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All About the Nova Elderberry

The Nova Elderberry is a real casanova, frequently attracting birds and wildlife to its handsome bush. This comes as no surprise with its productive fruit-bearing capabilities and tendency to ripen early in the season.

If your wish is to have an abundance of fresh elderberries within reach, add a Nova Elderberry bush to your backyard. The information below will help you confidently grow your casanova plant.

Looking to buy the Nova Elderberry plant? Check availability.

Green grasshopper, elderberry similar to the nova elderberry in the nature

Characteristics of the Nova Elderberry

The Nova Elderberry is easy to grow and grows faster than other elderberry plants. The bush is hardy and productive. It ripens earlier than the York Elderberry, a variety that also produces large quantities of fruit.

The bush grows six to ten feet tall and six to eight feet wide. White flowers bloom and then turn into large, purplish-black fruit that tastes sweet and tart. You should always cook elderberries before eating them.

History of the Nova Elderberry

The Nova Elderberry was discovered in Kentville, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1960. It was chosen for its reliable production at a Canadian germplasm center.

Today, the variety is one of the most popular elderberry varieties and is grown all over the United States, thriving best in USDA Zones 4-8.

Ways to Enjoy the Nova Elderberry

elderberry jam and berries syrup gray table green background

Edible Flowers

You can make pretty bouquets with the Nova Elderberry’s white flowers or use them in cooking. Dip them in batter and fry fritters or brew aromatic elderberry leaf tea.

Leave some flowers on the bush if you want delicious fruit later in the season. If you pick all the flowers, the fruit will not grow. Luckily, the Nova Elderberry produces enough flowers for you to enjoy its flowers and fruit.

Jams and Jellies

Elderberries turn into yummy jams and jellies for spreading on toast or crackers. Check out these fun, delicious elderberry jam and jelly recipes:


Next Thanksgiving, bring an elderberry pie to your gathering. Elderberry pie is a great way to use frozen elderberries, so you don’t have to worry about wasting the overabundance of elderberries that the Nova Elderberry produces.


Winemakers love the Nova Elderberry because of the abundance of fruit it produces. Elderberry wine tastes fantastic, and in typical wine fashion, its flavor improves as it ages.


Elderberry syrup has been used traditionally to keep families healthy. Our ancestors used elderberry syrup as a cold medicine.

Today, elderberry syrup can be mixed with a variety of foods, including on top of pancakes and waffles, mixed with yogurt and oatmeal, made into ice cubes for smoothies and beverages, and drizzled in acai bowls.

Try making your own homemade elderberry syrup.

Health Benefits of the Nova Elderberry

Person holding best elderberry supplements in their hand

Sinus Relief

The fruit and leaves have the potential to help with sinus relief. Elderberry leaf tea and elderberry syrup aid in clearing up the nasal canal. Enjoy elderberries for quick relief if you’re suffering from the flu, a cold, or a sinus infection.

Immune System Booster

Elderberries are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C to boost your immune system. While many boast about using elderberries for cold and flu relief, consuming elderberry gummies or syrup is a good idea before you get sick.

Reduces Inflammation

Elderberries contain a substance called flavonoids. Flavonoids help reduce swelling and fight inflammatory diseases like psoriasis, fibromyalgia, and lupus.

Nerve Pain Reduction

Dried elderberries, elderberry juice, and elderberry syrup are considered anti-convulsants, which help relieve the symptoms of nerve conditions.

Healthy Digestion

Elderberries are loaded with fiber, which is why it acts as a natural laxative. Elderberries also help remedy stomach pain, bloating, and gas by cleansing your colon.

Growing Your own Nova Elderberry

So you want to grow your own Nova Elderberry. We don’t blame you! Before you start, check your soil pH–elderberries prefer soil that is 5.5-6.5.

Plant your bush in an area with plenty of sunlight for the best results. Nova Elderberry bushes are shallow-rooted, so you should plant the same depth as the roots.

If you’re planting one row of elderberries, they should be six to eight feet apart. Multiple shrubs should have ten feet between each row.

Soil and Fertilizing

Soil should stay moist and well-drained. Apply three inches of mulch like compost or wood chips to help maintain moisture.

Fertilizer is not necessary during the first year. Most elderberries rarely need fertilizer, but you’ll need to review the condition of your plant regularly to determine if fertilizer is needed. Low fruit production means you’ll need a slow-release fertilizer.

Young plants typically only need one to two tablespoons of fertilizer in the early spring. Older plants may receive one to two cups but should not exceed one pound per plant.

Remember to test your soil’s pH to predict how much fertilizer you’ll need to maintain your elderberry plant.

Watering and Pruning

Water your elderberry plant when there is less than an inch of rain in a week.

During the first two years, elderberry bushes require minimal pruning and should be allowed to grow. After the second year, pruning should be done once a year in the late winter or early spring.

Remove all dead, broken, and weak stems. Any cane older than three years old should be removed, aiding fruit production.

Elderberries can be pruned all the way to the ground, though many expert gardeners advise avoiding trimming below where the main trunk branches out.


Flowers should be harvested before peak bloom for best quality, but don’t harvest them all if you want fruit. Fruit is usually harvested in early August.

You cannot use mechanical equipment to harvest elderberries because they’re so delicate. You’ll need to harvest them by hand. Avoid wearing light colors or white because elderberries easily mash and will stain your clothes.

Where to Buy Nova Elderberries

Elderberries are hard to transport, so you likely won’t find fresh fruit in stores. Check with local farmers, who may sell them independently.

It’s rare for elderberry supplements to mention the variety they’re made from, but some may mention it in the fine print. You can ask local farmers which variety they use.

Where to Buy Nova Elderberry Bush

Stark Bros sells great quality Nova Elderberry that’ll be perfect for you to grow in your garden!

Wrapping up the Nova Elderberry

You’re set to start growing your tasty, immune-boosting Nova Elderberry bush! You’ll soon be attracting beautiful wildlife to your yard, and your neighbors will jealously admire this casanova too.

If you’re looking for more information on this super fruit, check out our Elderberries page for tips, tricks, and information about other varieties.