Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Honeyberries are fruit of forms of the honeysuckle Lonicera caerulea, also known as blue honeysuckle or edible honeysuckle. The fruits are very similar to blueberries in taste and looks, and can be eaten raw or used in jams and jellies. Like blueberries they are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and make an interesting addition to your fruit collection.
Honeyberry is relatively a new introduction into the UK. They are native to Siberia, northern China and northern Japan where they were widely harvested. Ideally honeyberries should be planted in pairs or groups, as this will increase the rate of pollination and fruit production. Some suppliers sell them in pairs.
Young plants only need dead material removed for the first three years while they get established. For more established honeyberries, pruning should be done in early to mid-summer after harvesting;
It may be worth considering pollination by hand to increase yield of fruit. They flower late winter to very early spring when there is little pollinating insect activity. Hand pollination can be done by lightly brushing over the flowers with a small, soft paint brush.
The fruit is harvested about late-spring early-summer. The berries turns blue and develops a whitish bloom when ripe; however check to make sure that the flesh is purple-red as green under-ripe fruits can be very sour. A mature plant can produce about 6kg of fruit. It can take up to two years before you will get a crop.
Honeyberry is easily propagated by seed; the pulp around the seed needs to be removed before they are sown in moist, warm conditions during the summer. There is no need for any cold stratification of the seed.
Using cuttings as your method of propagation gives you the ability to select material from your tastiest shrub and be certain of the sex of the cutting. Semi-ripe cutting can be taken during summer from none-fruiting stems. Hardwood cuttings can be taken in late-autumn winter.
There is little written on the differences between the forms of honeyberry (it is such a new crop) at this stage and taste can be quite variable. However, the best eating varieties are considered to be forms of Lonicera caerulea var. edulis and L. caerulea var. kamtschatica;
They are very hardy and do not generally suffer from any pest and disease.
Hazard: All honeysuckles have berries but not all of them are edible. In fact, many are potentially harmful. So check labelling and make sure you are growing the correct type.
Blackberries and hybrid berriesBlueberriesHedgerow fruitHoneysuckle (Lonicera)Goji berriesRaspberry
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9