Thursday, August 12, 2010

Edible Blue Honeysuckle - Haskaps and Honeyberries

Haskap - Honeyberry - Zhimolost plants for sale!!!


Click on for more information. Orders/further questions can be directed to me at and we will ship upon request.  We would also love to hear from anyone who already has experience growing Edible Blue Honesuckles (EBH), known as Haskap in Japan & Canada, Honeyberry in the USA, and Zhimolost in Russia!

Berries on haskap bush in Japan (courtesy Haskap Central Sales)

How I discovered Haskap
Early this spring I (Bernis) ordered two honeyberry plants from a garden magazine - Blue Velvet and Blue Moon. The Blue Velvet grew about ten inches this summer and the supplier sent me a voucher to replace the Blue Moon which did not grow from the bare root stalk which they had sent. Talking with others from my area, out of ten bare roots from this supplier, half did well, the other half did not do so well.

Blue Velvet Honeyberry from bare root, planted in spring 2010
 10" growth first year, no blossoms
Later this spring while visiting my family in Saskatchewan I did a search on the internet for cold hardy fruit and discovered haskap - a variety of the same blue honeysuckle plant that I had found in the garden magazines.

Haskap, however, had been bred right there at the University of Saskatchewan, with great results. The Canadians are calling their varieties haskap, after the Japanese name, because their plants are meeting the high quality standards of the Japanese market.

Within days I had the opportunity to get personally aquainted with the purple berry plant. I was delighted to find them growing in a couple of friends' gardens and was able to sample this exotic fruit. My first impression was "tangy", but then the flavor turned "sweet" and the berry melted in my mouth.

Haskap berries in Japan (courtesy Haskap Central Sales)
I was fascinated by the potential of this new plant so looked into it some more and visited a propagation nursery just outside of Saskatoon. I saw how they grow clones of the mother plant by snipping less than an inch off the tip of new growth and nurturing them in some sort of growth stimulant until roots are formed. The young shoots are later placed in small containers of peat moss to continue growing. The plants I saw were about a foot tall, and consisted of one stalk. I am told that if you plant this at least 4" deep in the fall, multiple shoots will come up in the spring, greatly improving the future productivity of the plant.

I look forward to cultivating haskap and enjoying the many health and culinary benefits of this berry, as do the Chinese, Japanese & Russians! I found this posting at

Posted by Anutichek 4-5( on Thu, May 27, 10 at 0:16

I'm from Siberia living in Chicago now, and Honeyberries are very dear to my heart. after a long search I 've found out their name in English and very excited to plant them in my garden. Several people were asking about their taste, well from the first person experience they are wonderful. they are the first of the edible berries to ripen. in the place people grew their own food, berries so early in season are treasured. they do have bitterness in them, but it is not unpleasant, it actually adds the sophistication to their flavor. in my home country, people usually just eat them fresh while they last ( as they're believed to be full of vitamins)and freeze them whole for later. I would recommend everybody interested to give them a try. the bushes do have ornamental interest as well. Depending on the variety some have more silvery leaves, and others have larger fruits which look beautifully on the bush, but again form my experience, the best tasting fruits come from a regular green leaved variety with smaller fruits, which have more of that bitter taste compared to the larger sweeter honeyberries.

1 comment:

  1. Do you have any of your own varieties you've bred?

    Check out my haskap blog at