Haskap plants and Honeyberry explained



Blue Honeysuckle

(gen. Lonicera caerulea L.), Haskap (var. Lonicera emphyllocalyx) , Honeyberry (Russian subsp./var. edulis and kamtschatic)

(Haskap is from the Japanese gene, the following are Russian Gene. Lonicera is the Honeysuckle Genus- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeysuckle , caerulea is the species of Lonicera, emphyllocalyx is the variety of L.caerulea (Lonicera caerulea var. emphyllocalyx), Lonicera caerulea var. edulis & kamtschatic.
Haskap Berries
Haskap is an amazingly hardy, fast growing, high yielding, great tasting berry bush that is relatively new to North America.



Frost tolerant flowers Early picking Winter kill proof -40 Japanese markets Organic production High Anti-oxidant levels
Mechanical harvesting Exceptional taste Native pollinators Canadian development (Russian) U.S of A. development (Japanese) Extended growing season


Sweetest, best tasting, best for fresh eating, good for u pick and home gardener, high yield (10+ lbs), largest fruit (1.62g), bleeds more, 5’ – 6’ mature. Pollinate with Svetlana, Indigo Gem (doesn’t set as many seeds and berries don’t seem to be as large), Berry Blue and Aurora.  USDA zone 2-8, Early blooming. Mature height 4-6′.

Tundra (9-84)

“Trunda” Haskap was developed in Canada as opposed to honeyberries which originated in Russia. Haskap is more heat tolerant and therefore more suited to the United States. Another attribute is that Haskap has a more pleasing flavor to Americans in general; whereas the Russian derived honeyberry is often viewed as bitter. Borealis and Tundra are both Haskap.

Sweet – tangy taste, good flavor, firm texture, best-suited for commercial/mechanical harvest. Breeders pick for commercial growers, high yields, large fruit (1.49g), 5’ – 6’ mature.  In an open air 5 day test this berry kept longer than Borealis. Pollinate with Svetlana, Aurora, Berry Blue.


A “pollinator variety” implies that it is not as desirable as the “main variety”. In the case of commercial growers using mechanical harvesters ‘Tundra ‘and possibly ‘Indigo Gem’ are more durable in machinery and would be considered the “main varieties” and ‘Honey Bee’ would be the “pollinator variety”. In the case of a homeowner growing ‘Borealis’, perhaps ‘Honey Bee’ might be considered just as desirable and both would could be called “companion varieties”. But both need each other to set fruit. B,T,I do not pollinate each other well because they are siblings.

Svetlana (Pollinator)

A cross between Berry Blue and Blue Belle, University of Saskatchewan pollinizer pick, will pollinate up to 8 Tundra or Borealis placed in a square formation around it. Medium sized, sweet berries. 10+ pounds of berries on mature plants. USAD zone 2. Early blooming. Mature height 8 feet.

Honeybee (Pollinator)

‘Honeybee’ is also a hybrid between a variety from Russia (Suvenir) and a variety descendant from the Kuril Islands (F-1-9-58 alias ‘Blue Pacific’). One of the few good producers at 2 years old, best choice because its bloom time coincides with B, T. Although it has not been tested, it should be a good pollinator for the ‘Indigo’ series too. Holds stems and maybe good for guard row planting (outer row) so the birds will work longer on removing the berry. It is one of the cultivars that holds its fruit longer than most Russian varieties and remains on the bush longer, excellent for juice. Most Russian blue honeysuckles varieties drop their fruit as soon as ripe in late June or early July, but not ‘Honey Bee’.

Berry Smart Blue™ (Pollinator)

This is a vigorous cultivar that grows to 6-8 ft. tall. It flowers much the same time as the U. of S. cvs. so we are recommending it as the pollinator for the U. of S. cvs. Berry Blue fruit are smaller (0.6 g) than the Haskaps listed above but they have good flavor, and are good for making jam. http://www.prairietechpropagation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56:haskaps&catid=15:plant-list

Berry Blue™ (Czech no. 17 cv. Or P17) Not available to HI, US Territories, or Canada.

One of the most vigorous growing honeyberries, reaching 8 feet in height. Berry Blue™ ripens abundant crops of large, tasty, dark berries. Initially recommended as the pollinator because it was fast growing, tall and made many flowers. “Berries appear to be able to handle some handling without damage so this variety may lend itself to fresh picked commercial and home garden applications. Flavor – plum with a subtle sweet essence.” – http://www.phytocultures.com/catalogue_details.asp?id=78

Indigo Series

Indigo Treat (9-91)

Fruit have good firmness, making them a suitable processing cultivar. Berry size is 1.41 g, slightly smaller than Tundra. “Commercial Impression: Yield a bit lower than INDIGO GEM, however, flavour is more appealing, appearance, growth habit and berry handling characteristics indicate INDIGO TREAT is another strong variety candidate for commercial enterprises and home gardening.” – http://www.phytocultures.com/catalogue_details.asp?id=78

Indigo Yum (9-92)

Indigo Yum has been described as a smaller version of Tundra (1.29 g fruit). It has firm fruit, so it can withstand the rigors of mechanical harvesting. Berries of 9-92 are more stretched than the other 9 series haskaps.

Indigo Gem (9-15)

The fruit of this cultivar are small (1.29 g) and have a chewy texture, possibly indicating a more durable fruit.   Indigo Gem is a productive cultivar that is good for processing. Initial testing showed that ‘Indigo Gem’ was a good pollinator for B,T but the berries did not seem to be as big, indicating partial seed set in the berries. For most fruit, the number of seeds that set inside a fruit is proportional to fruit size.  “Commercial Impression: Based on yield, flavor, appearance, growth habit and berry handling characteristics indicate INDIGO GEM is a strong variety candidate for commercial enterprises and home gardening.” http://www.phytocultures.com/catalogue_details.asp?id=78

6 Replies to “Haskap plants and Honeyberry explained”

  1. I just bought my first Honeyberry plant (Svetlana) and I was wondering if I need another one to pollinate? Should it be another Svetlana or I should look for a different variety? How close together should they be?


    Donna from Niagara region

    1. Hi Donna!

      You have to pollinate with a different Honeyberry. Remember that they must be of a different DNA to correctly pollinate. The Svetlana can be a pollinizer for Borealis, Tundra or Indigo Gem. We plant a mix of these and use the Aurora, Honey Bee, Berry Smart Blue and Svetlana to pollinate.

  2. you are amazing young lady! Really enjoyed seeing your place this last Sunday, Don will probably be over soon again, now that there is a another true beleiver close by!


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