What's the verdict on Honeyberries...are they tasty?


Is chicken wire like that enough to keep the birds out? Primary thieves around here seem to be robins. Here is a picture of my Honey Bee from this weekend, Some berries are starting to turn color so I netted it, birds dont seem to care how sweet the berries are, if they are blue theyll eat them.


Seems to be working so far. There are also foil strips dangling from above, it is by my front porch, and there are cats roaming around. 2 weeks blue on the bush. Hopefully still there in a week or two when ripe.

The foil strips work pretty well on my serviceberry bush. They don’t keep all of the birds out but they leave me plenty to harvest. I don’t mind as I get tired of picking them after about 2 gallons and remove the strips when I’m done picking so they can clean off the rest. Without the strips, the birds would strip an estimated 5 gallons of berries as they turned red never letting any ripen.


Have you tried doing the shake2harvest method using a sheet or an umbrella or whatever?


For the honeyberries? I haven’t had enough to need to yet.

For the service berries? They seem pretty well attached but I’ve never tried. I’ve thought of trying a blueberry rake but the fruit doesn’t ripen evenly on the tree either. One by one so far.


I’m in 7A, just outside DC and was considering trying some honeyberries. I can get pretty good deals right now on Tundra and Aurora, so thought I’d try those since they should be in the same pollination window. I was going to get 2 Tundra and 4 Aurora and see how they go. With current deals they’ll be less than $10/each including shipping.

For anyone growing in 7A or warmer, how much shade to you have them in and are they okay in mostly shade in our heat? I figure direct sun will be overwhelming for them here. And are these UofS varities okay for our area or should I hold off and try different varieties?



Yes, I’m in 6a/5b and do not put them in full sun. 1/2 day here, doing really well.


You might want to look into some later ripening varieties. Solo, Maxie, Boreal Beauty/Blizzard, etc. I’m going to keep my early ripeners in zone 6 for a little while but I’m guessing that I’ll end up replacing them with later ripeners in a few years.

Morning sun is probably best if you have a choice.


Don, is the preference for the later ripening varieties because of lack of pollinators early on or blooms getting zapped by late freezes? Or is it some other reason?


Here in my zone 6 both early and late fruit for me. Not an issue at all. It’s only a couple weeks difference. Right now both have fruit.


The Japanese heritage varieties, which tend to be the late ripeners resist bud break a little better and bloom later also. Something that is desirable for warmer areas evidently.


Yes, both. Too early to make a real determination by my later varieties seem to fruit better. My earliest variety also lost all of its fruit and died almost back down to the ground in one of the hard freezes after it leafed out and flowered.

It’s only a few weeks but that could mean all of the difference between waiting a couple weeks for fruit or waiting another year.

I believe honeyberry USA only recommends the early varieties to zone 6.


Yes but zone 6 is the warmer areas for honeyberries. I myself would not grow them beyond zone 6. Any of them.Well I may try, but don’t expect great results. Seems like zone 4 and 5 are the sweet spots.
If the earlys are not fruiting I would guess that it’s not cold enough, they are growing too early for your area, as they are responding to the warm springs in warmer zones. Most plants adapted stay dormant, but these plants will quickly start growing and in Zone 6 is often before the last freeze. They can tolerate freezes well though. . They do not like a lot of light, but also will not fruit in low light either.
I myself favor the early fruiting ones as very few Japanese late bloomers rate in the Sweet Plus category. Only one I know of (Giant’s Heart). Currently I’m interested in the sweetest cultivars I can find. Many are astringent and tart, and only good for processing. i want some of those too, I already have them. I have 2 in the Sweet Plus category and will add more next year.


I planted 4 varieties two years ago and all of them fruited ~mid May and later this year in my zone 7A. All are planted under a large walnut tree to get some shade. We had few days in the lower 90s so far and Tundra is all cooked, yellow wilting leaves etc.so that one is not suitable for warmer zones for sure. The other 3 look good so far (Russian or possibly Polish varieties). Taste is nothing special but I shouldn’t complain since there is nothing else ripening that early in the season (cherries starting about week later, strawberries just started ripening about 5 days ago).


This spring I decided to thoroughly test Honeyberries in my climate. To be fair in my judgement I had to plant a few varieties, so I did. Out of that list I have Blue Velvet and Kalinka for 4 years now. Fruitload was always poor cause they don’t flower at the same time (Blue Velvet is earlier than Kalinka). The other varieties are new. Some plants already are big enough to give a good crop next year, at least I hope so. Blue Velvet and Kalinka are in full sun and do well with irrigation. Without irrigation they need partial shade.

Blue Velvet

Gordost Bakczara
Leningradzkij Welikan
Troe Druzej


Where did you get all those varieties? Looking for Zojka.


I fear that information won’t help you very much. I’m living in germany. Since Honeyberries seem to be en vogue right now there are some nurseries stocking up their inventories.

Got mine from this very good online-seller: www.wildobstschnecke.de

You know, I am looking for Indian free and Arctic Glo. They are not available over here. So I’m in the same boat someway…


Thanks for the info!


What size plants? Do you have any of the canadian varieties available? I would be interested in how they compare…


Hi Derek,

most of them already are 2 to 3 feet and some came in flowering and have a little fruit set. Not enough though to compete with the birds. Next year I will net that row of plants.

Were can I read about the canadian varieties? My impression was it were selected and renamed known cultivars. Are there genuine canadian varieties?


Well they were bred from several different origins by the University of Saskatchewan. Most arent Canadian by heritage but theyve got quite a big breeding program up there right now and have grown out thousands if not 10s of thousands of plants, selecting the best. There is a google doc that has a ton of info if you are interested, its hundreds of pages long but goes into a lot of the detail. If you have looked at the berries unlimited website, they have a lot of varieties, many I think were developed in russia and renamed but all of U of S were developed in house im sure, from genetics collected around the world. I dont know much about the varieties you bought and the website is in german, which doesnt help me much, haha. Are those russian varieties also?