouraging just three or five stems! Or, just simply cut it back each year down to the ground. It will regrow quickly into a dramatic statement plant, but stay small for you!

Need a fast-growing shrub? Plant a few of them as a unique grouping that birds and wildlife will adore! You'll get fast shelterbelts and windbreaks, not to mention the dramatic dark foliage that pops against the usual green elsewhere in the neighborhood. 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.

Snip some blooms and dark foliage for amazing cut flower bouquets, or add their showy beauty to your Cottage border. Black Beauty® even retains its rugged native nature and can handle some drier soil conditions in Rock Gardens and sunny landscapes!

  • Lemony-Scented, Soft Pink Blooms in Early Summer Bring Butterflies
  • Fast Growing Bold, Dark Black Foliage
  • Glossy Purple Fall Berries
  • Needs Pollination Partner
  • Use as a Large Shrub or Small Tree
  • Wonderful for Mass Planting, Hedges, Specimens & Dramatic Landscape Color

#ProPlantTips 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! Just remember, you'll get the best color, the most blooms, and the most fruit if you plant it in full sun. Any kind of well-drained soil works for these shrubs, but they do prefer moderate regular moisture throughout the growing season.

Give Elderberries a 3-4 inch deep layer of arborist mulch to keep the root system cool in the heat of the summer. Feed with Dr. Earth Acid Lovers Organic and Natural Premium Fertilizer late in the winter and after fruit sets in the summertime.

Keep it pruned for size, or allow it to grow to its full height and spread. Either way, you'll love the effortless good looks! Elderberry can take hard pruning, just remember to wait until after the flowers fade because Elderberry bloom on old wood. After the first year, cut it back down to 12 inches tall to develop a bushier plant. Every 3 years, you can hard prune to the ground in the spring to maintain its shape.

To enjoy both flowers and fruit (that pruning unfortunately removes), it is recommended you instead renewal prune when dormant, removing 3-5 year-old canes back to the ground.

  • Full Sun or Part Sun (More Sun = More Flowers & Fruit!)
  • Grows in Moist, Wet or Dry Soils
  • Any Well-Drained Soil - Acidic or Alkaline Conditions
  • Prune After Flowering/Blooms On Old Wood
  • Easily Pruned to Any Size
  • Deer Resistant & Cold Hardy

Go big and bold with the Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Black Beauty® Elderberry is a beautiful plant that is also very tough and vigorous. It grows beautifully without much care. You'll love the attention it commands, and the way it lures butterflies to your yard. Order today at and get started enjoying it!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Black Beauty® Elderberry Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-7
Growing Zones 4-7
More Information
Brand Proven Winners ColorChoice
Botanical Name Sambuscus nigra 'Gerda'
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 8 - 12 feet
Mature Spread 8 - 12 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun
Soil Widely Adaptable Well-Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Fast
Flower Color Bright Pink
Foliage Deciduous
Foliage Color Burgundy / Purple
Fall Color Burgundy / Purple
Harvest Time Mid Season
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time After Flowering
Fragrant Yes
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners, Inc -