If you are anything like me and can’t wait for your plants to fruit then honeyberries are for you! Honeyberries are earliest fruiting berry I know of, fruiting a full week or two before strawberries. Planting 2 or more varieties is best for cross pollination. And once you taste a freshly picked honeyberry you might find yourself planting many more. Planting honeyberries can also help your native pollinators. Being such an early bloomer, the honeyberry flowers when most other plants are still dormant. If you have honey bees you will see the immediate benefits of this early flowering plant.
Honeyberries grow in much of the country and do best in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. Plant in full sun to partial shade to ensure your honeyberries will thrive and quickly bear fruit. Plant your honeyberries approximately 5-8 feet apart to ensure proper air circulation and light exposure. Typical fruit is small and cylindrical often resembling a long (up to 1.5”) tubular blueberry. Honeyberries will begin fruiting on 2-3 year old plants. Long lived like their blueberry cousin, honeyberries can live for over 50 years.
One of the things that makes honeyberries one of my favorite berries is that fact that it has very little pest pressure. Any no spray growers who have had trouble with apples and peaches getting hammered with pest and disease should consider planting a few honeyberries. The joys of a true no spray fruit can’t be understated! Because it fruits so early in the season most pests and diseases aren’t in full force yet and honeyberry has seemed to skate by unaffected thus far.
Like blueberries birds are attracted to the bright blue berries of the honeyberry. If you aren’t careful you could lose your entire harvest to birds. I have found an easy fix is to throw netting overtop my honeyberries. This deters the birds and will ensure you can enjoy honeyberries each spring.
Consider trying a new and unusual fruit this spring. If you haven’t already get your hands on a few honeyberry plants and get them planted in your garden, I am sure glad I did. If you have any questions about honeyberries or if you have had experience growing honeyberries we would love to hear from you. Leave a note in the comments section or email us directly. And if you enjoy our posts be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter!