Honeyberry – hardy & delicious

Honeyberry

If you want to grow something completely different this year and become the talk of the allotment, then plant Honeyberry bushes (Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica).

Unusual fruit – for your five a day!

For years, these sweet blueberry-like fruits have been eaten in their native Siberia. Honeyberries can be eaten straight from the bush, or baked in pies, jams and muffins. The taste is similar to that of blueberries, but sweeter with a slight aftertaste of honey.

The Honeyberry – high in antioxidants!

The black-blue oval honeyberries begin to ripen in the first few weeks of June, after the first or second year after planting. This exceptionally hardy shrub is long lived and easy to grow, producing more delicious berries year upon year. Grows to a height and spread: 120 cm (48”).

Growing Honeyberries

Unlike blueberries, Honeyberries (part of the honeysuckle family) are not too fussy about soil PH. Any kind of situation should be fine as long as its not too dry or too wet. They are happiest in partial shade . They can tolerate temperatures as low as minus 40 degree F!

They are usually free from pests and diseases, but watch out for the birds.

Pot up Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica plants and grow them on in cool frost free conditions until large enough to plant outside. When of a good size, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions before transplanting them to their final positions. Grow honeyberry plants in any moist well drained soil in full sun.

Honeyberries are self fertile. Planting them in close proximity to one another will improve pollination and increase your crop of tasty fruits.

Feed and water honeyberry plants regularly throughout the growing season until established.

Pruning

Initially, honeyberry plants will require only minimal pruning for the first three years. Trim out any dead or misplaced stems. Prune annually after the fruits have been harvested. Reduce stems to a pair of strong buds. Then, cut back a fifth of the oldest stems to ground level. This will encourage new growth. Caution: It should be noted that not all berries of the Lonicera family are edible.

James Middleton

An obsessive gardener since 1982. Day-time job - web designer and developer and University lecturer.

3 Comments:

  1. I’ve just planted a young Honeyberry bush in my new garden in Dawlish…looking forward to fruit! We had one in our old garden in North Warwickshire – a much missed plant.

  2. I planted a “double” honeyberry bush about one year ago. All it has produced is two or three berries. Any ideas?

  3. Sounds like a very young plant. To increase yield, you could try adding a few inches of compost mulch your honeyberry to maintain balanced soil moisture. Honeyberry roots are very closed to the surface, so maybe drought is knocking your plant back a bit? Also pruning; pruning in late winter will encourage plenty of new growth in the spring. Fruit is produce on last years growth, so when pruning keep this in mind. Remove any weaker or diseased branches and encourage strong shooters that will yeild the larger fruits. Try and keep the bush open to allow plenty of ventilation – this will prevent desease.

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