ISO Fresh Eating, Heavy Producing Bushes for Zone 5

I am looking for recommendations for fruiting bushes for two different zones in my yard. Both areas get full sun. A) One area has moist soil but is pretty well-drained; though there might be standing water after a heavy rain in the spring. B) The other area is in a long raised bed bordered by a rock wall and will be quite dry year round.

I’m looking for shrubs or drawf trees that will get no more than 6-9 feet tall. I’d like heavy producers of fresh eating fruit. Both areas border a 6 foot tall fence so they could support vines or canes instead.

I already have: apple, cherry, mulberry, red raspberry, red currant, blackberry, concord grapes, black and red elderberry, and blueberry. I’m looking for something new and interesting!

Also, if you have recommendations for a good nursery to purchase from in central Michigan, that’d be nice. Or, a reputable online nursery to order from. Thank you!


How hot are your summers? Jujube is a possibility. I’m not sure if maypop will survive the winter.

Another thing I’ve found recently is thimbleberry, but it’s too hot here. It might work there, but if you are hot enough for jujube you are probably too hot for thimbleberry.

You might be able to make a fig work, but it’d have to be one of the hardiest ones and would probably still require some winter work. Either an insulation wrap or cage, or cutting the roots and burying it.

Summers are in the 90s and humid. We have a couple weeks that we get to very high 90s and into the 100s. Winters are mostly below freezing for several months, at times dipping into the negatives for days or even a week interspersed throughout the winter. So, we can expect more than a 100 degree spread over the course of each calendar year.

I’m interested in a fig but I don’t want to do too much winter care–pretty lazy gardener here!

Can you tell me more about the Jujube? I’m curious. What is the fruit like?

Check out Raintree nursery have order from before not in Michigan

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Thank you, Rick. I’ve ordered from Raintree and was very pleased with the bareroot cherry and peach trees that I got from them.

I was looking for specific recommendations for types of fruiting shrubs/vines/canes that would fit the two areas I’m looking to plant in: a drier area and a wetter area. I’d like to expand beyond the typical fruit that I already have so I’m looking for tips from other gardeners.

Sounds like you should try goumi:

They’re tough, low-maintenance shrubs that might work in either your wet or dry area. I think they’re beautiful and tasty, when I can beat the squirrels to them.

I’m a big fan of Juliet bush cherries - they’re sour but still sweet enough to eat fresh.

There are some smaller Amelanchier cultivars like Regent that might work for you.

Hardy kiwis would probably be hard to maintain on a fence, but they might be worth a try.

Gooseberries are another option for you in Zone 5. I don’t have any personal experience with cultivars, but you could research the best options for you in MI.

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Jujubes are not a bush. They are a tree that grow to 15 or more feet.

Let’s see if @Drew51 can help you. He is in MI and grows fruit that are a bush type. I heard of haskap or honeyberry but no real experience.

There are other MI growers, too, but @subdood_ky_z6b is knowledgeable about who lives where.

Goumi (already mentioned) is a great suggestion.

Honeyberries… The jury is still out on these for me. I’ve had inconsistent fruiting on the largest and growth issues on one or two as well.

Serviceberries - excellent. Very blueberry-like but not requiring specific soil requirements (pH) I have a few non-named varieties and 1 named variety. The named variety is disappointing in relation. There’s a park in Ann Arbor that has wonderful serviceberry plants and Oikos Tree Crops is a Mi based nursery with some interesting selections.

Autumn Olive (again look at Oikos) has great potential, though I haven’t really tried fruit on mine.

I see you already have red currants. Look into Clove Currant Crandall. You’ll find no lack of members here singing its praises.

If you’re willing to try vines (you did mention it in your post) then a couple hardy kiwis, though you will need to become proficient in pruning as they will quickly want to outgrow your area (but it is possible as I have a Michigan State Kiwi that would fit within your criteria.

Also look at pawpaw. You would need to control size by pruning and would need 2, but among fresh eating these are among my favorites.

Maypops might look interesting, but I rarely get fruit to ripen and I’m warmer than you.

(Northeast of Detroit)

Besides @Drew51, there’s @applebacon, @Johnnysapples, @thepodpiper.

Honeyberries might work for you in your climate. They are a colder climate fruit, somewhat like blueberries in color. I don’t grow them, but others on here do, like Scott and Drew.

Plus, the Romance cherries like Romeo, Juliet and Carmine Jewel. I have the R & J, they’re 3 years old, Juliet is over 7ft tall, R is about 3ft, neither have fruited yet. CJ are grown by many on here, @clarkinks grows lots of them. I also had Crimson Passion cherry, but it didn’t last more than a couple years. Others on here have also had issues with CP.

I got my cherry bushes and a gooseberry from, they sent good sized plants, except CP, it was a mere twig, that’s prob why it didn’t last long. They sell many varieties of gooseberries and currants, too including white, pink and black. They are in Minnesota, tho.


Thanks, everyone, this is great advice and exactly what I was seeking. I especially appreciate the links to places to order as my local nursery isn’t doing well this year and is sold out of what I was looking for.

I looked into the Goumi and, though I can’t be sure, it looks exactly like this old shrub that I just tore out! I never knew what it was and I was leery of a fruiting bush in the yard given that three of my kids are under age 5. (I was worried about them sampling a potentially toxic berry someday.)

I’ve thought about both paw paw and vining kiwi but I’m a little reluctant to start something that is going to need maintenance.

I think I’ll look more into honeyberries, serviceberries, goumi and the Clove Currant Crandall. I love to make jam with my currant and it’d be nice to have more varieties.

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Do you have to spray honeyberries? Not a thorny style bush?

Cherry orchards & blueberry patches are huge in Michigan. Traverse City Michigan (90 mins north of me) calls itself the cherry capital of the world.

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My honey berries have been maintenance free. They are honeysuckles that grow a berry that’s blue. I live near Oxford Mi. The fruit gets hidden in the dense bush. If you lift the branches up you’ll find hundreds of berries. I have one variety that grows a big long berry that’s better tasting than the others. I lost my notes on these so I am not sure what it is called. Blueberries taste much better but these are so easy to grow.

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Honeyberries? Gooseberries? Cranberries? Creeping raspberries?

My honeyberries are pest/disease free, however I do have 1 bush which hasn’t leafed out well this year or last. The branches are all alive, but it is just terribly sparse. This one has not fruited yet.

Some of my other ones (I have 7) leaved out well, but didn’t seem to fruit well. (I know the fruit is under the leaves). They grow pretty easily (except that one that is sparse).

One of my plants is a serious fruiting machine, though. The fruit is good, especially give how early it has been for me.



Where did you get your honeyberries from? If it’s a honeysuckle–is it more of a bush/shrub shape or more of a vine? Would they also be considered an ornamental plant?

P.S. I have a cousin who lives near Oxford.

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If fresh eating is your top priority I’d tend to go with a serviceberry before haskap.
Now that I know to let the berries hang, even after they have changed colour, we are much happier with the taste of ours. However, they are still pretty tart and we don’t eat really any fresh. They go great in smoothies and baked goods but are too tart for us fresh. (Ours are older bushes and some of the later crosses are sweeter)
The service berries tend to be a good snacking berry and often don’t all ripen together so you can pick over a few days/week.
Most service berries can get to medium tree sizes so you’ll need to do some pruning to keep them small.
In both cases, birds love them too, so you may have a fight for your harvest. (Here, none of the local birds care for currants, so they get left alone)


I’m not sure where I got them maybe Honeyberry USA? Its in one of the honeyberry threads around 2017 maybe 2016. They are a bush no vines. My first bush was from grow organic and is called honey blue, but I like the other three better.Service berries take a long time to grow. Mine is only two foot tall and was bought at the same time.

I found them in, Are honeyberries shade tolerant post 44. 2016
Okay, I bought three more honeyberries. $73! Indigo Gem, Indigo Treat, and Aurora.

one of these grows a bigger berry and that one taste better then the rest.

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