The species Lonicera is commonly known to our customers as Honeysuckle and is known to them as a hardy vine or a flowering shrub. A new variety of Honeysuckle, Lonicera caerulea var. kamtschatica, a fruiting variety, is making a name for itself after being introduced to American markets.
Known as Honeyberry or Blue Honeysuckles, these attractive, arching bushes grow quickly to 4 feet tall. Small, fragrant white funnel shaped flowers appear in early spring and develop into delicious, teardrop-shaped blue fruit that ripens in early summer. Honeyberry’s taste has been compared to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and black currants and is conspicuously high in vitamin C and antioxidants.
New to American gardeners, Honeyberries are widely grown in Russia, China and Northern Japan. They are hardy to zones 3 through 8 and are disease and pest resistant. They grow extremely well in our alkaline soils, unlike blueberries that need acidic soil. If you have been unsuccessful in growing blueberries, try growing Honeyberries. Space the plants about 6 feet apart or 3 to 4 feet for a hedge. Honeyberries prefer full sun and well drained soil. Little pruning is required. Two different varieties are needed for pollination. Here at Pahl’s Market were offer three different varieties; ‘Borealis’, ‘Cinderella’, and ‘Tundra’.
‘Borealis’ is one of the tangiest honeyberries, with some tart flavor rounding out its natural sweetness. It ripens about 2 weeks earlier than strawberries. It needs ‘Tundra’ for fruit set.
‘Cinderella’ grows a foot smaller than ‘Borealis’ and ‘Tundra’ and has the flavor of wild blueberries. It makes excellent pies, jams and jellies. It needs ‘Borealis’ as its pollinator.
‘Tundra’ is less tangy than‘Borealis’, has larger fruit, grows a foot taller, up to 5 feet, and in a more open shape. It needs ‘Cinderella’ for fruit set.