Thursday, June 17, 2010
I am excited to see that our little honeyberry (edible blue honeysuckle) has finally developed a few fruits for us this season. Honeyberries, with their frost tolerant flowers, are known for their ability to fruit early, a couple weeks before strawberries, and with a little luck they will even produce on 1 year old bushes. Ours has taken quite a few more years than that but then again we have uprooted and moved the poor bushes on several occasions which no doubt has set them back a bit. From what I've read they will produce berries for well over 30 years so I am willing to be patient. Some varieties are supposed to produce anywhere from 3-5 lbs of fruit per bush when fully mature...ours has about 20 berries on it.
The plants require cross pollination so at least one other, preferably more, different and compatible varieties are necessary for fruit set. Although our other bush is very small, produced no flowers to speak of, yet we still have these berries on the larger plant so they are obviously able to self pollinate to some degree as the flowers are (I think) hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs). Life will find a way I suppose. If memory serves me, I believe our bushes are Berry Blue and Blue Belle. There are many varieties and not all are compatible with each other.
I'm excited to start taking cuttings for propagation and hope to have more than a few bushes in the near future. Theoretically, this Siberian honeysuckle should be a perfect addition to our berry patch as they are not at all picky about the type of soil they are grown in and can be hardy from zones 2-8 and -40°F.
So anyway, I hope to become more involved with this particular plant now that it's obvious they will indeed grow and produce for us. I plan on purchasing a few more varieties next spring and also hope to focus on propagating some of my own through cuttings and maybe even seed. The plants are not cheap so I had better start saving my pennies.:)
The berries have a sweet tart flavor that I really like.