Plant name: Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra Black Lace (‘Eva’))
Virtues: It is very cold hardy and easy to grow, and adaptable to most sites. In addition, it is deer resistant, drought tolerant, fall heat tolerant, landscape plant
Flowers: Creamy pink flowers in the spring followed by blackish red fall berries, which can be harvested for making elderberry wine and jam, or left on the plant to attract birds and other wildlife.
Foliage: Intense purple black foliage is finely cut, giving it an effect similar to that of Japanese maple (Acer palmatum). Indeed, some designers are using it in place of the more tender maple varieties since Black Lace is extremely durable and adaptable.
Planting suggestions/goes great with: It can be used as a dramatic accent plant, planted en masse for a trouble free high hedge, or incorporated into the mixed or perennial border.
Habit: Left alone it will reach up to 8 feet in height, but Black Lace can also be pruned back each year to fit into more formal settings.
Season: Spring through fall
Culture: Black Lace should be planted in sun or partial shade in hardiness zones 4-7. Full sun is needed for the best color.
Uses: Great as a shrub in the landscape or as a potted shrub on the patio. Good in groupings or masses, or perennial and shrub borders. Makes a nice specimen or screen. It is also tough enough for roadsides or naturalizing. In addition, it does well in wet soils.
Suggested by: Tim Woods of Spring Meadow Nursery
Tips: Black Lace does best in moist soil although it will tolerate dry soils. It thrives under acid or alkaline soils. Best if pruned immediately after blooming. Plants set flower buds the summer prior to blooming. It is a deciduous shrub, and needs to be fertilized in early spring by applying a slow release fertilizer specialized for trees and shrubs. Follow the recommended rate of application.
Image courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder