Experience with Honeyberry

Berries Unlimited has been developing cultivars, and also marketing them worldwide. Both Russian and Japanese cultivars. I picked up three, one for Scott from MI. Another website has been rating them by sweetness. The highest category is “Sweet Plus” the three I bought are in that category. Aurora is rated in the “Sweet” category, so these are supposed to be sweeter.
So I picked up Blue Banana, and Honey Gin, and for Scott Giant’s Heart. Mine are Russian and Giant’s Heart is Japanese.
I’ll report how they compare to Aurora, which I have also I should get about 20 berries off the 2nd leaf plant…Well not till next year. But I like Aurora, I like the more tart ones a lot too, very rich in flavor.


At the farmstand of Great northern berries they had bottle of wine, mead, ice cream and perserves for sale. Made by their wholesale customers. These really shine for processing, although the newer varieties might be good for fresh eating. A big issue for growers is that the berries don’t hold up very well after they have been picked, especially if they have been fully ripened. Won’t effect me, I graze so only half the fruit I grow makes it inside!

I have about 50 berries this year on my young plants.
I’m going to try drying some to increase sugar content. Yes new products are starting to flow!


My young honeyberries are really taking off. Will get a taste this year!

What I am doing with my honey berries.

After waiting 4 years to see if honey berries will work in my climate I finally decided it is time to take them a little more seriously. I actually dug up all of the weeds around them and made a bed for them to grow in. I wasn’t gowing to baby them unless they could show me they wanted to grow. The first two pictures are of (berry blue/blue belle) under my apple trees. They receive 3-4 hours of sunlight a day and still burn a little during the heat of summer, zone 6b Utah. The large one started to take off a few years ago and is why I decided to invest more in them, while the little one has struggled both with die back and chlorosis. Because of that I never get any fruit even though the large one blooms profusely in March. The blossoms don’t mind frost at all but come on too early for honey bees to pollinate, I am getting some Mason bees to help with this. Last I just planted a Tundra and Aurora from Michigan Bulb… They were only $12 for the 2 of them! I thought how can you go wrong for only $12, oh snap they are tiny! Anyway hope you enjoy the pictures, the large one is 5 ft tall and still growing strong.
The last two pictures are of my new additions, if you look closely you can see some green between the other plants.
PS I just saw some sugar Mountain blue at the nursery that are bigger and healthier than my 3 small plants maybe i will replace one.


My plants are nowhere as big, but I live in the range they grow in. I found they do best with some sun. No sun they grow but hardly fruit. The ones in partial sun are only 2nd leaf and loaded with berries. I didn’t see any bees working them, but all the same the plants are loaded with berries. I’m getting two cultivars in tomorrow that are the sweetest developed so far. I think many more cultivars are going to be developed. Mostly for size and sweetness.
So the sweetest developed are only a handful of cultivars so far. Probably not the best for processing. I have plenty for that too, so looking to add sweeter ones. So I picked up Blue Banana and Honey Gin rated sweet plus. Hopefully next year I’ll get a taste. Both are Russian. I hope to add Giant’s Heart also, a Japanese cultivar rated sweet plus. That should be enough!

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The only bushes I have that are large enough to produce fruit are Honey Bee and Indigo Gem, both flowered well this year so should get a decent harvest but they arent large plants yet either. HB is about 3 feet tall and IG is about 2ft tall but wider. I had some nice borealis bushes but replaced them due to dissatisfaction with the fruit they produced. In their place now is Aurora, Solo and Maxine. One of my Solo’s died over the winter which is a first for me, it may not be as hardy as the others. I have another Solo in the same area, not 2 feet away from the one that died, along with 2 Maxines and they all are doing fine. Strange…

That made me laugh. I’m lucky if 1/2 my fruit makes it inside! :slight_smile:

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One interesting thing I observed with my honeyberries this year is how long they bloom for-6 weeks! That’s quite a long time, although, the cool spring we had this year may have contributed to it.

Same here with the long bloom period. I have numerous varieties.

I was sure that even with 5 varieties and the long bloom time that I had no berries, but tonight I noticed that there are berries on at least one of the plants. I’m surprised how green the berries start out.


They put out new growth so quickly this time of year that the new berries get hidden very quickly.

Yes, and stop growing early too. or can, not always.They are all about the spring!
I have about 30 fruit on 2nd leaf plants. Maybe more? Hard to see!

Agreed, I don’t think they grow much after the first half of June. Very fast growing overall despite taking most of the summer off. We sure are happy with ours, we have 4 well established ones that really are going to give us a nice crop this year, and added a couple more last year

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Well, here’s the follow up one year later to my original question, do honeyberries get sweeter as the plants get older? … Yes! They can, a little.

This year, one bush out of 6, remained ridiculously sour, while the rest have fruits that are noticeably less sour, with a hint of sweetness and berry flavour. Far from being great tasting, they are at least somewhat edible.

Hopefully they will improve next year to the point where they become edible.


Picked the last berries last night. Honey bee. Mom made a pie, yummy.


That looks really good. What do you use for thickener?

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Tapioca I guess… sorry for late response!

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Funny, I saw the picture and forgot I’d seen it before. I have a bag in the freezer with just enough for a pie. I like to use a mix of tapioca and corn starch for berry pies.

Did it taste as good as it looks?

Very good. My wife likes it better than raspberry and cherry!