Honeyberries originated from Eastern Siberia, which makes them extremely cold hardy (down to zone 2!) and tolerant of a wide variety of soil types and pH levels. Known as haskap in Japan and zhimolost (or blue honeysuckle) in Russia, honeyberries are a member of the honeysuckle family, but lack the invasive qualities of their relatives. Flowering in early spring, honeyberries attract many native pollinators to its small, white and yellow, fragrant flowers. Its berries are elongated blueberry-like fruits that ripen in early June, with a unique flavor which has been compared to blueberries, raspberries, juneberries, and blackcurrants. They are great for eating fresh or you can use the berries to make jams and jellies. The tender skins of honeyberries are known to "disintegrate" when eaten, making them a wonderful addition to yogurt, ice cream, and smoothies. Try freezing them for a special, melt-in-your-mouth treat to be enjoyed any time of the year.
Since they are early fruiting, the birds love them which is why we protect them with overhead netting!
Since most honeyberries need at least two varieties planted for cross pollination, we have planted a wide range of varieties including Night Mist, Borealis, Tundra, Midnight Blue, Blue Forrest, Berry Blue, Blue Bird, Blue Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, beauty, Moxie and Solo. Most of our plants were sourced from Honeyberry USA. Additional varieties were purchased from Rolling River Nursery of California. The other plants were locally-sourced.
After several years, we pulled the Midnight Blue and Night Mist varieties, even though the plants were vigorous. We found that the fruits of these two varieites were so bitter that we could not even make good-tasting jam from them. We have not had this experience with any of the varieties we grow. In fact, the others are quite delicious!