December 4, 2020

Elderberry Cuttings Grow New Plants in Less Than 1 Month

On March 1st I read an article online about Elderberry cuttings and how to get them to root in water. This inspired me to run outside to take some cuttings. I poked a few down into the soil in the cold frame and brought a few inside. I was excited to root some new elderberry shrubs and spread them around this spring.

Elderberries are native to New Jersey and can be found on the forest’s edge. They will do well in part shade and full sun and enjoy moist conditions. They will let you know if things have gotten too dry for them in mid summer because the leaves will look wilty when they get thirsty. Give them some water and they perk right up again. Elderberry are super fast to mature. If you start with a plant that’s just a foot or 2 high in spring, it will likely be chest high by the fall. By the season after that you’ll have a 12′ high shrub and you’ll probably be harvesting your first berries that summer. The shrubs are big, fountain shaped and get to be about 10′ – 12′ tall and wide. Give them room. I love growing elderberry – they have my favorite smelling flowers.

The day after I took the cuttings, I added a few willow branches to the jar of water. Willow has a lot of natural rooting hormone and I know that if you steep willow in water, you can make a natural liquid rooting hormone. This may have contributed to the success of this experiment. I don’t have experience starting cuttings this way. I did not add any rooting hormone to the cuttings that I put into the cold frame, but I have kept it watered and closed – only opening it up when it’s raining out… so everything stays nice and humid and warm in there.

I did change the water in the jar every few days, just dumped it out in the sink and filled it back up again with room temperature tap water. I rinsed off the whole bunch of cuttings too…. including the top parts because I don’t have a bag over them to keep the tops damp at all.

Now that the rooted cuttings have been potted, I think they will be particularly fragile for a little while until they get used to the new conditions. I’m going to make sure to keep them watered and comfortable. I’ll likely bring them inside at night for the next week so they don’t get too cold while they are getting used to the pots. Then I’ll start leaving in the greenhouse overnight and eventually I’ll move them outside in a couple of weeks. If they survive, they will probably be developed enough to plant out into the garden by the fall.

This was the original article I read about propagating elderberry from cuttings.