Love a fruit treat that’s not too sweet? How about some showpiece shrubbery for your yard or garden?
The black tower elderberry is a hybrid elderberry plant with stunning foliage and tasty, semi-sweet fruit that’s perfect for making syrups, jams, pies, and more.
Read on to learn all about this unique elderberry cultivar, including how to grow and enjoy it at home!
Looking to buy a black tower elderberry plant? Check availability.
Characteristics of the Black Tower Elderberry
The black tower elderberry, whose botanical name is Sambucus Nigra ‘Eiffel 1,’ is a deciduous elderberry bush with a unique, colorful appearance.
This tall, narrow shrub grows to about 6-8′ tall and 3-4′ feet wide.
In spring, new growth appears as light green shoots and foot-long, light green leaves. Gradually, the shoots darken to purple-black, and the leaves turn deep purple. The plant blooms large, flat clusters of pink, musky-smelling flowers by summer.
In the fall, the black tower elderberry bears large clusters of round, half-inch-wide berries that ripen from red to glossy black.
Health Benefits of the Black Tower Elderberry
Elderberries are antioxidant-rich superfoods that can reduce the symptoms and duration of colds and flu.
They also have immunity-boosting anthocyanidins and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate sinus infections and are packed with essential minerals and vitamins, including potassium, iron, and vitamin C.
If you want to add elderberry supplements to your diet, check out our post about the Top Five Elderberry Supplements.
How to Use Black Tower Elderberries
Elderberries are perfect for pies and syrups. And the black tower elderberry’s unique flowers and foliage are also useful for landscaping and floral arrangements as well.
Are Elderberries Toxic?
Raw, unripe elderberries are considered toxic because their seeds contain cyanide. But harvesting elderberries when they’re ripe and cooking them renders them safe to eat.
If you have animals that roam your yard or garden, block their access to your black tower elderberry since consuming any part of the plant could make them ill.
What Do Black Tower Elderberries Taste Like?
Black tower elderberry has a flavor that’s similar to, but less sweet than, the more common American Elderberry.
A perfect use for your Black Tower elderberry harvest is to make a pie or pastries with a jammy elderberry filling. Try this simple Elderberry Pie recipe.
Elderberry and Elderflower Syrups
Another great way to enjoy your black tower elderberry’s fruit and flowers is for use in syrups.
Try cooking up an Elderberry Simple Syrup that you can take by the spoonful as an immune support supplement.
Or make this Rhubarb Elderflower Syrup to impress your guests with a posh, garden-fresh Rhubarb Elderflower Bellini.
The black tower elderberry’s striking pink flower clusters make a dramatic addition to a floral arrangement.
And the unique shape of the black tower elderberry plant makes it a versatile landscaping feature. Add some height and drama to your outdoor space, or fill a narrow corner with a pop of color. You can also plant these colorful shrubs side by side to create a privacy hedge.
How to Grow Black Tower Elderberries
Thinking about growing your own Black Tower Elderberries? Here’s how to get started!
Where Do Black Tower Elderberries Grow?
The black tower elderberry has a preference for cool, damp weather but can tolerate a wide range of climates and temperatures.
Keep reading for an overview of the basic steps for growing these unique elderberry shrubs.
The black tower elderberry prefers well-draining, humusy soil with acidity between 5.5 to 6.5 pH. Keeping the soil evenly moist is key.
Mix organic compost into the soil to infuse it with essential nutrients and improve its ability to retain moisture between waterings.
If planting in a container, ensure your pot has drainage holes so the roots won’t wind up in standing water.
Place your black tower elderberry in full sunlight for a thriving plant with vibrant foliage.
This plant will tolerate partial shade placements as well. But with less light, it’ll take in less water and may not grow quite as lush and colorful.
Planting Black Tower Elderberries
Whether you plant from seed or purchase a starter shrub, we have some tips to help you get your new black tower elderberry plant off to a healthy start.
Plant black tower elderberry seeds in the late fall only.
And check out our guide to starting seeds indoors for all the supplies and knowledge you’ll need to set up your seeds for their best chances at germination. Keep in mind that elderberry seeds can be a bit fickle and may take up to two years to germinate if the conditions aren’t perfect.
Transplanting Starter Shrubs
When planting a black tower elderberry bush, be mindful that it will expand to about three or four feet wide as it matures. Provide extra space beyond this as well, so there’s ample room for sufficient air circulation around the plant’s dense foliage.
Common Pests and Diseases
The black tower elderberry isn’t particularly susceptible to pests and diseases. But if you’re in a very hot or humid climate, you might encounter aphids, mealybugs, or scale insects on your elderberry bush.
Aphids and mealybugs can be treated by spraying the entire plant down with water to drown and wash them out. You can also introduce ladybugs to your garden as part of your pest treatment and preventative maintenance.
If you find scale insects on your black tower elderberry leaves, you must prune away the affected areas at a minimum. Or consider removing the entire plant quickly to protect others in your garden from meeting the same fate.
If you need help choosing the correct pruning shears, we have a guide to the Best Pruning Shears for Home Gardeners.
When to Harvest Black Tower Elderberries
Harvest your elderberries when an entire cluster has ripened to their final, shiny red-black color.
Remove the whole cluster at once. If the stem does not snap away from the branch easily, use clean, sharp pruning shears to separate it.
Where to Buy Black Tower Elderberry Shrubs
Are you ready to get your hands dirty and transplant a young starter plant? Check out this black tower elderberry from Nature Hills.
Get Started Growing Black Tower Elderberries
Now that you know more about the black tower elderberry, it’s time to start growing your own!
And visit our Elderberry Bush homepage to learn more about growing and enjoying elderberries in your garden and kitchen.