Invasive Species Council of British Columbia
Grow Me Instead

Blue elderberry

Sambucus cerulea

About This Species

Zone 4a BC Native

Grow me instead of Butterfly bush, Russian olive

This large shrub grows to 10 m tall and thrives in well-drained soils with full sunlight. Blue elderberry has narrow leaflets with pointed ends and clusters of white-cream flowers in the spring followed by light blue berries in the summer. The berries are actually very dark blue but have a whitish waxy coating, which make them appear much paler. This is an excellent specimen to attract pollinators and birds – good for a naturalized or habitat garden.

When selecting non-invasive plants for your garden, be sure to look for those that are suitable for your location, including moisture requirements, hardiness zone, and avoidance of known bear attractants among other factors.

Plant Special Features

  • Drought-tolerant
  • Fire smart
  • Pollinator friendly

Moisture Requirements


Dry or occasionally moist conditions