Tundra zone 3 April 23, 2016Indigo Gem zone 3 April 23, 2016
Honey 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 zones 1-5
Mid zones 2-7+
Late zones 3-7+
All are Russian except for (R/K) Russian-Kuril as noted
Early, long bloom: Tundra* (R/K)(mild flavor can be eaten 1-2 weeks after bloom)
Early, short bloom: Blue Belle™ (Tomchika)
Sugar Mountain Blue™ Blue Bird™ (Sinyaya Ptitsa) -short bloom Blue Forest™ (Magadan) Blue Lightning™ (Zarnitsa) Blue Nova™ (Novinka) Smokey Blue™ (Dimka) Eisbar™ Polar Bear™ Polar Jewel™ Balalaika™ Kalinka™
Blue Banana One Early
Shortest Bloom: Blue Sky™ (Valery #2)
Early but unknown length of bloom: Jugana (Russian)
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*very uneven late ripening 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
Blue Banana Mid (Late for Russian) (ripens prior to Aurora) Mid-LateStart blooming after the first Mid varieties: Boreal Blizzard* -80% overlap with Tundra/Indigo/etc. -poor fruit set with Aurora -ripens prior to Aurora/Honey Bee
-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. All the following are Japanese unless otherwise noted as (R) for Russian.
Blue Pacific™ (F1-9-58)
Blue Pagoda™ Blue Velvet™ (Kiev No. 8)
Honey Bunch™ N/A
Sugar Pie™ N/A Taka 85-19
Honey Champion (blooms later than Blizzard but ripens earlier, uniform berries)
Bunny Blue (R)
Giant's Heart (R)
Blue Delight (R)
Strawberry Sensation (approximate)
A few days later: Blue Moon™ (Sergei) - stays greenest inside of all varieties
* 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:
zone 6a Ohio:
Indigo Gem March 19 - Apr 25
Aurora March 23 - Apr 23
Beast March 26 and is still blooming
Blizzard Apr 5 - Apr 21 (it is very very small so didn't do much yet)
zone 1b northern Saskatchewan, Canada:
-May 11 Haskap are in bloom--Indigo Gem, Tundra, and Berry Smart and Berry Blue. Aurora will be in a few days. That's about a week early for us.
04-22: Zone 5 - Sandy, UT - Tundra, Aurora and Blizzard are just starting to bloom as of a couple days ago. Beauty looks to be about a week away from blooming and the Maxine and BU Japanese varieties are only just starting to bud so they look they won't bloom for another 2 to three weeks. There wasn't quite as much spread last year. I think the heat just fooled the early ones into blooming too soon.
04-26: Zone 5 - Sandy, UT - Keiko, Tana, Strawberry Sensation and Maxie finally started to bloom here in the last couple of days. There are still some last blossoms hanging around on Blizzard, Aurora, Tundra, Borealis and Cinderella, but they are pretty much finished and have berries growing on them.
04-29: Zone 5 - Ann Arbor, MI - Czech17, aurora, boreal beast, boreal blizzard, boreal beauty, honey bee, and indigo gem are blooming. Kawai, keiko, tana are close to flowering but they have not opened yet.
05-29: Zone 5 - southern VT - late spring and a lot of overlap.
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.
2023 - winter/snow lasted until week of April 10
04-09 - week with 50F's & 60F's with above freezing temps at night
04-14 - able to dig (not much frost in ground due to early, heavy snow cover)
04-16 - week of 30F's and 40's with freezing temps at night
04-27 - light rain overnight above freezing and spring has arrived - buds about to open on earlies, 54F
05-09 - Most earlies popped out a few blossoms and starting a streak of days in the 70s.
05-14 - Earlies 75% or more bloom, Aurora/Honey Bee ~50%, Blizzard ~5%, wild juneberries
05-15 a.m. - Beast and Beauty, Bonner Valiant
05-15 p.m. - Solo, Kawai, Bonner Reliant, Pirika 88-102
05-16 p.m. - Bonner Saphire, Treasure, Triumph
05-18 - most of the late bloomers starting
05-19 - Blue Sky done, Blue Sea starting
05-23 - long blooming earlies still have some blooms, cherries in bloom
05-30 - rain, finally!
05-31 - earlies done, just a few lingering blooms on lates, none on Beast and Beauty
06-01 - Cinderella boasting first berry turned blue!
All of May 2023 was unusually warm and dry - mostly 70s & 80s
06-05 - Cedar Waxwings arrived, but only local ones, no pressure from larger flocks
06-28 - Saskatoons ripening
06-30 - First Carmine Jewel cherries red enough to pick
07-07 - Most of Aurora have turned color and been harvested, Czech #17 still good condition for shaking, Indigo Gem hanging in there but nearing end of their season, very soft, first major picking of raspberries, most of the cherries are red enough to pick, SWD starting to show up
2022 - cool wet/snowy/rainy April, only 4 sunny days, highs mostly 30s, freezing most nights
04-23 - 58F first warm day, rain helped melt the snow
04-24 - 48F buds swelling on earlies
05-03 - last hard frost, warming up to 60s and 70s
05-10 - 53F first blooms on Czech #17 & Blue Sky
05-12 - All the very earlies putting out blooms
05-15 - first blooms on Aurora and Honey Bee
05-19 - Blue Sky 90%, other earlies half or more, first blooms on Blizzard and Beast
05-22 - first bloom on Kawai and Chito (but only one or two blooms)
05-23 - Juneberries burst open (after a cooler week and the last couple light frosts)
05-26 - Blue Sky almost finished blooming, Blizzard and Beast with quite a few, Kawai 10%, Chito 1%, cherries blossoming
05-28 - Blue Sky finished, Kawai 20%, Chito 2%, 88-92 2%, Blue Moon first blossom
05-29 - 3rd day of high 70s, Beauty and all lates are starting to bloom
06-05 - Earlies pretty much finished
06-11 - Lates on their last blossoms, first purple showing on the ocassional Early bloomer
06-19&20 - 90+F followed by rain - berries plumping up!
06-21 - Some berry drop after rain/wind on Blue Sky & Blue Belle (-short bloomers), small flock Cedar Waxwings arrive and go after Czech#17
06-22 - Still some green berries on Earlies, first blue on Late bloomers
06-20 - Started picking Tundra and fast bloomers
07-03 - Started picking Indigo Gem/Czech #17, some Kawai dropping, some green berries on Kawai
07-10 - Indigo Gem still pickable, very ripe, Blizzard very ripe, Beauty & Beast ripe enough, with Aurora starting to be ripe enough but still some green berries, Carmine Jewel cherries, saskatoons (Northline a few days behind), low to mid 80's the past few days, rain today
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)
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
05-26: 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
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.