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Having trouble with blueberries? Try honeyberries instead.

Troy Rhodes

Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 417
I love blueberries. I live in Michigan and there are plenty of places that grow blueberries commercially. Naturally, I planted a dozen plants of three different varieties so I could grow my own. They all languished for two years. One after another died. I have grown a pretty successful garden for 30 years, so I have some skill with plants, but this stumped me. Prior to planting, the soil was amended with 1/3 peat moss for the acidity, 1/3 compost and 1/3 native soil. Never looked good. Failure to thrive. Chlorotic. They got watered regularly the first season. I added some soil acidifier at the beginning of the second season. They got a couple dressings with compost. They still looked very sad.

Finally I gave up and ripped them out.

Put in Honeyberry instead. There are various vendors, but I got the new sweeter varieties that originate from University of Saskatchewan. Planted them two weeks ago in the same spots as the removed blueberries. Soil amended with, basically, Mell's mix. 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, 1/3 soil. POW! Took off like gangbusters pumping out new leaves faster than the blueberries ever did.

Curiously, I had two blueberries that were still alive. Sad, but alive. I transplanted them about 20 feet further south. They were on the flat part of my front yard. After the move they are on the steep bank that fronts the highway. I planted them in a trench on contour and backfilled with more Mel's mix. POW, they greened up and took off. Very odd...

So if you're struggling with blueberries, try something different, and perhaps less fussy about soil type.

I got mine from:

I have no relationship to them, blah blah blah.

Glad to see something thriving in that spot.

Finest regards,


Ben Stallings

Joined: Mar 26, 2012
Posts: 142
Location: Emporia, KS
Have you had any berries from the bushes yet? I'm on my third year with honeyberry bushes, and I haven't seen so much as a flower.
Troy Rhodes

Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 417

But I just planted them 2-3 weeks ago.

"Normal" is a small crop the second year and a good crop the 3rd or 4th year.

You have to have more than one cultivar, so they say, to get good (or maybe any) production.

How big are your bushes?

What variety did you plant?

Do you prune them?

The berries are only produced on 1 year old wood.


Brenda Groth

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
i have 10 blueberry babies and 2 honeyberry babies..and I will admit that although they are TINY the honeyberries do have more and greener leaves than my blueberries, but blueberries are later here than the honeysuckle family (as my honeysuckles have flowers opening now and it is snowing out)


Bloom where you are planted.
Troy Rhodes

Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 417
My honeyberries have been in the ground for all of 3 weeks, and they are leafing out nicely. I was out tonight spreading a nice ring of compost around each plant, AKA the magic ring of fertility, and I noticed the crazy buggers have blossoms on them. I should probably pinch them off, but holy cow!

Anyway, this is further testimony to the high quality plants from the University of Saskatchewan.

Finest regards,


subject: Having trouble with blueberries? Try honeyberries instead.