The honeyberry is a pretty plant whose berries are safe to eat. Here you will find everything you need to know about the cultivation and use of wild fruit from Siberia.
The exotic honeyberry (Lonicera kamtschatica) comes from the Kamchatka region, the border area between Russia and China. It is also known as Mayberry or Kamchatka honeysuckle and belongs to the honeysuckle family. Unlike most other species in this family, the fruits of the honeyberry are edible. The taste of the pretty fruits is strongly reminiscent of our local blueberries. Honeyberries have a high proportion of vitamins and are suitable for direct consumption, but also for further processing into jams, mousse or juice.
It’s not just the elongated, deep blue fruits of the honeyberry that make a good impression. The shrub and its filigree flowers also make the plant a pretty ornamental shrub for your garden.
Honeyberry: location and soil for the plant
As a densely branched shrub, the honeyberry reaches a height of up to one meter and is similar in growth form to the blueberry. The deciduous twigs and leaves sprout in the first warm days of spring. You can expect the first flowers as early as March. The honeyberry already bears fruit between April and the end of May, making it one of the earliest wild fruit varieties. Their short development span is due to the homeland of the plant. In the cold Siberian regions, it has to adapt to a very short growing season, which has always resulted in early flowering and fruiting.
Thanks to the harsh weather conditions of its homeland, the honeyberry is a very hardy shrub that is easy to grow and care for:
Location: The ideal location for the Geissaceae is a damp, partially shaded to sunny location. Honeyberries combine well with hedge plants and other berry bushes.
Soil: The honeyberry grows on both peaty and loamy soils. In order to achieve rich fruit stands, you can support your plant with humus or compost.
Growing and caring for honeyberries
Cultivation: Add an extra portion of compost to the excavated planting hole before planting young honeyberry bushes. It is ideal if you plant your young shrubs in pairs to make it easier for them to be fertilized. Different types also harmonize with each other. Always keep a planting distance of at least one meter.
Care: The honeyberry is a very frugal shrub. Only long periods of drought can damage it. Therefore, especially during the growing season, make sure to always keep the root ball slightly moist without waterlogging. The honeyberry survives even cold winters without any problems. The wood can withstand temperatures as low as -45°C and even her delicate flowers can withstand sub-zero temperatures. Your berry plant does not need special winter protection. Fertilizing is also not absolutely necessary. However, if you want to do something good for your plant, you can treat your shrub in moderation with organic berry fertilizer or homemade fertilizer.
Pests and diseases are not known for the honeyberry. If you want to look forward to a rich harvest, you should cover your berries with a protective net, especially during the growing season. This way you make sure that the birds in your garden don’t get there before you. If you don’t want to eat the berries yourself, you can of course leave them to the birds as food.
Pruning: Honeyberries sprout new shoots from the base. A pruning should therefore only be carried out once a year on the oldest shoots. The best time is right after harvest. To do this, select the three to four oldest shoots and cut them back to the ground with sharp hedge trimmers. To keep your shrub strong and healthy, it should never have more than ten to twelve shoots.
Cook jam & Co. from honeyberries
Honeyberries are rich in vitamins C and B, making them a healthy snack to snack on in the garden. However, since its fruits are relatively small and not easy to harvest, the plant is hardly suitable for large-scale industrial cultivation. However, honeyberries are ideal for preparing your own delicious jams, mousse, compote or juice. For example, you can use the varieties “Maistar”, “Mailon”, “Morena” and “Failon”.