closeup of honeyberries

How to prune a honeyberry

Honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea) are hardy, deciduous shrubs that make an excellent addition to kitchen gardens and have plenty of ornamental value too. The sweet fruits can be eaten straight from the plant or added to cakes, pies and preserves. Similar to blueberries, they flower and fruit on wood that is a year old, or more. Here’s how to prune your honeyberry bush to ensure a bumper crop each year. 

When to prune honeyberries

Lonicera kamtschatica 'Kalinka' from Thompson & Morgan

Prune your honeyberry shrub immediately after it has finished fruiting in June
Image: Lonicera kamtschatica 'Kalinka' from Thompson & Morgan

Most varieties of honeyberry will take two to three years to establish before they start to produce fruit. Other than removing any dead or misplaced stems, it’s best to leave them alone for the first three years.

Once your honeyberry is established it should be pruned annually each June, as soon as you’ve harvested the ripe fruits. 

How to prune your honeyberry

Lonicera caerulea var. Kamtschatica from Thompson & Morgan

Remove the tips of young shoots to encourage more flowering laterals
Image: Lonicera caerulea var. Kamtschatica from Thompson & Morgan

  • Once you’ve harvested the ripe fruit in early summer, cut about a quarter of the oldest shoots back to the base. 
  • If you feel you need to cut back more to make space, try to leave some shoots unpruned so you have a crop next year. 
  • Reduce the remaining stems to a pair of strong buds.
  • Repeat this annually to stimulate strong new growth and rejuvenate the plant.

Banner image: muroPhotographer/ Shutterstock

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