Honey Berry Plants – Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea) is a member of honeysuckle family and a native of eastern Russia. Honeyberry bushes is well adapted, easy to grow and rarely attacked by pests. The shrubs might grow 5-7 feet tall and wide. It produces blue, small and elongated fruits that contain twice higher antioxidant than the other berries, high vitamins and minerals.
The taste of the fruits is like blueberry, but some people describe the taste as raspberry-like. The fruits are best eaten fresh out of hand, frozen or used to flavor yogurts, bread and ice reams. It’s often used as main ingredients of jellies and jams.
How to grow honey berry plants
Honeyberry can grow best in moist and well drained soil, with ideal PH of 6,5. They might be adapted to PH range of 5 to 8. Since the shrubs can grow 3-7 feet tall and wide, you need to give space plant 5-7 feet apart in rows. It is better to find humus-rich soil for the best growth.
Steps in planting:
- Dig a hole with one foot diameter;
- Fill the hole with peat moss and compost,
- Put the shrubs on the hole and fit it properly.
Like other berries, honeyberry has shallow rooting system, so it will get benefit from a perfect layer of organic mulch. You can spread bark, sawdust or leaf mulch range from 2-4 inch deep around the shrub. The mulch will prevent the soil from drying and keep it moist. This technique also will help the berry reach the maximum size and allow the root to take better nutrient when the mulch decomposed. You can fertilize the bushes based on the soil test.
If it grows in a very poor quality soil, you have to notice the symptoms of nutrient deficiency that can be recognized from the leaves and small fruits. When the symptoms emerge, you may consider to add a complete organic fertilizer in spring. Luckily, honey berry has few insects and disease problems but it’s better if you net the bushes to prevent birds from eating the ripe fruits.
The plants need regularly to be watered and weeded, especially when they are young. You also need to prune the bush which younger than five years old. The dead, diseased, or broken branches also must be removed. You also should remove the older limbs and spindly shoots periodically to give a room to younger ticker to grow. Ideally, you need to have four to six older limbs and a few younger shoots per shrub. Pruning is also needed in late winter. Honeyberry blooms in early spring so that; the shrubs need protection from late spring frosts.
Normally, the plant will produce fruits after a year of transplanting and may take some years to reach full production. Honeyberry flowers early and produces fruits two weeks earlier than strawberry. For the best flavor, let the fruit to turn blue in every part. It’s often found a tart flavored berry, when the fruit skins turn blue while the flesh is still green.