So Its winter where I am at and I have been wondering a lot about starting bonsai trees from cuttings, that being said there are several red elder trees in the woods near my house and I was wondering if they would root well and if they would make a decent bonsai

I am also considering crampbark, or highbrush cranberry for the same purpose

1 Answer 1


I am not a bonsai expert, but I do grow elderberry and do not believe they'd be good for bonsai. First, they are incredibly fast growing. I cut mine to the ground in late winter, and within 2 months of waking up in the spring they are 6' tall. Next, their branches are pithy, not solid, so they really don't prune nicely. And finally, they sucker like mad when you do try to prune them.

I'd go with something else!

  • 2
    I agree. Wide, cylindrical hollow stems are far from ideal, and you are also likely to have dieback from the cut ends.
    – J. Musser
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 19:11
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    The branches are also quite brittle once they mature, and tend to crack easily when you do try to prune them.
    – michelle
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 20:05
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    A perfect answer. Agreed. @Bamboo, what do you think about the other two species?
    – Brenn
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:09
  • Crampbark and highbush cranberry are the same thing, but sometimes people only recognize one of the two names, sorry for the confusion Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:40

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