Haskap (Blue Honeysuckle - Lonicera caerulea L.)
Haskap (Blue Honeysuckle)
Also known as Blue Honeysuckle or Lonicera caerulea L., the haskap plant produces a delicious fruit that can be hard to describe. Many people describe it as a mix between raspberry and blueberry, but in our opinion it is completely unique.
The haskap berry is quickly becoming recognized as the latest super food. Its antioxidant and other health benefits are well known in places like Japan, where the berry is considered a delicacy, and scientific study is confirming the benefits of haskap. A 2008 article in the Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, for example, highlights the role haskaps can play in preventing chronic conditions like cancer and diabetes.
Because they produce fruit early in the growing season and because of their exceptional winter hardiness, Haskaps make an excellent choice for orchard owners and small scale growers alike. Haskaps can survive winter temperatures as low as -45°C and their flowers can be exposed to -7°C temperatures with no damage to the fruit.
Commercial and home growers can extend the growing season by pairing haskaps with dwarf sour cherries, saskatoon berries and other fruit crops harvested late in summer.
Haskaps are well suited to mechanical harvesting and generally produce fruit by mid-June. Commercial growers can capture more fresh market customers as a result, and home growers can enjoy a longer season of delicious fruit, pies and jams.
Haskaps are suitable for both spring and late summer/autumn planting. For the best results, plant your haskaps one to two inches deeper than the soil level of the container in which they are shipped.
Recommended Haskap Pairings
(pair a variety from the left column with one or more of the varieties in the right column)
* Companion varieties share two important characteristics. One, their pollen is compatible. And two, their flowering times match; resulting in the best pollination rate. Since Haskap are not self-polliating, each variety must be paired with at least one companion variety. *
Haskap Fruit Season
* Applicable in Saskatoon, SK (zone 2b), actual timing may vary *
** All information provided by the University of Saskatchewan Fruit Breeding Program **
Suggested Row Spacing
- Commercial growers should allow five metres (16 feet) between rows, and one metre (three feet) between each plant in a row.
- U-pick operations should allow 2.5 to three metres (eight to 10 feet) between rows and 1.5 to two metres (4.5 to six feet) between each plant in a row.
Sweet. 2.17 g
Suitable for mechanical or hand picked.
Aurora has a fruit that is larger and sweeter tasting than previously released varieties. The fully grown shrub can exceed two meters in height, and may provide full production before other varieties; an important trait for those who are eager to taste this extraordinary berry.
Aurora is fully hardy to Zone 2 and the flowers can withstand -7 C without damage. Imagine fresh fruit by the middle of June!
Sweet/tangy. 1.49 g
Mechanical harvest .
Tundra’s fruit is firm and does not bleed from the stem end when removed from the plant, making this variety suitable for mechanical harvest and Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) processing. It possesses the desired fruit shape and size to appeal to the Japanese market and rated high in the flavour testing.
Sweet/tart. 1.62 g
Hand picked/small orchards.
Borealis is noted for yielding very large fruit with excellent flavor. Its fruit has a softer, more delicate fruit than Tundra, so it may not be suitable for IQF. Borealis is an ideal option for U-Pick operations or for the home gardener.
Sweet/tart. 1.30 g
Indigo Gem produces fruit which is slightly chewier than other varieties. This unusual trait can be an advantage for some processing applications. Indigo Gem displayed a high yield at the time of selection in the field.
Tangy/tart. 1.90 g
The Honey Bee cultivar is meant to be used for pollination of the other U of S cultivars under most circumstances, especially when mechanically harvested. Honey Bee can be useful as a companion crop alongside Borealis in a handpicking operation. This is due to its tendency to hold onto the stem about 40 per cent of the time when harvested. This trait may encourage growers to use of their final product for juice, wine, or jelly rather than for an IQF product. Read More ->
This variety blooms at the same time as other Haskap varieties and has given good fruit in controlled trials. It grows quickly and delivers good yields. Mature height is expected to be approximately two feet taller than other U of S Haskap varities, but the width of the plant remains similar, thus requiring similar spacing.
Honey Bee holds onto its fruit longer than most Russian varieties. This is useful in combating losses from pesky birds, like cedar waxwings, which tend to knock off more fruit than they eat wasting the produce. This trait may also make the variety more effective when used in guard rows to help keep birds out of the preferred main varieties.
Sweet flavour. 2.80 g
Boreal Blizzard is set to be the next big thing in Haskap production with many calling it a “game changer”. This new variety will offer several advantages over previously released varieties, including: Read More ->
- With flowering set to occur one to two weeks later than the earlier flowering Haskap varieties, it will extend the harvest season up to mid-July in some locations
- The fruit has an average size of 2.8 g with some being up to 3.9 g
- Sugar is higher with preliminary results at the University of Saskatchewan showing a 13.3 Brix
- Flavour has been rated as excellent
- Plants are fast growing and strong
- Superior mildew resistance
- Heavy productivity
Boreal Blizzard should be paired with Boreal Beast for the best pollination rate. Tundra, Honey Bee and Indigo Gem are also suitable companion varieties to Boreal Blizzard that will result in good pollination in most years.
Sweet flavour. 2.60 g
Selected for its VERY late harvest period, Boreal Beauty is changing the way people view the traditional Haskap season. It’s very late blooming/harvest characteristic means it will be harvested after Saskatoon Berries and just before or during Dwarf Sour Cherry season. This extended Haskap season is very attractive to Haskap growers. Here are few characteristics of Boreal Beauty: Read More ->
- Boreal Beauty typically begins flowering in late May and the berries are harvestable in early to mid-August. Such a late harvest period is very rare among Haskap varieties
- Boreal Beauty should be paired with Boreal Beast for the best pollination rate. Boreal Blizzard can also be paired with Boreal Beauty but it is somewhat unclear if the flowering period will overlap enough for adequate pollination
- The fruit has an average size of 2.6 g with some as large as 3.7 g
- Berries are thicker and more compact than Boreal Blizzard
- Flavour is rated as excellent
- Plant is fast growing and has the strongest branches
- Heavy productivity
High sugar content.
Excellent flavour. 2.06 g
Strong upright growth, good productivity.
Boreal Beast is the newest of the new Haskap variety to be released. It was specially selected for its long flowering season. It begins flowering when Boreal Blizzard begins and ends when Boreal Beauty ends. This means it is rated as the best companion variety to both Boreal Blizzard and Boreal Beauty. The berry is also considered large at a 2.06 g average and the flavour is rated as excellent.
- Boreal Beast should be paired with Boreal Blizzard and/or Boreal Beauty for the best pollination rate.
- Most growers choose to have all three in their orchards to maximize pollination.
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