Discovering The Honeyberry
Small Fruits are making a tremendous comeback in popularity in recent years. Each year the demand for plants outstrips what is available for sale. Most of us are familiar enough with Raspberries and Blueberries, however, there are many others which aren't as well known and deserve a place in the garden. One of those which is not as well known is the Honeyberry or Haskup (Lonicera caerula)
Also know as the Blueberry of the Prairie, this wonderful plant produces fruit which is the size of an elongated blueberry and has a taste which resembles blueberries or for some people raspberries. The benefits of this plant continue with it being hardy to -55 degrees (Zone 2), as well as it being one of the first fruits of spring. Early blooming varieties have been know to produce several weeks before strawberries.
This non-invasive relative of honeysuckle is tough as nails and suitable for even the roughest locations. It grows to roughly 5 feet high and 7 feet wide and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions including clay soil and aPh between 4.5 and 8.5. It's lifespan can last upwards of 50 years. In our northern climate it prefers full sun and ideally plants should be space 5-7 feet apart in rows. Make sure to mix varieties a bit for proper pollination to occur.
Honeyberries can be used in the garden and work well as a hedge. Their blue tinged foliage and yellow fall colors make them an attractive landscape plant. A layer of mulch 2-4 inches in depth will help the plants as they tend to be rather shallow rooted. They have few disease or insect problems, but should be netted when bearing fruit as birds will otherwise enjoy themselves.
Honeyberries are widely adapted, easy to grow, and have few pests. They are ideal plants for our Northern climate and will provide a tremendous harvest of fruit at the beginning of the season. We hope you try this exceptional plant.
- Ulysses Hedrick