General description: The Wojtek blue honeysuckle is a Polish variety of the Kamchatka blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea) that reaches up to 170 cm in height. It is known the world over under many names, such as the sweetberry honeysuckle, fly honeysuckle, blue-berried honeysuckle, Haskap berry or simply the honeyberry – all these names represent this amazing plant of extraordinary properties. The Kamchatka honeysuckle’s popularity grows day by day, largely owing to the rise of health food trends. The Wojtek honeysuckle produces delectable and very healthy fruit, therefore it is worth seriously considering cultivating it in one’s own garden, especially since it’s easy to do so.
Flowers: The Kamchatka honeysuckle’s flowers are modest, of a creamy-yellow or yellowish white colour, and are naturally resistant to spring frosts. It is a cross-pollinating plant, which means that to gain the highest possible fruit yield, it needs to be planted in the near vicinity of other subspecies of Kamchatka honeysuckles.
Blooming: The Kamchatka honeysuckle blooms in the first half of April and is a deciduous plant.
Leaves: Kamchatka honeysuckle leaves are oval, green, and bluish on the underside. Fresh foliage is slightly tomentose (fuzzy).
Fruit: The fruit is a berry of oblong shape, dark blue in colour. It is juicy, sweet and sour in taste, and very aromatic. The Kamchatka honeysuckle’s fruit is rich in healthful nutrients, such as pectins, organic acids, vitamin c and sugars. Moreover, pigments contained in the berries have remarkable properties of strengthening blood vessels and removing heavy metals and other toxins from the body.
Ripening: The Wojtek variety bears fruit at the turn of May and June. It can fruit as early as a year after planting. In the second and third year the plant can produce from 0.5 to 1 kg of berries from a single shrub. The Wojtek variety may provide as much as 5 kg of fruit from just one shrub and Kamchatka honeysuckles bear fruit for up to 30 years.
Cultivation requirements: Kamchatka honeysuckles are easy to cultivate. They tolerate sandy and dry soils, however they grow best in slightly acidic, moderately moist, sandy loam soils, preferably in sunny positions, although slightly shaded spots are also well tolerated by the plant.
Care: During the first five years after planting Kamchatka honeysuckles need absolutely no pruning. The first thinning out to remove old shoots is to be done after about five years (depending on whether the shrub needs this). Thanks to such pruning, the fresh new shoots will gain access to more light and we gain the possibility of shaping the shrub to our liking.
Overwintering: The Kamchatka honeysuckle is particularly frost resistant. It does not freeze in temperatures as low as -40°C. At the beginning of November, young shrubs should be covered in soil with peat so that a mound of about 30 cm in height is formed over the plant.