Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx, Japanese Honeyberry
Zone
  3a (2)
Pollination
  self-sterile and sibling incompatibility spp
Blooms
(overall) early (hardy)
Chill Hours
  800 - 1200 spp
pH
  5 to 7 (preferred), 4.5 to 8 (acceptable), up to 8.5 (tolerable) spp
Yield
  light crop as soon as next year (clone) spp

Japanese honeyberries are native to Hokkaido (northern Japan) and the Kuril islands.   Rainfall varies between 2" to 5.5" per month during the grow season and 1" to 2" throughout dormancy.   The average peak temperature of the year is around 79F (26.1C) on most of Hokkaido but can be as low as 60F (15.6C) on the Kuril islands.




Lonicera caerulea var kamtschatica, Russian Honeyberry
Zone
  1
Pollination
  self-sterile and sibling incompatibility spp
Blooms
(overall) very early (hardy)
Chill Hours
  800 - 1200 spp
pH
  5 to 7 (preferred), 4.5 to 8 (acceptable), up to 8.5 (tolerable) spp
Yield
  light crop as soon as next year (clone) spp

Russian honeyberries are native to Kamchatka and other nearby federal subjects of Russia.   Rainfall varies between 1" to 3.5" per month during the grow season and 0.3" to 2" throughout dormancy.   The average peak temperature of the year is between 63F (17.2C) to 73F (22.8C).




Lonicera caerulea var edulis, Kurile Honeyberry
Zone
  2
Pollination
  self-sterile and sibling incompatibility spp
Blooms
(overall) early (hardy), slightly later than emphyllocalyx
Chill Hours
  800 - 1200 spp
pH
  5 to 7 (preferred), 4.5 to 8 (acceptable), up to 8.5 (tolerable) spp
Yield
  light crop as soon as next year (clone) spp

One source implies that Kurile honeyberries belong to the Lonicera caerulea var. edulis variety, but this may be incorrect.  Many cultivars I list, particularly the lesser known ones, were placed in a variety group based mostly on their bloom time, since there isn't much information to work with.  Russian cultivars appear to always bloom early, and Japanese cultivars bloom late.  Kurile cultivars bloom slightly later than the Japanese, but they are often referred to as Russian by nurseries.   University papers, however, often refer to some of these late blooming "Russian" cultivars as Kurile.




Lonicera, honeyberry
  (additional notes)
The flowers of all three subspecies (varieties) can survive temperatures somewhere between 17F and 20F.  Early blooming honeyberries (the Russian variant kamtschatica) cannot be grown in regions that regularly experience above freezing temperatures for roughly a week or more during the winter.  That is warm enough to wake them up from dormancy.

Honeyberries prefer cool summer, wet climates and lower elevations.  They are quite susceptible to powdery mildew and sunburn in warm summer, wet climates.  This is especially true for the Russian variety but less so for the Japanese variety.  Since honeyberries mature early in the season (around strawberries), the worst of it usually happens after harvest.  

Fairly wet soils are tolerated.  They are often found growing in marshes and river beds, but rumor is they perform better in well-drained soils.

Honeyberries look ripe from the outside 2-3 weeks before they actually are.  Some cultivars will turn dark blue inside when they are fully ripe, others will remain green.  Mature berries can hang on the bush for 1 to 2 months in cool summer climates before they become overripe.  Smaller berries may dehydrate before then.



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Japanese Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var emphyllocalyx

Blue Mist

buy
Selected in Oregon
Zone
:
3a
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late

tart?

Blue Treasure

buy
Zone
:
2 (3a)
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late (very late)
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

sweet-tart?

Giant's Heart

buy
Zone
:
2 (3a)
Blooms
:
mid-late
Ripens
:
mid-late
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

sweet-tart?

Keiko

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late
Size
:
6ft W x 6ft H

sweet-tart?

Tana

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
:
mid-late
Ripens
:
mid-late (late)
Size
:
6ft W x 6ft H

sweet-tart?

Yezberry Honey Bunch

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late
Size
:
5ft tall

Yezberry "Honey Bunch" has a fairly deceptive description.   It is often mentioned for being "very sweet" but it doesn't specifically say that it's sweeter than the other Yezberries (nor is it likely "very sweet", perhaps sweet-tart at best, but I could be wrong.   Results should come in from home-growers in mid-2019 or 2020).   This is different from the other Yezberry descriptions since they focus on one specific quality and make it clear that it's superior to the others in this way, but they do no such thing for "Honey Bunch".

sweet-tart?

Yezberry Maxie

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late
Size
:
6ft tall

Yezberry Maxie produces the largest berries within the Yezberry series (no details are given).

sweet-tart/tart?

Yezberry Solo

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Blooms
:
mid-late
Ripens
:
mid-late (late)
Size
:
6ft tall

sweet-tart/tart?
partially self-fertile

Yezberry Sugar Pie

buy
Zone
:
3a (2)
Size
:
3 to 4ft tall, dwarf

Sugar Pie produces the smallest bush within the Yezberry series.   It is one of the smaller bushes outside of the series as well.

sweet-tart/tart?

Spp Honeyberry
Lonicera spp

Aurora

buy
Solovey (Russian) x MT46.55 (Japanese).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2012).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid (mid)
Size
:
5.5ft W x 5.5ft H, 2.17 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.

Aurora appears to be, by far, the sweetest and most liked out of the older honeyberry cultivars available in North America.   Some of the newer cultivars being released in the mid to late 2010's are likely superior, but results on them from home-growers may not come in until mid-2019 or 2020.

sweet-tart, partially self-fertile

Blue Cloud

buy
Blooms
:
mid-late
Ripens
:
mid-late

tart?

Blue Dessert

buy
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid

sweet-tart?

Boreal Beast

buy
(Kiev #7 (Kurile) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian))) x MT46.55 (Japanese).  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2015).
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
mid-late (mid)
Ripens
:
mid-late (late)
Size
:
2 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.

sweet-tart/sweet?

Boreal Beauty

buy
37.5% Japanese, 37.5% Russian, 25% Kurile.  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada 2014.
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late (mid-late)
Ripens
:
late (very late)
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H. 2.6 g/berry, some can get up to 3.7 grams.
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and sunburn.

sweet-tart?

Boreal Blizzard

buy
Japanese x Russian, closely related to Aurora (implying same parentage).  Selected in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2014).
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
mid-late (mid)
Ripens
:
mid-late (mid)
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H. 2.8g/berry, some can get up to 3.9 grams.
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew and sunburn.

sweet-tart?

Borealis

buy
Kiev #8 (Blue Velvet (Kurile)) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian)).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
6ft W x 5ft H. 1.6 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn.  Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.

In-spite of its popularity (probably because it's often associated with Aurora), Borealis has a fairly poor reputation when it comes to fresh eating.   Aurora is, perhaps, the only older cultivar that is recommended by homegrowers.   Some of the newer cultivars sound promising as well.

tart

Honey Bee

buy
Suvenir (Russian) x Blue Pacific (Kurile).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2011).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid (mid)
Size
:
6ft tall, 1.9 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.

Honey Bee was selected to be a pollinator for Tundra, Borealis, and the Indigo series (3) because those five are closely related (have the same parentage) and struggle to pollinate each other.   Honeybee is considered to be quite tart with a hint of bitterness or astringency.   In addition, roughly half of its fruit hang on to the stem when picked, making it a rather poor cultivar for fresh eating.

precocious

Honey Gin

buy
Blooms
:
early?
Ripens
:
early?

sweet-tart/sweet?

Indigo Gem

buy
Kiev #8 (Blue Velvet (Kurile)) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian)).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
5 to 6ft tall, 1.3 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.  Very susceptible to sunburn.

Indigo Gem may be more productive than most others when growing on heavy clay soil, but more testing needs to be done.

sweet-tart/tart, partially self-fertile

Indigo Treat

buy
Kiev #8 (Blue Velvet (Kurile)) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian)).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
5ft tall, 1.4 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn and powdery mildew.

tart

Indigo Yum

buy
Kiev #8 (Blue Velvet (Kurile)) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian)).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
1.29 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.  Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.

Indigo Yum is harder to find because it's difficult to propagate.

Strawberry Sensation

buy
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late (very late)
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

Apparently named after its alpine strawberry aftertaste.   I have not seen anyone confirm this yet.

sweet-tart/tart?

Tundra

buy
Kiev #8 (Blue Velvet (Kurile)) x Tomichka (Blue Belle (Russian)).  Released in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (2007).
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
6ft W x 5ft H. 1.5 g/berry
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to powdery mildew.  Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.

tart

Vostorg

buy
Blooms
:
mid
Ripens
:
early-mid

Vostorg did as well as Aurora in a German? taste test, but it may be on the tart side.

sweet-tart/tart?

Russian Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var kamtschatica

Bakczarskaja Jubilejnaja

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early

tart?

Berry Blue

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
up to 8ft tall
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to sunburn and powdery mildew.

Berry Blue can bloom for up to 2 months.

tart / astringent

Blue Banana

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early-mid
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

sweet-tart/sweet?

Blue Belle

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.  Susceptible to powdery mildew.

tart

Blue Bird

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
6ft tall

tart?

Blue Lightning

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft tall

tart?

Blue Moose

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

sweet-tart?

Blue Nova

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
4ft tall, dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn and powdery mildew.

tart?

Blue Palm

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early (early-mid)
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft W x 5ft H

tart

Blue Sky

buy
Zone
:
1
Size
:
4ft tall, dwarf

tart?

Cinderella

buy
Bred in Siberia
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft tall
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

sweet-tart?

Doc's Velikana

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early-mid

sweet-tart?

Happy Giant

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
5ft W x 6ft H

tart

Honey Delight

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early

sweet-tart?

Smokey Blue

buy
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
4ft tall, dwarf

tart?

Sugar Mountain Blue

buy
Developed in the Czech Republic
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early
Size
:
6ft tall
Afflictions
:
Susceptible to powdery mildew.

sweet-tart?

Wojtek

buy
Developed in Poland?
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
5ft W x 6ft H

tart

Zojka

buy
Developed in Poland?
Zone
:
1
Blooms
:
early
Ripens
:
early-mid
Size
:
6ft W x 5ft H

sweet-tart/sweet?

Kurile Honeyberry
Lonicera caerulea var edulis

Blue Forest

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
3ft tall, dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn.  Somewhat susceptible to powdery mildew.

Blue Forest produces one of the smallest honeyberry bushes.   I have not seen any other varieties described as growing up to only 3ft tall (4ft is semi-common and 5-6ft is most common).

tart?

Blue Hokkaido

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
5ft tall

tart?

Blue Moon

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
5ft tall

tart / lacks flavor

Blue Pacific

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Afflictions
:
Somewhat resistant to sunburn and powdery mildew.

tart?

Blue Pagoda

buy
Zone
:
2
Size
:
5ft tall

tart?

Blue Sea

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
dwarf

Blue Sea is supposedly a shorter bush, but no height is given.

tart?

Blue Velvet

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
6ft W x 4ft H, dwarf
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn.  Susceptible to powdery mildew.

tart / lacks flavor

Kamchatka

buy
Zone
:
2
Blooms
:
late
Ripens
:
late?
Size
:
6ft tall
Afflictions
:
Somewhat susceptible to sunburn and powdery mildew.

tart