Elder Hedging – Sambucus Nigra


Sambucus nigra, widely known as the Elder or Elderberry, is a fast-growing, deciduous tree native to the UK. Renowned for its medicinal and culinary uses, the Elder tree presents an attractive option for hedging due to its rapid growth, wildlife attraction, and beautiful foliage and flowers.

Elder Hedging – Sambucus nigra

Sambucus nigra, widely known as the Elder or Elderberry, is a fast-growing, deciduous tree native to the UK. Renowned for its medicinal and culinary uses, the Elder tree presents an attractive option for hedging due to its rapid growth, wildlife attraction, and beautiful foliage and flowers.

Description and Characteristics

The Elder is recognized for its compound leaves, large clusters of fragrant white or cream flowers, and small, glossy, purple-black berries. Its lush foliage, summer blossoms, and autumn fruit create a striking visual interest in any garden, setting it apart from typical English hedging plants.

As a hedging plant, Elder generally grows to 3-4 metres (10-13 feet) in height if regularly pruned. When left to grow as a tree, it can reach up to 10-15 metres (30-50 feet). Its growth rate is impressive, typically averaging 60-90cm (24-36 inches) per year. The lifespan of an Elder tree, however, is relatively short for a tree, often not exceeding 60 years.

Flowering, Berries, and Reproduction

The Elder tree produces an abundance of sweet-scented, creamy-white flowers in large, flat clusters in early summer. These flowers are hermaphroditic, containing both male and female reproductive structures. They’re primarily insect-pollinated, attracting a wide variety of pollinators.

Following pollination, these flowers give way to small, dark purple berries by late summer. These berries each contain 3-5 seeds and are mainly dispersed by birds, which eat them and subsequently excrete the seeds.

Benefits to Wildlife

The Elder tree is beneficial to a wide range of wildlife. Its flowers attract bees, hoverflies, and other pollinators, while its berries provide a valuable food source for birds and small mammals in late summer and autumn. Furthermore, the tree’s hollow stems are used by various insects for shelter.

Ideal for British Gardens

Elder hedging can be a striking addition to any British garden. Its rapid growth rate makes it an excellent choice for creating a mature hedge quickly. The tree’s showy flowers and berries add seasonal interest, and its leaves can create a dense screen, providing privacy and shelter from the wind.

The Elder is also a fabulous addition to a wildlife garden, attracting a host of pollinators and providing food for birds and mammals. Plus, its flowers and berries can be harvested to make elderflower cordials, wines, or elderberry jams and jellies, giving this plant a delightful culinary use.

Distribution in the UK

The Elder is a widespread species across the UK and can be found growing in woods, hedgerows, scrub, and wasteland. It thrives on nitrogen-rich, well-drained soils and can often be found near farms and gardens.

In summary, Elder hedging is not only a practical choice for quick, dense hedging but also brings a range of wildlife benefits and seasonal interest to a garden. Whether you desire a wildlife-friendly garden, a quick privacy screen, or resources for homemade concoctions, the Elder tree is an excellent choice.


Full Standard, Boxhead, Feathered, Multi Stem, Pleached, Half Standard Pleached, Umbrella, Half Standard, Espalier, Mini Standard, Ball, Cone, Spiral, Cube, Cloud Form, Cube Spiral, Cube Multiball, Cube Ball Cone, Pom-pom, Lollipop, Archway, Twisted Stem, Triple Lollipop, Multiball 2, Multiball 3, Dome, Cylinder, Pyramid, Cylindrical Dome, Twisted Stem, Unique, Bonsai, Instant Hedge, Instant Screen, Hedging Plants, Young Tree, Regular Tree

Root Type

Pot Grown, Rootball, Bare Root


15-30cm, 30-50cm, 50-70cm, 70-90cm, 90-110cm, 110-130cm, 130-150cm, 150-170cm, 170-200cm, 200-230cm, 230-250cm, 250-270cm, 270-300cm, 300-350cm, 350-400cm, 400-450cm, 450-500cm, 500-600cm, 600-700cm, 700-800cm, 10-20cm, 20-30cm, 30-40cm, 40-50cm, 50-60cm, 60-70cm, 70-80cm, 80-90cm, 90-100cm, 100-110cm, 110-120cm, 120-130cm, 130-140cm, 140-150cm

Stem Girth

4-6cm, 6-8cm, 8-10cm, 10-12cm, 12-14cm, 14-16cm, 16-18cm, 18-20cm, 20-22cm, 22-24cm, 24-26cm, 26-28cm, 28-30cm, 30-35cm, 35-40cm, 40-45cm, 45-50cm, 50-60cm, 60-70cm, N/A, 20-25cm, 25-30cm

Foliage Type




Water Requirement

Moderate Watering

Growth Height

Medium Growing

Growth Speed

Moderate Growth

Costal Growing










Hard Wood Cutbacks?





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Box/Parcel – Used for plants sized 0-70cm, costs £12. Order £100 worth of plants of that size to qualify for free delivery! Parcel deliveries are always sent for next day delivery unless otherwise specified.

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In all cases you can request a private van delivery, where your plants are delivered by us. Upon your request we can re-evaluate your delivery fee and let you know of the delivery time.

Please note, for pallet and box deliveries we use third party companies to deliver the goods. Not often, but occasionally some delays may happen due to unforeseen circumstances, which are out of our control. For this reason, we ask you to never book gardeners, contractors, or other industry professionals for the estimated delivery date. Please do not book days off work or cancel other commitments specifically for your plant delivery to avoid disappointment.

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Specialized Delivery

If you have any special requirements regarding your delivery, please add it to your order notes or call us on 01603 327269. Always include any delivery restrictions into your order note so appropriate vehicles and good carriers can be used to deliver your plants.

Please note that we currently are unable to deliver to Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland due to Brexit rules and regulations.

For more delivery information refer to our terms and conditions here.

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