Common Name: Common elder
Species: nigra f. porphyrophylla
Cultivar: 'Guincho Purple'
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil type: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline, Dry, Moist, Boggy, Sandy
Time to prune: March to April
Flowering period: June to June
Common elder is a robust large shrub or small tree, familiar for its sweetly fragrant flowers and edible blue-black fruits. It will grow almost anywhere, including difficult conditions such as waterlogged or very chalky ground. It has produced numerous ornamental varieties, including 'Guincho Purple', formerly called 'Purpurea'. This is a smaller, spreading plant, with the darkest of all sambucus foliage, bright green while young and rapidly becoming bronze, then deep bronzy purple, a perfect foil to the pink-flushed blooms. In autumn, leaves turn rich red. To produce the best coloured leaves, prune plants back to ground level every year in early spring.
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