Honeyberry Fruit
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Tundra zone 3 April 23, 2016Indigo Gem zone 3 April 23, 2016 2016-04-23 Honey Bee.jpgHoney Bee zone 3 April 23, 2016Borealis zone 3 April 30, 2012

Note that all plants on this page are of the species Lonicera caerulea L. whether they go by the name haskap, honeyberry, or Yezberry®. In general, "honeyberry" refers to subspecies such as edulis of Russian origin, "haskap" to subspecies with some emphyllocalyx / Japanese origin, and Yezberry® of pure emphyllocalyx / Japanese origin. It matters not so much what they are called, but matching the bloom times is critical, as most varieties need a companion for pollination.
 


Haskap/Honeyberry Bloom Chart
observations from zone 3, northern Minnesota and zone 2, U of Saskatchewan bloom times and compatability chart plus data from internet sources
Please note that in warmer zones, early bloomers may break dormancy during a winter warm-up, and suffer from subsequent hard freezes, whereas late bloomers will bide their time until spring truly arrives. That is why late bloomers are recommended for zones 6-9.

Early Mid Late
Tundra*
Followed a few days later by:
Indigo Gem*
Indigo Treat*


Russian varieties such as:
Blue Belle™ (Tomchika)
Cinderella (Zoluska)
Berry Smart Blue
(aka Czech #17/Berry Blue™/
Honeysweet™) -long bloom
Sugar Mountain Blue™ (fast bloom from Czech Republic)
Svetlana
Blue Bird™ (Sinyaya Ptitsa) -short bloom
Blue Forest™ (Madagan)
Blue Lightning™ (Zarnitsa)
Blue Nova™ (Novinka)
Blue Sky™ (Valery #2) -short bloom
Smokey Blue™ (Dimka)
Eisbar™
Polar Bear™
Polar Jewel™
Balalaika™
Kalinka™

Japanese:
Early Blue™ & Sunrise™
(at U Kentucky trials they bloom alongside Borealis
in USDA zones 2-5 Mid varieties overlap 90-95% with most early bloomers for good pollination (except when early bloomer has short bloom time):
Aurora*
Borealis*
Honey Bee* - zone 4 and warmer starts several days later, zone 8 Netherlands starts concurrant or a bit later than Blizzard or even after Beauty, depending on year

Mid-Late Start blooming after the first Mid varieties:

Boreal Blizzard*
-80% overlap with Tundra/Indigo/etc.
-poor fruit set with Aurora
-Honey Bee is compatible

Boreal Beast*
-starts same as Blizzard
-stops 5-7 days later than Blizzard (U of S data)


Mid-Latest
Boreal Beauty*
-starts 4-5 days later than Blizzard/Beast start some years

zone 6b, 2021 Pennsylvania: April 11 Blizzard/Beast/Beauty blooming, no lates are blooming
zone 6b, 2021 Pennsylvania: April 19 Solo/Maxie/etc/Bunny Blue/Strawberry Sensation blooming, Beauty finishing
zone 7a, 2021 Layton, Utah: end of April Beauty started blooming, Solo a couple days later
zone 3, 2019 Minnesota: Beauty starts a week after Aurora/Blizzard/Beast start
zone 2 Saskatoon, SK: Beauty starts 4-5 days after Aurora/Blizzard stop and some years starts 1 week after Tundra/Indigo stops (U of S data)


In zone 3 Minnesota first late bloomers start in middle towards end of Mids and towards end of long blooming Earlies.

Solo™
Kawai
Blue Mist™

a few days later followed by:

Keiko
Maxie™
Tana

Blue Hokkaido™
Blue Pacific™ (F1-9-58)
Blue Pagoda™
Blue Velvet™ (Kiev No. 8)

Then:
Honey Bunch™
Sugar Pie™
Taka
85-19
Pirika (Thompson)
Strawberry Sensation (approximate)
& Bunny Blue, Blue Treasure, Giant's Heart etc (Berries Unlimited)


A few days later:
Blue Moon™ (Sergie) -stays greenest of all varieties
Blue Sea™

* University of Saskatchewan release
Note that there may be considerable overlap betweend ajacent bloom times in zones 1-3, and less overlap in warmer zones.
More overlap occurs during calm, dry weather as wind and rain may take down the last blossoms of any earlier bloomers.

Selections that are known to be somewhat self pollinating:
Aurora
Indigo Gem
Solo™



Bloom Data from Zone 3, Bagley, MN (The Honeyberry Farm)
- note that honeyberries send out a few initial early blossoms, dates noted below, but can take up to 3 weeks for all blossoms to open, depending on variety and weather.

2017 "Blossom Tour May 14
Picture Gallery
04-17: early - first blossoms (1% blossoms open on bushes)
04-26: ice for 2 days (3% open)
05-04: early - full bloom, mid - some bloom
05-10: early - mid in full bloom, Solo 20% bloom, Maxie 0%
05-17: early - mid 10-30% finishing, Solo 100% in bloom, Maxie and other late bloomers ~50% in bloom
06-05: first early berries turn purple
06-16: 70% early berries turned blue
06-25: started harvesting early berries Berry Blue, Indigo Gem, Tundra
06-28: started Borealis harvest
07-10: Aurora and Honey Bee ripening
07-13: harvested Maxie 15 Brix (nicely ripe)
07-16: harvested Honey Bee (very ripe but still fairly firm and very good)


2018
05-06: Tundra/Indigo Gem
05-08: other very early varieties
05-13: up to 75% blooms open on early varieties
05-14: Borealis, Honey Bee and Solo(TM) blossoms open
05-15: a lot of blossom drop on early varieties indicating good pollination
05-16: Kawai(TM)
05-26: Berry Smart Blue, Aurora, Borealis, Honey Bee, Tundra and Indigos 95% or more done, Thompson plants still blooming


2019 - long cool April, bloomed quickly when weather hit 50s F and nights above freezing in mid May
05-09: Berry Smart Blue (aka Czech #17), Blue Bird, Indigo Gem
05-12: All early varieties, bumble bees buzzing
05-14: Aurora, Borealis, Honey Bee, Blizzard (also Nanking Cherry)
05-20: Beauty (data on Beast unavailable) (apricot) - all honeyberry bushes still have some unopened blossoms
05-20: native Amelanchier alnifolia - juneberries (Canadian saskatoons still not open)
05-23: Blue Mist, Kawai, Solo, 85-19
05-25: Maxie, Tana
05-27: Chito, Honey Bunch, 85-19, Pirika, Taka, Sugar Pie, Blue Moon, Blue Hokkaido, Blue Pagoda, (Juliet cherry)
05-28: Keiko, (Carmine Jewel cherry)
06-02: Earlies 90% finished, Boreal Blizzard/Beauty/Beast and other lates full bloom
06-06: Carmine Jewel cherries 90% finished, Evans full bloom
06-07: First purple berries on Cinderella, Sugar Mountain Blue, Tundra (but very few)
06-10: Lates 95% finished

2020 - mild winter, cool April until 04-25 when weather hit 50s F followed by 2 weeks 40s
04-26: 60's F 05-01: Tundra, Berry Smart Blue (aka Czech #17) followed by slow down - cool days in 40's & 50's F
05-05: Earlies all have a few blossoms open, Aurora & Honey Bee do not
05-10: Aurora/Honey Bee start
05-14: 60's F - Blizzard starts, Czech #17 around 50%
05-17: Most earlies still around 50%, Aurora followed by Honey Bee <50%
05-18: native Amelanchier alnifolia - juneberries (Canadian saskatoons still not open)
05-18: Blizzard/Beast/Beauty 10%+ blossoms
05-18: first Blue Velvet(TM), Blue Mist(TM), Solo(TM) blossoms but many more to come
05-20: Blizzard/Beast/Beauty lots of blossoms, Kawai(TM) and Solo(TM) 10% or more, just one or two on any of the other Thompson late bloomers
06-21: Picking Cinderella, Tundra
06-25: Picking Berry Smart Blue, Indigo Gem
06-28: Picking Borealis


2021 - extremely mild winter, normal April with most days above freezing, some nights to 20F,
03-01to26: 40's to 50's F,
03-27: All earlies and early/mids showing some green tip
03-29: 73F
03-31: 29F
04-01to24: 30's to 50's F daytime, freezing nights
04-25to29: 45F,40F,57F,68F,61F, freezing nights
04-30: 55F Tundra first blossom
05-01: 84F most Earlies showing an open blossom
05-02: 73F Earlies 5% or more and the rest very soon to follow, Aurora, Borealis, Honey Bee 1%
05-03to11: 50's-60's day, freezing nights down to 27F
05-12: Earlies up to 90% bloom, Mids 60% or more, Blizzard well in bloom, Beast and Beauty a few blooms, Solo/Kawai 1st bloom
05-13: juneberries/saskatoons in bloom
05-16: Early fast bloomers almost done, Mids in full bloom, Beauty quite a few, Solo/Kawai a few, other Thompson ones a bloom here or there, soon to bloom.
05-17: All Thompson's have some blossoms open except for 85-19 and 91-95 Taka, Romeo cherries in full bloom
05-19: Early long blooms still have 10% blossoms, Mids past full bloom, Lates all in good bloom. Meader cherries, Carmine Jewel cherry in full bloom. Saskatoons in bloom: Martin almost done, Northline, Lee 3, Lee 8, JB30, Honeywood, Smoky done, Thiessen done
05-23: Most long blooming earlies and the mids have a few lingering blossoms, Lates in full bloom. Aronia in bloom.
05-25: Very strong wind took down last of early and mid blooms, some late blooms still hanging on.
05-27: 27F did not bother blooms or berries but reduced crop of tart cherries and currants. Saskatoons OK.
05-31: Still 5% ragged late blooms hanging on. First touch of purple appearing on Cinderella and Blue Belle.
06-01: Other earlies beginning to turn light shade of purple, only a berry or two per bush.
06-08: Earlies: all have some purple berries, Blue Sky has the most, Mids: Aurora/Honey Bee starting to turn purple. American highbush cranberry and wild roses blooming.
06-11: Blizzard/Beast first purple berry & Dr. Thompsons starting to turn purple (just one or two per bush) - unusually hot and dry spring, in 90s this past week.

Lonicera caerulea L. typically blossom over a 2-3 week period, with blossoms opening throughout this time, dependent on weather. That is why not all berries ripen at the same time. Cool weather prolongs the bloom season, while warm weather shortens it. In zones 3 and colder, where spring bursts upon us fairly quickly, there can be a fair bit of overlap between adjacent categories with a difference of just a couple of days. Here in northern Minnesota, the late bloomers usually begin blossoming during the last week of the early bloomers. However, heavy winds and rain may take down early blossoms while not affecting the unopened buds of later blossoming cultivars.

Age of plant affects bloom time. Older bushes will blossom sooner and produce larger berries than young plants.

Some varieties like Borealis and Honey Bee may send out a few early blossoms but delay full bloom, indicated by another category. In 2016 at the U of Saskatchewan, Boreal Beast started blooming 4-5 days earlier than Boreal Beauty, but finished at the same time*.

While we attempt to categorize each selection according to its bloom time, we can't guarantee they will perform the same in all locations. We are still gathering feedback regarding bloom times in different zones and grower feedback is much appreciated. Note that variation exists in the Early category but sufficient overlap occurs to be very compatible both in blossom and ripening for zones 1-4. Borealis and Honey Bee blossom just a few days later but taste better a few days to a week or more later.

Initial reports indicate that Borealis did NOT overlap with Early Bloomers in zone 6, 2016.