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Honeyberry Bushes

 

A very unique plant, Honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea) is actually a species of Honeysuckle that grows like a shrub and produces sweet and tasty fruit. Honeyberries are self fertile but planting them in close proximity to one another will improve pollination and increase the crop. The plants will begin to produce a worthwhile crop from the second or third year after planting and should be harvested in June as soon as they are ripe.

 

Planting

Honeyberries need a fertile neutral soil to crop well (a pH of 6.0-7.5 is ideal). They prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

Plant your bushes as soon as possible after receipt, 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) apart.

Should weather conditions be adverse (i.e. if the ground is frozen or too wet to plant), leave the bushes in their pots in a sheltered spot until your soil is in better condition.

Improve the soil structure by thorough digging before planting and if possible mix well rotted manure or compost into the top soil.

Soak the pots in water for 30 minutes. Dig a hole comfortably large enough to take the rootball, remove the pots, ensuring the top of the rootball is level with the surrounding soil. Apply rootgrow™ mycorrhizal fungi directly to the roots before planting - this will help the plant to establish quickly. Firm the soil around the rootball and water-in thoroughly.

 

Watering

Keep the soil around the bushes moist throughout the first growing season. In later years only water during prolonged dry spells, drenching thoroughly no more than once a week. Container grown bushes will need more regular watering and should never be allowed to dry out.

 

Weeding & Mulching

Keep the area around the bushes free of weeds, particularly during the first year. An annual mulch of well rotted compost will greatly improve moisture retention and soil structure, and help suppress unwanted weeds.

 

Pruning

Removal of dead branches is the only pruning recommended during the first three years after planting. Thereafter prune annually after the fruits have been harvested. Reduce stems to a pair of strong buds and cut back a fifth of the oldest stems to ground level to encourage new growth to be produced.

 

Feeding

Top dress each spring with a balanced fertilizer (such as Fruit Feed) to help promote vigorous new growth that will fruit the following year.

 

Pests & Diseases

Birds love the fruit so netting the bushes may be necessary.

 

Further Information

For further information refer to RHS Growing Fruit by Harry Baker (currently out of print but used copies can be obtained from Amazon).

 

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