Choosing Cultivars

Elderberries belong to the genus Sambucus. Individual flowers are small and white and appear in large compound clusters. They are nearly self-unfruitful, so plant two different cultivars within 60 feet of each other to provide adequate cross-pollination.

Adams No. 1 and Adams No. 2 are two old cultivars introduced by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in 1926. They are strong, vigorous, productive, and hardy in areas up to Zone 4, and they bear large fruit clusters. They also ripen late, with fruit maturing in early September. Other cultivars with large clusters and berries include York, Johns, Kent, Nova, and Scotia. York is somewhat more productive than the Adams series, and the berries tend to be larger.

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