I have a thriving elderberry bush I'd like to propagate. Can I start layering, as in bury a shoot of the bush, in late summer/fall and expect to have an independent rooted plant which can be separated and transplanted in the following spring or fall? If so, are there any additional considerations for layering over winter that I should have in mind to boost chances of success?

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    In my garden elderberries grow like weeds, from seed. I pull up probably 20 or 30 per year! Just look around and see if you have some new plants already. There is no point layering them IMO. Just take softwood cuttings in spring and you can easily get 50 new plants from one parent, if you really want that many. – alephzero Sep 1 '18 at 23:50
  • @alephzero sounds like an answer to me! – cr0 Sep 2 '18 at 12:57

Do starts of your Elderberry in POTS with potting soil, now. Use artificial lighting which you should be looking into anyway for all your gardening. The only way to grow anything during the winter! Elderberry is one of my top fav small trees for jam and the wildlife...the birds! Look up the purple cultivars...GORGEOUS flowers, bees, butterflies are so very attracted and take pictures of these flowers! Breath taking flowers.

These trees need thinning every year and they will be beautiful. The berry production is phenomenal; elderberry wine, very happy birds...in fact, you will have to be on top of these berries, profuse bunches to beat the birds' consumption. Not a berry made it to the ground. Have you seen the bunches of berries? You don't have to go pick berries, just cut off a heavily laden branch of massive berries to use for your own use. Otherwise the animals will clean them up for you!

Sambucus Black Lace


Yes, you can do layering now,but it likely won't have rooted sufficiently to be removed from the parent plant in spring, more likely by mid to late summer. Just peg down a few shoots into the soil, assuming you have any low enough, water them in and leave them to get on with it.You can peg them down into pots filled with potting soil, but they're more difficult to look after because they will need regular watering before winter arrives and after it passes, and if you have very cold winters, there's a risk the soil in the pots might freeze, which will kill any baby roots that might have started forming.

  • Thanks for confirming. The reason I ask is because I have low shoots that are almost asking to be layered, I just need to bury them in the soil a bit and cap that with a rock to keep them there over winter. I can wait until later in the following summer or even the fall after this one before transplanting, I just wondered if I could get started with it now so they're even better established and ready for transplanting. – cr0 Sep 2 '18 at 15:52
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    It's always worth trying if you have shoots low down... and you could take cuttings too from higher up – Bamboo Sep 2 '18 at 17:01

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