This article covers elderberries in general and some specifics about Adams Johns Nova and York Elderberries. All of these varieties are very similar with ripening time the main difference.
Elderberries in General
Once established elderberries will grow from being trimmed down to two feet up to eight foot in a single season. They have glossy green foliage and have white flower heads that appear in late May or early June. Both the elder-flowers and the ripe elderberries are edible. The flower heads can be used for a tea, wine, or making fritters and pancakes. This variety grows large fruit clusters in the summer that ripens in August. The fruit is high in vitamin C and there are many articles online about the medicinal values of elderberry. The berries can be used for pies, jams, wines, and sauces.
These plants are hardy in zones 4-8 and at maturity will grow to 6-10’ tall x 6-8’ wide. They like well drained soil, full sun, and need a pollinator. Good cross pollinators include Adams, Johns, Nova, and York.
My plants in Pasadena are growing in very sandy soil and they are doing great. I have clay soil out at the farm and none of the elderberries have really taken off yet. This could be because of the soil or a lack of watering at the farm.
We can not ship elderberry to California.
Fruit ripens in August. My Adams elderberry was my second best producing plant. I harvested about 1/3 of my fruit from this plant.
Fruit ripens in late summer. This variety is native to North America.
Fruit ripens about two weeks later than Adams. My Johns elderberry plant has never really produced as well as the Nova and Adams plants have. This could very well be because it gets a little more shade than the others do. I have the elderberries placed about 16 feet apart along a pool fence and the Johns plant is the furthest back under an oak tree.
Fruit ripens in early August. Last year this was my best producing elderberry. Of the three one gallon bags of fruit that I harvested last year, two of them came from this plant.
Fruit ripens in August. I do not have a York yet. I’ll be sure to get one this year.
Buy Adams, Johns, Nova and American Elderberry plants at Great Escape Nursery will be selling.