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History of Honeyberries
Fruits of the wild Honeyberry (eatable honeysuckle) have been used for food and many treatments since the early Middle Ages. Famous Russian traveler Vladimir Atlasov, who discovered honeyberries in the end of 17th century in Kamchatka Peninsula, underlined not only the quality of these exotic berries, but also their hardiness. Treasured and loved in Asia for centuries the berry came to Europe and was appreciated in its gardens because of its versatility. The Petersburg Botanical Garden in Russia has had the collection of Honeysuckle ( “zhimolost” in Russian) since the middle of 18 century. They were brought from all over the world and tested for hardiness and longevity. Researches had developed many new species. In 1956 Honeyberry was introduced and recommended for wide spread gardening throughout the Soviet Union.
Almost unheard of here in the United States, Honeyberry is a relative of the Honeysuckle with sweet, succulent, very edible fruit resembling blueberries. A shade and sun tolerate shrub, nicely shaped, being quite unpretentious it bears beautiful cream white flowers in early spring, followed in early summer by some of the juiciest, most delectable berries you will ever taste.Most varieties average about 4 to 8 feet tall, and very easy to grow in regular to poor, moist soil and any shady/sun spot (except in the northernmost portion of its hardiness range, where position in the sun is preferred. The 1 1/2-inch, often cylindrical blue fruit ripens about 2 weeks before strawberries in most regions, beginning the first or second year after seed planting.
Even when not in flower or fruit, however, this Honeyberry is attractive, thanks to velvety grayish-green foliage. In the fall the color changes into yellow shades. Native to eastern Siberia, this hardy deciduous species is not troubled by pests or disease.
Honeyberries are NOT self-fertile, but will pollinate with any other Honeyberry bush so plant at least two honeyberry varieties because both varieties will fruit equally heavily, bearing 5 to 9 pounds of delicious berries in early summer. Honeyberry has no chill requirement (flowering at 25F), and is quite long-lived (expect 50 to 75 years of active fruiting!).No fertilizer is required, but if you decide to use one, a balanced mixture such as 10-10-10 or 5-5-5 is ideal. Manure can be used too. Mulch is necessary to maintain moisture in the soil.
Ph is from 5.5 to 8.5. But it prefers 7 or more.
Zones 2-8, 9 West Coast.
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