Although relatively little breeding has been done, several elderberry varieties are readily available. Since elderberries are only partially self-fruitful, plant at least two varieties no more than 60 feet apart.
Adams #1 and Adams #2: The oldest varieties, which are vigorous and productive, with large fruit clusters and berries. They ripen in early September.
Johns: Also very vigorous, producing 10-foot canes on fertile soils. It ripens about 10 days earlier than the Adams varieties.
Scotia: Yields berries with a higher sugar content than other varieties, although the bushes are somewhat smaller.
Nova: Has larger, sweeter berries than the Adams varieties. It also lacks the astringency of some varieties.
York: Productive and matures relatively late. Plants are large and vigorous.