• AGM plants

    AGM plants have been through a rigourous trial and assessment programme. They are:

    • Excellent for ordinary use in appropriate conditions
    • Available to buy
    • Of good constitution
    • Essentially stable in form & colour
    • Reasonably resistant to pests & diseases

Sambucus nigra 'Aurea'

Golden elder

Golden elder

© � RHS 2002

  • Other common names Golden elder

  • Genus Sambucus can be herbaceous perennials, deciduous shrubs or small trees, with pinnate leaves and umbels or panicles of small creamy-white flowers followed by red, white or black berries

  • Family Adoxaceae / Adoxaceae

  • Species 'Aurea' is a large, bushy deciduous shrub with pinnate, deep golden-yellow leaves and flattish heads of small, scented creamy-white flowers followed by purple-black berries


  • Foliage Deciduous

  • Habit Bushy

  • Fragrance Flower

  • Toxicity All parts may cause discomfort if ingested although the berries can be edible if cooked



  • Full Sun

  • Partial Shade

  • Aspect North-facing or East-facing or South-facing or West-facing

  • Exposure Sheltered or Exposed


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • Chalk


  • MoistureWell-drained, Moist but well-drained

  • SoilChalk, Clay, Sand, Loam

  • pHAcid, Alkaline, Neutral


  • Ultimate height

    2.5-4 metres

  • Ultimate spread

    2.5-4 metres

  • Time to ultimate height

    10-20 years

How to grow

Cultivation Easy to grow in moderately fertile, humus-rich, moist but well-drained soils and also thrives on extremely chalky sites

Propagation Propagate by softwood or hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types Low Maintenance Hedging & Screens Coastal Wildlife Gardens

How to care

Pruning Pruning group 1 or coppice every 3 to 4 years. Tolerates hard size-restricting pruning

Pests Can get blackfly and glasshouse red spider mite

Diseases May be subject to verticillium wilt

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