Plant of the week!

I’d like to think that both of my grandmothers, gardeners that they were, would have appreciated these new varieties of Sambucus nigra. But there’s no denying that these two cultivars were unlike anything they would have enountered in a 1960’s garden center.

Both Instant Karma® and Laced Up® Sambucus have the durability and hardiness that you expect from an elderberry, and will produce fruit if planted near another cultivar. But they look nothing like other varieties.

Sambucus nigra is hardy to USDA Zone 4, and will grow in full sun or partial shade. It has good deer resistance in most areas, and will do well in exposed sites that can stress other foliage favorites like Japanese maples.

Laced Up® (left) is a fastigiate form of Black Lace® Sambucus. Got a situation that calls for that dark, finely textured foliage but can’t accomodate a 10′ plant? Here’s your answer. Laced Up® grows 6-8′ tall but only 3-5′ wide. Note that Laced Up® can be somewhat irregular in its habit. It’s best to embrace the weirdness: don’t put this plant in a formal garden.

Instant Karma® (right) has showy variegated foliage and white flowers. The variegation starts out gold in the spring and turns white later in the season. Unlike some other variegated varieties, Instant Karma is quite stable and has a nice, full habit. It’s a great way to add some color to a challenging site. It will grow 6-8′ tall and wide.

But what will the neighbors think?

They will probably think you’re pretty cool for planting these statement plants.

And if they don’t, you won’t have to look at them. Both of these plants get tall enough to block you from any neighborly judgement.  If you really need some privacy you might go with the original Black Lace Sambucus, which can get 6-10′ tall and wide.

Looking for more ideas to screen your backyard from nosy neighbors? Check out our new Top Ten Shrubs for Privacy video, and feel free to share it with your customers.

As for judgy neighbors, don’t worry about it. They certainly can’t think ill of you because of your plant choices with these varieties. But they may be a little salty about how long your grass is. Better plant some more shrubs!

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