Honeyberry – May Plant of the Month

Honeyberry is our 2024 May Plant of the Month. But what is a honeyberry? Also know as fly honeysuckle and haskaps, honeyberries are small, cigar shaped fruits which grow in colder climates where other berries do not thrive as much. The honeyberry is native to the boreal forests of Japan, Russia, and North America. In recent years, they have been cultivated more and more for their yummy fruits which taste similar to a blueberry and for their cold hardiness. As a result, there are a lot of cultivars available.

Where do honeyberries grow? In full sun or part shade here in the Central Great Plains. I have added varieties of them to different spots of my yard, to see where they may best grow. Here in Northeast Kansas, they seem to do best in full sun, but will still produce fruit in part shade. The flowers are borne in March and are visited mainly by flies, but sometimes by early foraging bees. Fruits ripen in May and June, and are quite delicious.

You can use the fruits of the honeyberry for fresh eating, jam, jelly, or ice cream. Or any place you might use blueberries or serviceberries. The plants grow 3 to 5 feet tall and wide and have small, delicate looking leaves. In autumn, the leaves turn a bright to dull yellow, edged in brown or black. If you are wanting to grow more edibles in your landscape, adding honeyberries is the perfect choice. They fit right into the shrub border.

honeyberry growing at Grimm's Gardens

Pests and Problems of Honeyberry

There are few problems associated with haskaps. The biggest in our area might be birds. Robins, thrushes, and other fruit-loving birds will go for the ripening fruit. Therefore, it may be necessary to put bird netting over the bushes in early May before the fruit ripens. Another issue, at least with other members of the honeysuckle family (native and nonnative) is the snowberry clearwing moth, whose caterpillars eat the foliage. The adult moths are called hummingbird moths for their appearance which is similar to hummers.

There are no major diseases of honeyberries, but powdery mildew can be an issue in areas of low wind and high moisture.

honeyberry fruit


While there may be more than 10 cultivars on the market, you only need 2. It is best to pick at least 2 cultivars to get cross pollination for better fruit production. Here at Grimm’s Gardens, we try to carry at least 3 varieties to choose from.


Honeyberry plants are the perfect addition to any garden where you want to add edibles. They are nutritious, delicious, and full of antioxidants. The berries are produced even trhough frosts and freezes of early spring. But you had better beat the birds to them!

Happy planting!

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