planted in front of my house. I bought it in the summer of 2008 because, to me, it looked like a Japanese Maple. And at the time, I couldn't really afford an actual Japanese Maple. I've said it before but I'm a sucker for dark leafed plants. And if they also have lacy Japanese Maple like leaves? Who could pass that up?
The Black Lace Elderberry was named "Best New Plant" in 2006. If left unpruned, it can reach 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. But, it can also be trained more like a tree or pruned hard immediately after it blooms to keep it compact for smaller spaces or containers. I've really let mine go and it's sprawling up the front of my house and drooping at the sides. I'm planning to cut it way back in the next couple of weeks. It blooms late spring to early summer with delicate pink flower heads reaching up to 10 inches wide and towards the fall it produces clusters of edible berries the birds love.
Nearly every visitor to my garden asks me what this plant is. And most of the time they think it's a Japanese Maple. Sometimes I stare at it, feeling sorry for it. A shrub whose only claim to fame is that it looks like a nicer, fancier tree. Sad. My mom who lives in Tennessee bought this exact plant last year because she thought it looked like a Japanese Maple, too. So, it's not just me. I'm not saying it can really substitute for a J. Maple, but if you like the dark foliage found on the lacy varieties, you might want to try this hardy shrub in your garden. Plant it in full sun and the leaves will turn a dark, almost eggplant color.